Sternheim, Carl

BORN 1 Apr 1878, Leipzig, Sachsen - DIED 3 Nov 1942, Brussel
BIRTH NAME Sternheim, Wilhelm Adolf Carl
GRAVE LOCATION Brussel: Ixelles Cimetière (Avenue no 11, borne no 5)

Playwright known for his comedies. He was the son of a Jewish banker and a mother that came from a working-class family. He grew up in Hanover and Berlin and studied philosophy, law, art history and literature in Munich, Göttingen and Leipzig. He never graduated.

In 1900 he moved to Weimar and started a career as a writer. He married Eugenie Hauth, whom he divorced in 1906. In 1907 he married the rich Thea Löwenstein-Bauer. They had two children and lived in Höllriegelskreuth near Munich in a house as big as a palace.

In 1911 he published the comic play "Die Hose". In 1915 he gave the money that came with the Fontane Prize to the then still unknown Franz Kafka. In 1921 he satirized American life in his novel "Fairfax".

Between 1912 and 1918 Sternheim and his wife lived in Belgium. Using her funds, he was an early collector of impressionist paintings when they were still cheap. Among his paintings was "La Mousmé" (1888) by Vincent van Gogh (now at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC).

Sternheim left his wife for Pamela Wedekind, the daughter of Frank Wedekind. In 1927 he divorced Thea. By that time Sternheim was suffering from syphilis. For a long time Pamela didn't recognize his disease, but in 1928 he broke down. He was moved to Berlin where his illness grew worse and at a certain point in time he threw himself from a balcony.

He was treated by Dr. Gottfried Benn and slowly recovered, only to find out that Thea had sold his library, expecting him to die soon. He married Pamela in 1930 and they lived in Brussels until their divorce in 1934. His work was banned in Germany by the nazis in 1933. In 1936 he published an autobiography, "Vorkriegseuropa im Gleichnis meines Lebens". From 1934 onwards he lived with his housekeeper Henriette Carbonara (1897-1959) in Brussels, where he died in 1942.

• Wife: Wedekind, Pamela (1930-1934) (divorce or separation)

Related persons
• was a friend of Ball, Hugo
• had as physician Benn, Gottfried
• was a friend of Benn, Gottfried
• knew Bosseljon, Berndt
• was a friend of Hastir, Marcel


The grave of Carl Sternheim at the Ixelles Cimetière, Brussels.
Picture by Androom (28 Apr 2007)


The grave of Carl Sternheim at the Ixelles Cimetière, Brussels.
Picture by Androom (28 Apr 2007)



Steuermann, Rose

Published: 06 May 2007
Last update: 01 Feb 2022