Werfel, Franz

BORN 10 Sep 1890, Praha - DIED 26 Aug 1945, Beverly Hills, California
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, Simmering (Gruppe 32 C, Nummer 39)

Franz Werfel came from a wealthy family of Jewish merchants. He studied in Praque, Leipzig and Hamburg. According to the wishes of his father he worked for a trading company from 1912 until 1914. During the First World War he served in the Austrian army. After he was transferred to the war press agency in Vienna he was considered so pacifistic that he was even charged with treason.

In Vienna he met Alma Mahler, who left Walter Gropius to live with him. They married in 1929. By then he had made himself a name as an author, but "Die vierzig Tage des Musa Dagh" (1933) made him famous.

In 1933 his membership of the Preußischen Akademie der Dichtung was cancelled by the nazis. In 1938 he emigrated to France, where he suffered a heart attack. In 1940 a spectular flight to the United States followed. He suffered a heart attack but continued smoking. After more heart attacks he died in 1945 in Beverly Hills. He was buried at the Rosendale Cemetery, but later his remains were transferred to the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.

Werfel's early work was expressionistic. In later years he turned to historism and psychological realism.

• Wife: Mahler, Alma (1929-1945)

Related persons
• knew Kafka, Franz
• admired Moissi, Alexander

7/6/1938Funeral of Ödön von Horváth at the Saint-Ouen cemetery in Paris. The grave was at the back end of the cemetery. Walter Mehring, Franz Werfel, Carl Zuckmayer spoke and also present were his parents, Wera Liessem, Hertha Pauli, Erwin Piscator and many others. In 1988 his remains were transferred to Vienna. [Horváth, Ödön von][Mehring, Walter][Pauli-Basch, Hertha][Piscator, Erwin]
13/10/1940The ship Nea Hellas reaches New York. It was the last official ship from Lisbon New York in 1940. On board were Franz Werfel, Anna Mahler-Werfel, Heinrich Mann, Nelly Mann, Golo Mann, Wilhelm Ellenbogen, Otto Leichter, Erna Sailer and Alfred Polgar. [Ellenbogen, Wilhelm][Mahler, Alma][Mann, Heinrich][Polgar, Alfred]


Franz Werfel statue at the Schillerplatz in Vienna.
Picture by Androom (22 Aug 2005)


The grave of Franz Werfel at the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (20 Aug 2007)


Plaque for Franz Werfel at the Elisabethstrasse 22, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (10 Aug 2018)


• Budig, Robert S. et al, Ehrengräber am Wiener Zentralfriedhof, Compress Verlag Wien, Wien
Franz Werfel - Wikipedia

Werner, Ilse

Published: 09 Jul 2006
Last update: 11 Feb 2022