German author Heym, 88, dies

Monday, December 17, 2001

BERLIN -- Stefan Heym, 88, a well-known German writer who fought alongside U.S. troops during World War II but was later thrown out of the Army because of his communist leanings, died Sunday.

Heym died of heart failure after collapsing at a hotel in Israel where he had gone for a literary conference, said Hanna Lifshits, a spokeswoman at the Mishkanot Sha'ananim Cultural Center, which organized the event.

Best known outside Germany for his best-selling 1948 war novel "The Crusaders," Heym had a long literary career that saw him clash with authority on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

The son of a Jewish businessman, he was born in Chemnitz but fled Germany in 1933 after the Nazis came to power. He moved first to Prague and then to the United States. His father committed suicide in 1935; other relatives were killed in concentration camps.

He completed his university studies in 1936 at the University of Chicago with a thesis on German poet Heinrich Heine, the subject of the conference where Heym made his last public appearance Thursday.

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