Max Frisch

Selections from the Berlin Diary

Edited by Thomas Strässle, with the cooperation of Margit Unser
(German title: Aus dem Berliner Journal)
ca. 256 pages
Max Frisch
Foto: Max Frisch

About the Author:
Max Frisch was born in 1911 in Zurich, where he died in 1991.


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The inimitable Frisch is back: clear-sighted and unillusioned in tone, with his signature irony and sharp perspective on life and the world.


The legendary Berlin Diary is one of the great treasures in Max Frisch’s posthumous papers. Frisch himself mandated that it not be published until twenty years after his death because of the »private matters« it contained. Now, for the first time, we are able to publish selections of the Diary.

When Max Frisch moved into a new flat on Sarrazinstraße in Berlin in 1973, the Swiss author began keeping a journal, which he called his Berlin Diary. In an interview a few years later, he insisted that it was by no means a mere »jotter« but rather a »carefully composed book«. In its literary form, it is similar to his world-famous diaries from the years 1945–1946 and 1966–1971: reflections on the author’s daily life sit side-by-side with narrative and essayistic texts, as well as perspicacious portraits of fellow authors such as Günter Grass, Uwe Johnson, Wolf Biermann, and Christa Wolf. Above all, these diary writings attest to the extraordinary acuity with which Frisch, as an inhabitant of West Berlin, observed and experienced the political and social situation in East Germany.

»Why don’t you write another diary?«

»When I came to Berlin in 1973, I […] started keeping a diary again, the so-called Berlin Diary, about fellow authors, Grass, [Uwe] Johnson, about the Leipzig book fair, about also mixed in with very private things. […] I’ve put a hold on it till twenty years after I’m dead: because the people involved, who will have more distance to it by then. But for now it’s in the deep freeze.«

(from: »I draw from experience« Volker Hage in conversation with Max Frisch, in: Max Frisch, Sein Leben und Werk in Bildern und Texten, Berlin 2011)

Other publications

Fragebogen/Questionnaire (2019)

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Questionnaire/Questionnaire (2017)

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Denmark (Basilisk), Sweden (Faethon)

Entwürfe zu einem dritten Tagebuch/Drafts for a Third Sketchbook (2010)

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Antwort aus der Stille/Answer from the Silence (2009)

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Montauk/Montauk (1975)

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Tagebuch 1966–1971/Diary 1966–1971 (1972)

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Homo faber/Homo faber (1957)

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Tagebuch 1946–1949/Diary 1946–1949 (1950)

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