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Franz Werfel

Franz Werfel (September 10, 1890-August 26, 1945) was a German language novelist, playwright, and poet. Born in Prague, Czechia (then part of Austro-Hungarian Empire), he was a contemporary and colleageue of Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Martin Buber, and other Jewish intellectuals at the turn of the twentieth century. He served in the Austrian army both on the Russian front and in the press office, but was charged with treason for his vocal pacifism.

In 1929 he married Alma (Schindler) Mahler, widow of Gustav Mahler, who divorced architect Walter Gropius for him. He was already an established author, but his true claim to international fame came in 1933, when he published The Forty Days of Musa Dagh[?], a chilling novel which first drew world attention to the Armenian genocide[?] at the hands of the Turks.

An identified Jew, Werfel fled Austria after the Anschluss in 1938. On his way to the United States, he stopped briefly in Lourdes, finding spritual solace there. He vowed to write about the experience, and in 1941 released The Song of Bernadette[?]. He died in exile in the United States in 1945.

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