(Source: nos.nl, December 2, 2017)

The poet and writer Jaap Harten (87) passed away in his hometown of The Hague. The Literary Museum and Documentation Center in The Hague, where he worked for many years, has announced his death. Earlier this year, his life partner, the painter Oskar Lens, passed away.

Harten, who was born in Blaricum, was formed by the 45 years older actress Else Mauhs, with whom he was friends for many years and who encouraged him to write.

Mauhs, one of the most famous Dutch actresses in the 20s and 30s, shocked the Netherlands with her decadent lifestyle, which was expressed in, among other things, wearing men's clothes. She had developed this style in interwar Berlin, where she stayed regularly until 1936.

That decadent Berlin and the rise of the Nazis were an important theme in Harten's work, who made his debut in 1954 with a collection of poems and in 1964, after four collections of poetry, also started writing prose.

His first visit to Berlin was important. He saw "a cool city with ugly new buildings" where there was hardly anything to be found that still reminded of the Weimar republic, but which fascinated him immensely.

His fascination with Berlin led to his most important work, the novel The tattooed Lorelei from 1968, in which he identified with Jews, homosexuals, transvestites and others for whom there was no longer any place in Nazi Germany.

The communist Marinus van der Lubbe, the Dutch mason who set fire to the Reichstag building and was executed by the Nazis, also plays a role in the novel.

Edam cheese heads
Harten was a committed homosexual. He wrote, among other things, the text for a poster of the COC at the Remembrance Day of 1980. In it he turned against the heterosexual Dutch authorities ("Edammer cheese heads") who, according to him, overlooked the fact that 80.000 homosexuals had also been tortured by the Nazis. and killed. “Do you have to get one more time from the Nazi scum to know what freedom means?”

Harten worked at the Literary Museum from 1960 to 1974, but then devoted himself to art. Thanks to an inheritance, he was able to set up the Hartenfonds in 1988, which supports biographers of Dutch culture bearers.

He has not published any new work in the last twenty years, although he did have plans for it. Collected work by him appeared in 2011.

You cannot reply to this post

Older posts