Fred Wander | Granta

Fred Wander

Fred Wander was born in 1917 in Vienna. In 1938 he emigrated to France and was interned there in 1939 before escaping to Switzerland, from where he was deported to Germany in 1942. He survived Auschwitz, Buchenwald and several other concentration camps. He was moved to write The Seventh Well after the tragic death of his daughter Kitty. Fred Wander died in 2006 aged ninety.


The Seventh Well

Fred Wander

Translated by Michael Hofmann

The Seventh Well is a short autobiographical novel, its loose, episodic chapters covering the period of 1942-5, which the author spent in German concentration camps. Flashbacks recall his early internment in France, and the book closes with the liberation of Buchenwald in April 1945. Rather than focus on his own story though, Fred Wander describes the lives and deaths of his fellow internees – the creative power of his story-telling invests their deaths with dignity and keeps their memories alive. It was first published in 1971, then reissued with a new afterword to great acclaim in Germany in 2005, the year before the author died aged ninety. This new translation by acclaimed translator and poet Michael Hofmann captures the power and physicality of his language.