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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Romanian-born German writer Oskar Pastior dies at 78

The Associated Press

Published: October 5, 2006

BERLIN Oskar Pastior, a Romanian-born German writer who was celebrated for his creative use of language, has died, his publisher said Thursday. He was 78.

Pastior died overnight in Frankfurt, where he was visiting the annual book fair, said Christine Knecht, a spokeswoman for the Carl Hanser Verlag publishing house. She did not give the cause of death.

Among Pastior's early works was "Offne Worte" published in 1964; he made his literary debut in Germany in 1969 with "Vom Sichersten ins Tausendste," a collection of poems.

Pastior was born on Oct. 20, 1927 in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, where he lived as a member of the German-speaking minority.

After being interned in Soviet labor camps following World War II, he returned to communist Romania in 1949 and studied German at the University of Bucharest. He worked in radio before turning to writing.

Pastior fled to West Germany during a study trip to Vienna, Austria in 1968 and settled in West Berlin. He had been working on a book about his time in Soviet labor camps at the time of his death.
Pastior and Gellu Naum
Germany's culture minister, Bernd Neumann, described Pastior as "one of the most significant authors of our time."

"His virtuoso linguistic art is a pleasure but also a challenge for the reader," Neumann said in a statement. "Great seriousness and a passion for the word were evident in his playful linguistic experiments."

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