life stories

remembered... recounted... recorded!

about me

Ruth Damwerth 1970 and 2018

1986-1992 studied Modern and Contemporary History, German and Roman Studies at the Universities of Münster, Regensburg and Granada/Spain, completing her studies with a Master´s degree
1994first publication: “Arnold Munter, Jahrhundertzeuge. Ein biografisches Geschichtsbuch,” Verlag Neues Leben, Berlin.
(“Arnold Munter, Witness to a Century.” A biography-based account of German History during the 20th century.)
2002second publication: “Schwarz Rot Braun,” Verlag Sauerländer, Düsseldorf.
(“Black Red Brown.” A YA novel with a historical background which was honored with a place on the prestigious “list of 7 best books for young readers”.)
2003foundation of biografieVerlag ruth damwerth

“Real-life stories have always fascinated me and perhaps it was only a matter of time until I became a biographer, even though my profession didn´t really exist when I first started out…
In the fall of 1992, during the final stages of my university education, I went on a guided tour through an interesting quarter of post-socialist East-Berlin. The tour guide was an energetic man in his eighties, who had grown up in this area and his hints towards his own biography throughout the tour captivated me. I asked him, whether he had ever thought about writing his memoirs but he just laughed… After finishing my final exams at university I sat down to write him a letter. Could he imagine telling me his life story? The book, “Arnold Munter, Jahrhundertzeuge”, was first published in 1994 and is still in print today.

After a hiatus of several years, during which I gave birth to three children, my next book was published – a YA novel about a group of teenagers in my hometown, who had tried to prevent the Nazis from winning elections at the beginning of the nineteen thirties. This novel was based on contemporary newspaper articles, police reports and most of all on the recollections of three elderly gentlemen, who, now late in their nineties, had been members

of this group. Our conversations and their accounts of their youth reminded me of my fascination for biographies.

And so I went on to found a publishing company specializing in biographies in 2003: biografieVerlag ruth damwerth. I have since accompanied the development of more than sixty biographies, either as listener/interviewer and ghostwriter or as editor and publisher. About half of these books were printed for private use only, the other half were published and have entered the book market.

I was mostly interested in biographies heavily influenced by politics and history when I first started out as a biographer. Over the course of time, and with each story that I have been told, I have learnt that each and every life story is unique and special and therefore highly interesting. Each life story is worth being preserved. 

I cannot conceive of a more exciting and rewarding job than speaking to people about their lives, listening to their stories and binding everything together in a worthy book.”

Press clippings