Erich Maria Remarque, just…Erich Maria Remarque.
…Okay, where do I start? I read All Quiet On the Western Front during my sophomore year of high school, and it is fair to say that no piece of literature I have read since then has moved me in such a way.
Remarque was conscripted into the German army during World War I. On July 31, 1917, he was wounded by shrapnel in the left leg, right arm, and neck, and spent the rest of the war in a hospital.
All Quiet on the Western Front earned him the ire of the Nazis, who burned copies of his work, and led a smear campaign against him, claiming that he was Jewish, and that he also never saw active duty in World War I. Remarque’s German citizenship was revoked by the Nazis in 1938, and his sister was murdered by them in 1943. He did not become a naturalized American citizen until 1947. As such, much of Remarque’s life was marked by loneliness, and lack of belonging.
He was also quite the romantic, whether it be in his literature, or in his storied life of relationships. He certainly had excellent taste in women, given that two of them were Hedy Lamarr and Greta Garbo. Plus, he was a dog person, and I love dogs, as well.
When it comes to Erich, I wish for two things, one that is possible, and the other that is not. The first is to visit his grave in the future, and place a bouquet of flowers. The second is to somehow travel to the past, and have a glass of wine with him.