On a visit to Cologne in March 1945, after a heavy bombing, I met hundreds and hundreds of deserters who were squatting in the rubble, many in the deep cellars left from Roman times. They had been hiding there after the retreat from France.
Because the completion of labour service was a precondition for permission to study at the university, I was able to begin my studies of Germanistics and Classical Philology during the summer term of 1939.
Politicians, ideologists, theologians and philosophers try time and again to provide solutions with nothing remaining: prefab solved problems.
Many writers are radical. I am not, because of my age and because of my terrible fear of demagogy.
Literature has its own life, even in a dictatorship like the Soviet Union.
For me, at least, much of the German I see and hear sounds stranger than Swedish, a language of which I unfortunately understand very little.
We must learn, and especially we Germans, that resistance is not only possible and allowed in dictatorships. There is resistance that man must perform every day.
No one will ever know how many novels, poems, analyses, confessions, sufferings and joys have been piled up on this continent called Love, without it ever having turned out to be totally investigated.
Humor is really one of the hardest things to define, very hard. And it's very ambiguous. You have it, or you don't. You can't attain it.
It's true and it's easily said that language is material, and something does materialise as one writes.
I was born December 21, 1917, in Cologne, on the Rhine, the son of the sculptor and cabinet-maker, Viktor Boell, and his wife, Maria, nee Hermanns.
My most interesting correspondence is with my translators. I marvel at their sensitivity over certain passages that just anyone, even if he knows German well, would not appreciate.
As early as December 1945, I accompanied my wife and a few relatives in their return from evacuation in the countryside to Cologne, where over the years we settled down in a destroyed house.
Between 1950 and 1951, I worked as a temporary employee in the Cologne Bureau of Statistics. From summer 1951 on, I have lived as a freelance writer with a fixed postal address in Cologne but with a continually shifting place of work.
I will never forget the moment when I was liberated by the American Army. I will never forget those very young boys coming up the hill, who had to take me a prisoner to liberate me.
I long for the time of no more departures. It has something to do with age, probably.
The Nazi period could have happened only in Germany because the German education of obedience to any law and order was the main problem.
The war is not planned. I don't believe that any responsible person plans it. But it's thought as possible.