Friend Anne-Marie Uhde

Queer Places:
Villa Adrienne, Paris, France
Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France

Image result for Helen HesselHelen Hessel , born Helen Grund , (born April 30, 1886 in Berlin , † June 15, 1982 in Paris , France ) was a German fashion journalist. She was married to the writer Franz Hessel from 1913 to 1921 and again from 1922; her sons were Ulrich and Stéphane Hessel .

Helen Grund was born in Berlin in 1886 as the fifth and last child of Franz-Wilhelm Carl Grund and his wife Julie Anna Butte. She had two brothers and two sisters. The Grunds were a wealthy family, but they suffered several strokes of fate. Helen's older brother Otto Grund was admitted to a mental hospital early on, where he soon died. Her sister Ilse Grund and her brother Fritz Grund both committed suicide in their 20s. The mother died in 1915 in a Swiss psychiatric clinic , where she had been living since 1898/1899 due to a nervous disorder. [1]

Helen Grund's youth was shaped by trips to London and Paris. There she learned to speak both languages, English and French, almost fluently. This is also evident in her diary, which she kept. Here the writing language changes between German, English and French. She decided to study painting. During her studies she met George Mosson in 1905, with whom she had a seven-year liaison.

Helen Grund attended the Charlottenschule, a municipal high school for girls, as was customary for middle-class families in Berlin. Afterwards she enrolled at the women's academy of the Berlin artists' association and studied there with Käthe Kollwitz and others. Their artistic work was characterized by a socially critical engagement. Thanks to her relationship with the lecturer George Mosson, Grund quickly gained a foothold in the milieu of the artists. In 1912, she moved to Paris together with the Berlin acquaintances Fanny Remak and Augusta von Zitzewitz to deepen her studies. She did so with Maurice Denis . In 1919 she ended her career as an artist in the wake of her life crisis and worked for several months as a farmer in Poland and Silesia, among others. [4]

When Helen Grund studied in Paris in 1912, she met the German poet and writer Franz Hessel. The two married in June 1913. In their eyes, the marriage was a pragmatic bond that guaranteed that the wife was cared for forever. Hessel soon became pregnant and in 1914 gave birth to her first son Ulrich in Switzerland. The birth was difficult and the child had to be brought with the pliers , which had serious consequences for the newborn. Ulrich Hessel remained partially paralyzed on the left side . Franz Hessel went to war a few days after the birth of his son. The second son, Stefan Hessel, was born in July 1917. He later called himself Stéphane. After the war ended in 1918, Franz Hessel returned from the front. [8th]

In addition to marriage to Franz Hessel, Helen Hessel had a relationship with his best friend Henri-Pierre Roché for thirteen years. He wrote the novel “Jules et Jim” (published in 1953, filmed in 1962) about the menage a trois between the people involved. [9] In 1921, Helen and Franz Hessel divorced so that Hessel and Roché could live together. In the summer of 1922, Helen and Franz Hessel married again, although the affair between Roché and Hessel continued. The family moved to Paris in 1925 before Franz Hessel returned to Berlin at the beginning of National Socialism . He was of Jewish origin and after the Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935, Helen Hessel urged him to leave Germany, which her husband refused. When Hessel was dismissed due to her marriage to a Jew, she divorced again to continue working as a journalist. [11] In 1938, Hessel obtained the documents needed to bring her husband to Paris without a valid passport and to save him from National Socialism. After France was occupied by the German armies, Franz and Ulrich Hessel were arrested and spent several months in a concentration camp . In order not to be arrested herself, Hessel stood naked in front of the French officials daring them to take her with him. In the face of a scandal, the officer dropped it. After the release of her husband and son, Franz Hessel died in 1941. Helen and Franz Hessel were divorced, but lived together as a couple until his death. [12]

After the death of her husband and the memories of the war, Hessel fell into depression and tried to commit suicide. Finally, she moved to New York in the summer of 1947 with her son Stéphane, who made a career there as a UN official, and then lived in various places in the United States. There she worked, among other things, as a housemaid in California, where she also had an accident when her car collided with a freight train. She broke her leg, which is why she finally returned to France in 1950.

The novel that Roché wrote about his relationship with Hessel and the deep friendship with her husband was used by François Truffaut in 1955 as the model for the film Jules and Jim . After Roché's death in 1959, Roche's widow Denise Truffaut gave access to all documents, letters, notes and diaries. The main female role was played by Jeanne Moreau . The film was released in 1962. Hessel watched the film repeatedly and liked it very much. [26]

From 1959, she excelled as a translator of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita into German. However, the publisher made extensive changes to the publication. Hessel continued to work as a translator and translated, among other things, Paul Gauguin's travel report "Noa Noa" into German. Hessel completed her last works at the age of 75. [24]

Helen Hessel then lived in Paris in a flat share with Anne-Marie Uhde, the sister Wilhelm Uhde . She kept in close contact with her family. Even in old age, Hessel still traveled a lot within Europe. In the summer of 1982, Helen Hessel died at the age of 96. She was buried in the tomb of Wilhelm and Anne Marie Uhde in the Montparnasse cemetery. [16]

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  1. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Hessel