Mulisch, Harry

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Mulisch, Harry Gender: M
Harry Kurt Victor Mulisch
born on 29 July 1927 at 10:30 (= 10:30 AM )
Place Haarlem, Netherlands, 52n23, 4e38
Timezone LST m19e53 (is daylight saving time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Koppejan
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 05°15' s_mo.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 12°57 Asc.s_vircol.18.gif 28°48'

Harry Mulisch (1977)
photo: Rob C. Croes / Anefo, license cc-by-sa-3.0


Dutch writer, one of the "big three" of the Dutch postwar literature writers, probably the most influential and most honoured star of them. He got even a planetoid named after him on 12 October 2006, the belt asteroid 10251 Mulisch, with an orbital period of 3.56 years.

Harry Mulisch was the only child of a German-Jewish mother and an Austrian-Hungarian father who collaborated with the Nazi's during the German occupation of the Netherlands (1940-45). His unusual familial background put definitely a stamp on him. Most of his novels deal with the behaviour of ordinary people under "magic mythic" circumstances like war, death and (re)birth and the consequently, extremely complex matters of morality they result in.

His father Kurt Victor Karl Mulisch (10 July 1892, Gablonz an der Neiße - 10 July 1957, Haarlem) was an Austrian military officer and bank director. During WW1 he led a battery of field artillery. After the war he met a German-Jewish banker Schwarz in the Netherlands and obtained a leading job from him. In April 1926 he married his daughter Alice Schwarz (16 March 1908, Antwerpen - 2 January 1996, San Francisco). They got one child: Harry Mulisch (1927, Westerhoutpark 16, Haarlem). In 1936 the marriage broke. They divorced officially on 9 November 1937 and Alice Schwarz moved without her child to Amsterdam. In 1958 she emigrated to Berkeley, California to become an American citizen.

From 1933 to 1939 Mulish learned writing at a private school in Haarlem. Here he wrote his fist story "De pottenbakker". Harry was raised by the house keeper Frieda Falk (b. 1891, Posen, now Poland, then Germany). He was raised in the Dutch and German language. During a trip to Berlin the four year old Harry got lost in the famous "Tiergarten" (autumn 1931). He later wrote in the after his death published "Getijdenboek (Book of hours, 2002) that here his writer-ship was born. In the thirties he was interested in chemistry and physics, later he realised it was actually alchemy.

During WW2 his father Kurt Mulisch worked for the Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co Nazi bank that was founded to confiscate Jewish money and proprietary in a semi legal way. The "robbery bank" even had a filial in Camp Westerbork, passage station for Auschwitz and other Holocaust hells. Mulisch sr. did the human resources of the Nazi bank in Amsterdam. He managed to keep Harry and his mother out of the hands of the Nazi's, but he was arrested and convicted for collaboration after the war.

Mulish visited the First Christian Lyceum of Haarlem, attended it irregularly and did not finish it. He failed for his re-examamination on 6 September 1944, the day after Dolle Dinsdag. He became an autodidact writer. He studied the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Mann, Dostojevsky and Jorge Luis Borges, but said I am more a writer than reader. He also studied occult matters like alchemy. He debuted 8 May 1947 in Haarlem as an actor as Kees van Meertens in "Het eeuwige monster van Jan van Dam".

On 8 February 1947 he published the story "De kamer" in Elseviers Weekblad. The character is fascinated by a certain room, but does not know why. Later it proves to be his death-room. He worked from 1949 to 1951 on his first novel "Archibald Strohalm" (1952). He won the Reina Prinsen Geerligsprijs of 1951 for young writers with it so that it was published. From 1952 to 1959 he wrote magic or mythic realistic fiction that typically starts with an ordinary scene, but as the book progresses more and more supra-natural and mythical elements appear. This period ends with his complexly layered roman "Het stenen bruidsbed" (1959, The Stone Bridal Bed) which contains mythical elements, but also deals with war.

During the years 1959 to 1972 Mulisch had a writer's block. He stayed often in Café Americain in Amsterdam with celebrated friends. He worked on several novels but he could not finish them. Instead he concentrated on political actualities like the threat of an atomic war, political experiments like Provo and the Marxism of Castro. He wrote with Hugo Claus the libretto of the opera "reconstruction" about Che Guevara. In this period Mulisch witnessed the "Eichmann in Jerusalem" process and wrote a book about it (De zaak 40/61, 1963). Like Hannah Arendt (A Report on the Banality of Evil, 1963), Mulish with his mixed Jewish Austrian German background realised that people like Eichmann could be their parents. He once said: I do not just write about World War II, I am WWII.

In the seventies the political engagement of the sixties decayed. Mulisch wrote poetry (since 1973), drama and philosophical works like "De compositie van de wereld" (1980). His stylistically sober "Twee vrouwen" (1975) about a lesbian couple was a success. It was filmed as Twice a woman.

His most successful fourth period (1982-2010) started with "De aanslag" (1982, The Assault). Again it was filmed, as was "De Ontdekking van de Hemel" (1992, The Discovery of Heaven, 2001 film with Jeroen Krabbé, stephen Fry). Mulisch got many national and international honours and awards. He only missed the Noble prize he said.


From 1941 to 1955 he lived in the house of his father Anna Van Burenlaan 47, Haarlem. Later he moved to the Leidsekade in Amsterdam. He was a proud womanizer. The Herald Tribune wrote: "Not long ago, Harry Mulisch, 42, a leading Dutch writer, held a party to commemorate his thousandth sexual conquest." Mulisch was quasi offended: that is news at age 26, not at age 42. On 3 December 1971 Mulisch married the artist Sjoerdje Woudenberg in Amsterdam. He got two daughthers Anna (Oct 1971) and Frieda (1974). During the Frankfurter Buchmesse of 1982 Mulisch went ill. Julius Roos discovered a malignant tumour in his stomach. It was removed. Since 1987 he lived together with Kitty Saal. They got a son Menzo (1992). Sjoerdje lived with Julius Roos. When he received the Prize of Dutch Literature of the Belgian King Sjoerdje was with him.

In 1979 Mulisch raised the "Herenclub Deftig links" in Amsterdam. Members were Cees Nooteboom, Wim Duisenberg, Henk Hofland, Marcel van Dam, Jeroen Henneman, Hans van Mierlo and Max Pam. The journalist Pam wrote the novel Herenclub (1997) about the weekly meeting that started in Le Garage, the restaurant of Joop Braakhekke.

He died 30 October 2010 in Amsterdam of cancer.

Link to Wikipedia


  • compare to chart of Arendt, Hannah (born 14 October 1906). Notes: Both Jews reported on the Eichman trial


  • Family trauma 9 November 1937 (Parents officially divorced)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : End a program of study 6 September 1944 in Haarlem (failed for Lyceum, became autodidact)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Mundane : Riot 6 September 1944 ("Dolle dinsdag" : rumour that Dutch Liberation Day was close)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 8 February 1947 (short story "De kamer")
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Begin a program of study 1949 (Decided to write great literature)
  • Work : Prize 1951 (Reina Prinsen Geerligsprijs)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1952 (Archibald Strohalm, first novel)
  • Death of Father 10 July 1957 in Haarlem (Kurt Victor Karl Mulisch, "KVK")
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Begin Major Project 11 April 1961 in Jerusalem (Reported on Eichman trial)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Change of Lifestyle October 1971 (birth of daughther)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Marriage 3 December 1971 in Amsterdam (Sjoerdje Woudenberg)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Other Misc. 12 October 2006 (the belt asteroid 10251 named Mulisch)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death by Disease 30 October 2010 at 08:00 AM in Amsterdam
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Koppejan (Beeldgids van de dierenriem) explicitly (BS) quotes the Municipal Archive of Haarlem: Born on 29 July 1927 10h30 AM. Burgelijke Stand (BS) times were then typically notated with a precision of half an hour. Other Dutch Internet sources refer to: Haarlem 10.15 LMT (Source: Astr.jaarboek 1963/ tijd via Coen Cornelissen.)


  • Traits : Personality : Vain/ Self-absorbed
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (1982, 2010)
  • Family : Childhood : Family traumatic event (divorce, Jewish mother, father collaborated with Nazi's)
  • Family : Childhood : Memories Bad (lost mother, hated "militaristic" father, frequent school abcence)
  • Family : Childhood : Only child
  • Family : Childhood : Parents divorced
  • Passions : Sexuality : Extremes in quantity (held a party to commemorate his thousandth sexual conquest)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist ("De zaak 40/61, 1963" on the Eichmann trial)
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction
  • Vocation : Writers : Metaphysics/ Parapsychology
  • Notable : Awards : Other Awards (Got all desired awards except the Noble Prize)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession (Belonged with Reve and Hermans to the Big three of postwar Dutch literature)