Heinrich Boll won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972. Born in Cologne in 1917, Boll was raised in a pacifist Catholic family who later opposed Nazism. After an apprenticeship at a bookseller's, he was drafted into the Nazi Wehrmacht before being sent to an American prisoner of war camp in 1945. After the war he enrolled at university, but dropped out to write about his shattering experiences as a soldier: The Train Was On Time was his first novel, published in 1949, and he went on to become one of the most prolific and important post-war German authors. Boll served for several years as the president of International P.E.N. and was a leading defender of the intellectual freedom of writers throughout the world. He died in 1985.
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