Ernst Hinterberger

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Ernst Hinterberger
Born(1931-10-17)17 October 1931
Died(2012-05-14)14 May 2012
Occupation Writer of novels and plays
Nationality Austrian
Literary movement Vienna dialect
Notable works Ein echter Wiener geht nicht unter
SpouseMargarete ("Gerti") (1958–2001)
Karla (2004–2012)

Ernst Hinterberger (17 October 1931 – 14 May 2012) [1] was an Austrian writer of novels, particularly detective novels, plays and successful sitcoms. His first TV scripts were unusual for their use of genuine Vienna dialect. [2]



Ernst Hinterberger was born and died in Vienna. He was the son of an unemployed typesetter, who died when Ernst was seven. [3] He completed training as an electrician, then from 1950 to 1952 he trained at the Vienna Police School to be a police officer, but had to leave a few weeks after beginning work because he suddenly needed glasses, which was not acceptable at the time. [4] Following his time with the police, he first worked as a labourer. [3] In 1958 he married and attended the City of Vienna's Library School, following which he worked for ten years as a librarian in adult education centres. [5] After these libraries were closed in 1968, he worked in shipping in a factory until his retirement in 1991. He was unwilling to rely on writing to provide his entire income. [4] He has lung damage from the factory work. [2]

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital, largest city and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Hinterberger discovered literature in the 1950s through the Bavarian author Oskar Maria Graf; [3] he began writing when he was 24 or 25 years old. [4]

Oskar Maria Graf German author

Oskar Maria Graf was a German author.

Since approximately 1954, Hinterberger had lived in a 44 square metre city-owned flat on the Margaretengürtel in Vienna. [4] [6] [7] His first wife, Margarete ("Gerti") died in 2001 after 45 years of marriage, [2] nine months before the 2002 publication of his book Ein Abschied. Lebenserinnerungen ("A Farewell: Life Memories"). In that book he said he was resigned and wanted nothing more to do with the world. [8] Hinterberger had since remarried, to Karla. [9]

Gürtel, Vienna

The Gürtel is a substantial city road of Vienna. Running 13.1 km (8.1 mi) parallel to the famous Vienna Ring Road, it encompasses the inner city districts (Innenbezirke) and follows the route of the former Linienwall outer fortification. The city's red-light district is situated around the Gürtel.

Hinterberger was a practising Buddhist [3] [9] and had written poems in Chinese style, but they have never appeared in German. [3] [4] He was cremated at Feuerhalle Simmering. His ashes are buried in Vienna Central Cemetery.

Feuerhalle Simmering

Feuerhalle Simmering is a crematorium with attached urn burial ground in the Simmering district of Vienna, Austria. It lies at the end of an alley, directly opposite Vienna Central Cemetery's main gate.

Vienna Central Cemetery cemetery in Vienna

The Vienna Central Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the world by number of interred, and is the most famous cemetery among Vienna's nearly 50 cemeteries.


Ein echter Wiener geht nicht unter

Hinterberger's Edmund "Mundl" Sackbauer, (anti-)hero of the television series Ein echter Wiener geht nicht unter , came to typify the Viennese renter in the German-speaking world.

Ein echter Wiener geht nicht unter is a classic Austrian television series. It was produced by Österreichischer Rundfunk, Austrian Television, and ran for 24 episodes from 1975 to 1979. The script writer was Ernst Hinterberger; the series was based on his 1966 novel Das Salz der Erde. The producer was Hans Preiner, who initiated the project in his series Impulse (Impulses), which centered on development of new program formats and training of new, young directors.

Sackbauer is a complainer who is actually a good man at the bottom of his heart, but is always giving in. In contrast, the original figure in Hinterberger's mid-1960s book Das Salz der Erde on which he based the series is a pitiful man in the throes of midlife crisis, who notices while on holiday in Italy that his control over his family is dissolving. At the end of the book he leaves his wife, fails in his attempt to revive his self-confidence in a bordello, and is last seen uncertain whether in his outburst of emotion he has killed the prostitute or whether she is only injured.

In 2008 Echte Wiener – Die Sackbauer-Saga, a film based on the series, also written by Hinterberger, appeared.

Books (selection)





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  1. "Autor Ernst Hinterberger 80-jährig gestorben". Salzburger Nachrichten. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 "Buddhas Haberer: Mundl-Erfinder, Fabriksarbeiter, Krimiautor, Ehrenkieberer: Der Urwiener Ernst Hinterberger feiert dieser Tage seinen 75. Geburtstag. Ein Porträt" Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Falter 18 October 2006
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Ernst Hinterberger wird 75" (Ernst Hinterberger turns 75), Österreichischer Rundfunk, 14 October 2006, retrieved 21 June 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Martin Betz, Interview: Ernst Hinterberger (September 1998), Der Rest ist Geschichte: Arbeitsbedingungen von Drehbuchautoren, thesis, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, 2000, retrieved 21 June 2010.
  5. 1 2 "Corti-Preis an Ernst Hinterberger", Salzburger Nachrichten 7 April 2010, retrieved 21 June 2010.
  6. "Mittendrin im wahren Leben – Zuhause bei Ernst Hinterberger", Wien live, June 2009 (40 sq. m.)
  7. "Buddhas Haberer: Mundl-Erfinder, Fabriksarbeiter, Krimiautor, Ehrenkieberer: Der Urwiener Ernst Hinterberger feiert dieser Tage seinen 75. Geburtstag. Ein Porträt", Falter (50 sq. m.)
  8. "Ernst Hinterberger wird 75". ORF: "im Großen und Ganzen mit der Welt nichts mehr zu tun haben will".
  9. 1 2 "Mittendrin im wahren Leben – Zuhause bei Ernst Hinterberger", Wien live.
  10. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 969. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  11. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1468. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  12. ""Mundl"-Autor Ernst Hinterberger für Lebenswerk geehrt". Die Presse . 16 April 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2010.