Johannes Mario Simmel

Johannes Mario Simmel
Johannes Mario Simmel.jpg
Born(1924-04-07)7 April 1924
Vienna, Austria
Died1 January 2009(2009-01-01) (aged 84)
Lucerne, Switzerland
OccupationNovelist, screenwriter, journalist
EducationChemical engineer
Alma materHöhere Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalt für chemische Industrie
Period1949 – 1999
Notable worksIt can't always be caviar

Johannes Mario Simmel (7 April 1924 – 1 January 2009), also known as J. M. Simmel, was an Austrian writer.

He was born in Vienna and grew up in Austria and England. He was trained as a chemical engineer and worked in research from 1943 to the end of World War II. After the end of the war, he worked as a translator for the American military government and published reviews and stories in the Vienna Welt am Abend. Starting in 1950, he worked as a reporter for the Munich illustrated Quick in Europe and America.

He wrote a number of screenplays and novels, which have sold tens of millions of copies. Many of his novels were successfully filmed in the 1960s and 1970s. He won numerous prizes, including the Award of Excellence of the Society of Writers of the UN. Important issues in his novels are a fervent pacifism as well as the relativity of good and bad. Several novels are said to have a true background, possibly autobiographic.

According to his Swiss lawyer, Simmel died on 1 January 2009 in Lucerne, at 84 years of age. This date was the 99th birthday of "Thomas Lieven", the main character of "It can't always be caviar."

Awards and honors


  • "Why Am I So Happy?" (Mich wundert, daß ich so fröhlich bin. Zsolnay, Vienna 1949). The title is a quote from Martinus von Biberach (died 1498); but also hints at Heinrich Heine's 1837 poem "Die Lorelei": "Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten / Daß ich so traurig bin".
  • Das geheime Brot. Zsolnay, Vienna 1950. (English: Secret, or hidden, bread.)
  • Der Mörder trinkt keine Milch. Ein Kriminalroman. Demokratische Druck- und Verlags-Gesellschaft, Bären-Bücher 19, Linz 1950. (English: Murderers don't drink milk. A detective story.)
  • Man lebt nur zweimal. Demokratische Druck- und Verlags-Gesellschaft, Bären-Bücher 21, Linz 1950. (English: You only live twice.) The title is a parody of the German proverb "Man lebt nur einmal".
  • I Confess ("Ich gestehe alles." Zsolnay, Vienna 1953)
  • The Pretender (?) ("Der Hochstapler. Immer, wenn er Kuchen aß...", (mit Hans Hartmann). Südverlag, München/Konstanz 1954
  • God Protects Lovers ("Gott schützt die Liebenden.", Zsolnay, Vienna 1957), published in the United States as The Sibyl Cipher
  • The Nina B. Affair ("Affäre Nina B.", Zsolnay, Vienna 1958
  • It Can't Always Be Caviar ("Es muß nicht immer Kaviar sein."), Schweizer Druck- und Verlagshaus, Zürich 1960)
  • To the bitter end ("Bis zur bitteren Neige.", Knaur, München 1962)
  • Love Is Only A Word ("Liebe ist nur ein Wort.", Knaur, München 1963)
  • The Berlin Connection a.k.a. "Dear Fatherland" or "Double Agent - Triple Cross" ("Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein" Knaur, München 1965)
  • Cain '67 ("Alle Menschen werden Brüder." Knaur, München 1967). The German title is taken from Schiller's 1785 poem "Ode to Joy".
  • The Caesar Code ("Und Jimmy ging zum Regenbogen.", Knaur, München 1970)
  • The stuff that dreams are made of. Knaur, München 1971. (The title is taken from Shakespeare's play The Tempest.)
  • Die Antwort kennt nur der Wind. Knaur, München 1973.
  • Niemand ist eine Insel. Knaur, München 1975. (The title is a translation of "No man is an island", from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624) by John Donne.)
  • Hurra, wir leben noch. Knaur, München 1978
  • Wir heißen euch hoffen. Knaur, München 1980
  • Let the Flowers Live ("Bitte, laßt die Blumen leben", Knaur, München 1983)
  • The Secret Protocol ("Die im Dunkeln sieht man nicht", Knaur, München 1985)
  • With the clowns came tears ("Doch mit den Clowns kamen die Tränen", Knaur, München 1987)
  • Im Frühling singt zum letztenmal die Lerche. Knaur, München 1990.
  • Auch wenn ich lache, muß ich weinen. Knaur, München 1993.
  • Dream the Impossible Dream (?) ("Träum den unmöglichen Traum. Knaur, München 1996)
  • The Man who painted Almond Trees (?) ("Der Mann, der die Mandelbäumchen malte", Knaur, München 1998)
  • Love is the Last Bridge ("Liebe ist die letzte Brücke", Knaur, München 1999)

(?): Not sure about English title



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