Biography 1911–1933



15 May: Max Frisch was born in Zurich, at Heliosstrasse 31.

Father: Franz Bruno Frisch (1871–1932), builder and architect (self-taught), a citizen of the city of Zurich since 1902.
Mother: Karolina Bettina Frisch, née Wildermuth (1875–1966).

Grandfather on his father's side: Franz Frisch, from Lower Austria, settled in Zurich in 1870 to work as a saddler.
Grandfather on his mother's side: Hans (Johannes) Wildermuth, set painter, later Director of the School of Arts and Design in Zurich. Max Frisch's siblings: Emma Elisabeth (1899–1972) from his father's first marriage; Franz (1903–1978).

Max Frisch beim Skifahren auf der Dolderwiese

©Max Frisch-Archiv, Zürich


„Zürcher Student“, Studentenzeitschrift, April 1932

©Max Frisch-Archiv, Zürich


Spring: started secondary school, the cantonal ‘Realgymnasium'.

His parents had financial difficulties: after the First World War, his father had hardly any building work and worked as a land agent.
Boyhood reading: "Uncle Tom's Cabin", "Don Quixote".
Some memorable experiences of the theatre at the Schauspielhaus in Zurich.
Became friends with Werner Coninx, son of the owners of the Zurich newspaper the "Tages-Anzeiger".


Autumn: took up German studies at the University of Zurich, with Professors Emil Ermatinger and Robert Faesi and with Walter Muschg, at that time a senior lecturer. Also attended lectures in Philosophy and Forensics.


"Mimische Partitur?" First publication in a section of the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung".

Attended military training school in Thun.


19 March: his father died suddenly.
April: "Was bin ich?" an article in the "Zürcher Student" magazine, his first main work of prose. Freelance writer for the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" and other newspapers and journals (including the "Tages-Anzeiger", "Basler Nachrichten", "Basler Nationalzeitung", "Zürcher Illustrierte").


February: sports reporter at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague.

Then until October he travelled through eastern and south-east Europe, funding his travels by writing travel articles.

Longer visits to Dubrovnik, Croatia.