My parents

Warsaw 1940 My parents Marcel and Teofila (Tosia) Reich-Ranicki, Warsaw Ghetto, 1940
Photo by Foto Forbert.
Warsaw 1957 My parents and myself in Warsaw, 1957.
Photo taken by the celebrated photographer Benedykt Dorys.
Dorys was a master of retouching. As my mother said: "None of us looked so good"!
grave The grave of my parents at the Frankfurter Hauptfriedhof.
My grandparents do not have graves, but they do have Stolpersteine on the pavement outside the house at Güntzelstrasse 53, Berlin, where they lived with my father in the 1930's.
The house also has a memorial plaque for my father, which was unveiled in September, 2014.
There is also memorial plaque for my parents at the house at Gustav Freytag Strasse 36, Frankfurt a.M., where they lived 1974-2013. The plaque and FAZ report of the unveiling on 2nd December,2016.

My father, Marcel Reich-Ranicki

NZZ cartoon
Portrait of Marcel
Exhibition poster
Marcel speaking the Bundestag
Thomas Gottschalk and Marcel
Dahinter steht ein kluger Kopf
Will Smith
Mein Leben Carla Ranicki, Andrew Ranicki
Mein Leben bestselling autobiography of MRR (1999)
Sein Leben Article about book by Frank Schirrmacher, FAZ (31.7.1999)
The 2009 film Mein Leben about my parents is based on the autobiography.
The Pope of German Literature returns to TV (Deutsche Welle, 2008).
MRR fehlen die Worte (FOCUS Online, 19.3.2009)
German Amazon listing of DVD and German TV listing.
Die Quelle seiner Leidenschaft Article about film by Frank Schirrmacher, FAZ (6.4.2009)
My review in the Bild am Sonntag, and another review.
A still from the film and a photograph taken in 2008 of myself and my daughter Carla.
Extract from film (with English subtitles) in .avi format.
Gerda, Olek, Helen and Marcel Włocławek 1928: Gerda (MRR's sister), Olek (brother), Helene (mother) and Marcel
Here is what MRR wrote about Olek (= Alexander, the middle A in AAR) in his autobiography "Mein Leben":
"My brother Alexander had had a far better chance of surviving the German occupation than I had. He was, in many respects, a very different type from me. He was shorter, more finely built, and certainIy also more timid and inhibited. Above all, he was a very lovable person. He had a winning way with him, quite without arrogance or any form of aggression. One might have thought that Alexander possessed that for which I had searched in vain all my life - the ring which Nathan the Wise said had the secret power of making anyone wearing it with confidence agreeable to God and man. Thus my brother who, unlike me, came to Warsaw only a short time before the war, had, even outside the ghetto, friends and acquaintances who would have helped him."
Zwei ungleiche Cousins (MRR und Lucien Calmat) Uwe Wittstock, FOCUS 49, November 2014
The two telegrams which Marcel sent from Warsaw to Gerda in London in 1945.
"Ich bin am Leben" und andere Familienpost Uwe Wittstock, FOCUS 18, April 2015

My mother, Teofila Reich-Ranicki

Marcel, Teofila and Andrew
Teofila Reich-Ranicki
Marcel and Teofila Reich-Ranicki

My grandparents

paternal grandparents My paternal grandparents, David (1880-1942) and Helene Reich (1884-1942).
Der schwere Abschied von meinen Eltern. BILD Zeitung, 24 April 2013.
From 1934 until 1938 MRR lived with his parents at Güntzelstrasse 53 in Berlin
Report of 1999 MRR visit to Güntzelstrasse 53: Es schließt sich ein Kreis by Frank Schirrmacher, FAZ (16.02.2007)
Stolpersteine Installation of Stolpersteine at Güntzelstrasse 53. Markus Hesselmann, Tagesspiegel (6.8.2014)
Report on the Güntzelstrasse 53 Stolpersteine, from the Aktives Museum newsletter (14.8.2014)
Hier in diesem Haus hat Marcel Reich-Ranicki mit seinen Eltern gewohnt by Christine Fischer-Defoy, Tagesspiegel (6.8.2014)
Times report on Gunther Demnig and the Stolpersteine project (18.8.2014)
Stolpersteine website entry for David Reich and Helene Reich
Stolpersteine at Güntzelstrasse 49 for Max and Charlotte Auerbach, the parents of the painter Frank Auerbach. Max A. was a brother of Helene A. MRR babysat for the young Frank, as described in these extracts (German), (English).
Gedenktafel On 12th September 2014 there was an unveiling ceremony at Güntzelstrasse 53 for the Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) for David and Helene Reich and a Berliner Gedenktafel (memorial plaque) for MRR.
Es ist an der Zeit, den großen Marcel Reich-Ranicki auch in Berlin zu ehren
Speech of the Regierender Bürgermeister of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit
Hier in Berlin, das er ungeachtet aller Widrigkeiten so liebte Speech of AAR.
Here in Berlin, which he loved so much, against all the odds. (English translation).
Speech of Hellmuth Karasek
Wo Marcel seine Lotte küsste Volker Weidermann, FAZ (12.9.2014)
Report by the Fürst Donnersmarckstiftung (Owners of Güntzelstrasse 53) (12.9.2014)
bbr Abendschau TV news clip (12.9.2014)
"Sei umarmt, Hellmuth", Article in TAGESSPIEGEL by MRR for the 70th birthday in 2004 of Hellmuth Karasek (4.1.1934-29.9.2015)
maternal grandparents My maternal grandparents, Pawel (1885-1940) and Emilia Langnas (1886-1942).

My family

our wedding
Carla Our daughter Carla Helen Emily Ranicki was born in Trenton, NJ on 26th December, 1979.
The fury of Hurricane Carla.
Ida's 1982 book Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Fossils is dedicated to Alice, Matthew and Carla. My father's 1986 book Nichts als Literatur and my 2002 book Exact sequences in the algebraic theory of surgery are dedicated to Carla.
Carla and Ugo Carla married Ugo Vallauri on 20th July, 2012 in Bra, Italy.
Nico Marcel Vallauri was born in London on 4th March, 2015. MRR's posthumous 2015 book Meine deutsche Literatur seit 1945 (ed. Thomas Anz) is dedicated to Nico Marcel.
Christina with President Obama
Ida, Marcel and Andrew Ida, MRR and I at the official residence of the German President, the Bellevue Schloss in Berlin, for the last Literarisches Quartett (14.12.2001)
Frank, Gerda and Marcel
Gerda by Frank
The celebrated British painter Frank Auerbach is a first cousin of MRR: Max Auerbach, the father of Frank, was a brother of MRR's mother Helene.
MRR babysat for Frank in Berlin in the 1930's.
The photo of Frank Auerbach and MRR, with a drawing of Aunt Gerda by Frank, was taken in London, 1970
Mathematik, Kunst und ein Fernsehpreis, Gudrun von Schoenebeck, Bonn General-Anzeiger (20.6.2015)
My book Algebraic and Geometric Surgery is dedicated to Frank.


  • Photo taken in Cambridge in 1975 by Helen Muspratt
  • Chair of Algebraic Surgery (1995-2016) at the University of Edinburgh.
  • My mathematical ancestors. The graph was created from the Mathematical Genealogy site, using the ancestor generator. (Generating descendants is even more fun).
  • Papers, Books, MathSciNet listing.
  • Wikipedia entry (in German).
  • Mathematics is a drug. By Johannes Seiler (Bonn General-Anzeiger, 8.1.2009)
    I was visiting the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn at the time of the interview.
  • Eins zu Eins. Der Talk Radio interview with Stefan Parrisius (Bayern 2, 15.6.2015)
  • "Wenigstens habe ich Einsteins Frisur" Interview with Susanne Kippenberger and Norbert Thomma (Tagesspiegel, 18.9.2016)
  • Kulturfrühstück Gespräch mit Alf Mentzen, Radio HR2 (23.10.2016)
  • Doppelkopf Gespräch mit Andrea Seeger, Radio HR2 (19.12.2016)
  • Interview from the book Erben des Holocaust (Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2017), a collection of interviews by Andrea von Treuenfeld with children of Holocaust survivors.
  • Radio i Swiat
    • Photo published on the front cover of Radio i Świat ("Radio and the World"), the Polish radio programme magazine, in June 1956.
      The photographer came to my kindergarten class when we were all supposed to be sleeping after lunch.
      We were the 4 who were wide awake.
      The microphone was not actually connected to anything.
      I am not sure that we actually sang, or just mimed!