Diehl's biography of Krez was published in 1988, just as a former host of the television series 'Death Valley Days' was exhorting the then leader of the now defunct "evil empire" to "tear down that wall". The wall came down shortly thereafter, but it's still not clear that the Soviet Union really did much to bring it about. A previous biography of Krez by Ludwig Finckh was published fifty years earlier, shortly prior to the attack on Poland which plunged Europe into WWII. A bookseller's son and a noted writer of historical romances, Finckh's reputation now rests largely on his "relationship" with Herman Hesse, a contemporary whose works were translated into English and have enjoyed worldwide popularity and literary acclaim.
Neither of the biographies of Conrad Krez have, to my knowledge, yet been translated into English. Finckh's book, 'Ein Starkes Leben'; was published in Germany a year or two after the publication of 'An Mein Vaterland', a volume of the collected poems of Conrad Krez. Finckh's biography of Krez may have been written chiefly to promote sales in Germany of the Krez poems.
My German really isn't very good, but it's all I have and both of the biographies are written in German, so in the absence of a published translation, I've decided to offer my own. The opening chapter of the Diehl biography begins as follows:
Origins and Youth in Landau
"John Baptist Krez, my father, was born in Unterfranken in Wolfsmuenster, in the same village as his
schoolteacher father. He died in Athens of pneumonia far from his family, which he left in poverty.
My mother, Louise Henrietta Krez nee Naas, is from Landau on the Queich. Through long hours of
work, both day and night, a son was allowed to study and this son am I, her first born. I first saw the light of the world on April 27, 1828, in my grandparent's house in Landau. From her other four children only my brother, Paul, survived, who made his living as a salesman. I attended the Latin school in Landau until Class 3 and at age 12 I began writing poems, which at first barely rhymed, then afterward came counted syllables and finally measured lines of varied length and shortness, which I learned from a book that came to hand by accident.
In the last month of 1841 I found an opening at the religious seminary of Speyer where I attended the gymnasium. After a residence of two and a half years I was dismissed, despite my exemplary comportment. Apparently my audacious defense of Schiller's poetry offended some of my superiors."
Diehl notes in German that the last paragraph of this excerpt, quoted from a short Krez autobiography, was originally written in Greek. Conrad's father, John Krez, was conscripted from his schoolteaching duties to serve in a European army that took part in a war to liberate Greece from Turkey, a conflict that is now remembered chiefly through Lord Byron's scathing satire of it in 'Don Juan', certainly the longest if not the best poem in that corpus.