Eminent author, philosopher Givi Margvelashvili dies at age 92

Givi Margvelashvili was interviewed by agenda.ge in 2015, after his move for residence to Tbilisi. Photo: Nino Alavidze/agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 13 Mar 2020 - 19:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Eminent German-Georgian author and philosopher Givi Margvelashvili died on Friday at age 92, leaving behind an award-winning legacy in literature and a widely recognised position in cultural relations between the two countries.

Recipient of state cultural awards and prizes in literature, Margvelashvili spent the recent years in Tbilisi and his life between the Georgian capital and Germany, where he was born in 1927.

Son of Tite Margvelashvili, a Georgian intellectual who emigrated to Germany after the 1921 Soviet invasion of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia, the writer experienced the death of his mother at age four.

He studied grammar schools in Germany in the 1930s and the first half of 1940s before he was abducted from West Berlin by the Soviet NKVD secret service, along with his father.

The two were forcibly moved to the city's Soviet-controlled sector, with Tite Margvelashvili deported to Moscow in 1946 and later shot. The son was sent first to the Soviet camp at Sachsenhausen and then deported to Georgia in 1947.

Setting in Tbilisi, he studied and then taught German. Meeting famed German author Heinrich Böll in 1967, Margvelashvili briefly returned to Germany in 1969, as an interpreter for Georgia's Shota Rustaveli Theatre company on their tour.

One of Margvelashvili's last interviews was with the Georgian Public Broadcaster for their 2019 documentary. Screenshot from GBP video.

Marrying writer and Germanist Naira Gelashvili, he worked at the Soviet Georgian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Philosophy since 1971. His visits to Germany intensified during the Soviet perestroika in the 1980s, with the celebrated philosopher settling in the country in the early 1990s.

Margvelashvili received German citizenship through naturalisation in 1994, along with the President's Honorary Fellowship. Writing prose and leading poetry lectures, he was invited by universities in Germany and the United States as a teacher.

Among awards and honours received by the author and philosopher were the 2015 Presidential Order of Excellence of Georgia, the 2013 Georgian-German Cultural Award - subsequently named after him - and the 2008 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Margvelashvili's first autobiographical work was published in Germany in 1991, followed by a range of novels, philosophical reviews of classical works and poems.

For his work he received the 2006 Goethe Medal of the Goethe Institute and the 1995 Literature Prize of the Brandenburg Federal State, along other honours, and held the title of Honorary Doctor at the Tbilisi State University and Ilia State University.