A Jewish German poet
. Born in Düsseldorf
, as Chaim Heine.
He was active in the "Society for the Promotion of Jewish Science and Culture" in Berlin, and published his first book of poems in 1821.
After failing in his career as a lawyer, he converted to Lutheranism hoping to gain a government or academic position (these kinds of positions were closed to Jews at the time), this didn't do him much good since the official circles considered him a dangerous radical. Later he regretted converting his religion, and in his last days, when he was asked why he didn't come back to Judaism he joked that "It's batter that one more Christian should die, than one more Jew."
In 1831 after publishing a series of articles in newspapres criticizing with great wit and poison the Prussian reactionary government and church of his days, he was sent to exile and settled in Paris. In 1841 he was first diagnosed with syphilis, and from 1848 and until his death in 1856 he practically couldn't leave his bed, or in his words, his "mattresses grave".
His poetry is characterized by his beautiful German, his wit and cynicism, and his fight for liberty, and equality for all.
He is often considerd to be one of the principal shapers of the German language (along with Nietzsche, Goethe and Luther).
Among his famous works are: "Germany. A Winter's Tale", "Romanzäro", "The Rabbi of Bacharach", "The North Sea" and others.