Soonae Lee-Fink & Wolfgang Ritzberger

"A passion for good stories!"

That is the motto of the neo-publisher, film producer and author Wolfgang Ritzberger, whose newly founded VERLAG RITZBERGER starts with a biographical novel about Franziska Donner, the Austrian who was the first First Lady of Korea.

"I've always been enthusiastic about good stories," states Wolfgang Ritzberger MA., the founder and owner of the newly founded publishing house, which also bears his name. He read books as a little boy, when he left home at the age of 18 he had packed almost 1000 books in boxes. "Friends who helped me move asked me if I would take bricks with me?". If he had to move his library today, it would not be an easy task.

With "Franziska", Ritzberger as a neo-publisher presents one of the most touching love stories of the 20th century, the story of Korea's first First Lady, the Austrian Franziska Donner-Rhee. "Soonae Lee-Fink got to know her personally shortly before her death and has now been dealing with her life for more than 30 years," says Ritzberger, who worked as a co-author on the translation and literary revision of the German edition. The story of Franziska is inspiring and touching when she literally leaves everything behind because of her great love and despite the considerable cultural hurdles, the considerable age difference (her husband Syngman Rhee was 25 years older), the political attacks and the initially dominant poverty, in which the exiled politician had to live, endures and stays by his side. The research was not easy because her personal diary was destroyed in the course of water damage in Ihwajang (a district of Seoul), where Franziska lived until her death. The only sources available were her husband's numerous documents, in which Franziska was occasionally mentioned. The reports about Syngman Rhee have not always been positive either. Today, although he went down in history as the first president of Korea, he is considered controversial and became part of the political debate and his wife's role is often included. Not least because she was so different from what you would expect from a wife in Korean society in the 1950s. Soonae Lee-Fink: "The book has therefore become a biographical novel, the life of Franziska Donner is the basis and the descriptions are historically verifiable, but many details about which the diaries could have provided information unfortunately remain hidden."

"I am convinced that the book, if it is able to tell such stories, is far from dead," says Ritzberger, pleased about the start of the publishing house with this special book. “Franziska” is also to be published in Korean and English next year, and an e-book or audio book edition is planned before Christmas.

Facts and figures:

Title: "Francisca"

Subtitle: "the first First Lady of Korea"

ISBN: 978-3-200-08720-0

Paperback, softcover binding, 352 pages with numerous photos

Orders, also for bookshops, via the publisher

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