H.F. Garten was born Hugo Friedrich Königsgarten, into a Jewish family, in Brünn [now Brno], Moravia, on 13 April 1904. He was educated at a Gymnasium in Berlin, and at the Universites of Jena (1923), Vienna (1923-1924), Berlin (1924-1926) and Heidelberg, where he obtained his doctorate in 1930. He worked as a freelance writer in Berlin from 1928 to1933, and then moved to Vienna in 1933, and London in 1938. From 1940 to 1945 he taught at New College School, Oxford, was on the staff of Die Zeitung (London) from 1941 to1944 and, in1944, was awarded the DPhil degree by the University of Oxford. From 1946 to 1965 he taught modern languages at Westminster School, London, before being appointed to a Lectureship at the Universities of Surrey and London. He was a member of the International PEN Club, the English Goethe Society, and the Gerhart Hauptmann-Gesellschaft. He married Anne Leonard Smith in1952; they had no children.