Guy Stern was born in Hildesheim, Germany in 1922 and emigrated to the United States in 1937. From 1940 to 1942 he studied at St. Louis University and followed his studies with three years of army service. As a sergeant in U.S. Military Intelligence, he took part in the Normandy invasion and was decorated with the Bronze Star. After World War II, he continued his studies at Hofstra University, then at Columbia University. While teaching at various American universities, he also accepted guest professorships at the Goethe Institute and the universities of Freiburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Potsdam, and Munich.
He retired as a professor from Wayne State University in 2003, upon the completion of fifty years of university service. Stern took the position of Director of the Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous at the Holocaust Memorial Center of Greater Detroit and acted as Interim Director of the Museum for ten months.
Among his numerous publications are: War, Weimar and Literature. The Story of the “Neue Merkur” 1914-1925 (1971); Literatur im Exil. Gesammelte Aufsätze 1959-1989 (1989); Literature and Culture in Exile (1997); and Fielding, Wieland, Goethe, and the Rise of the Novel (2003). He has written on the life and accomplishments of Lotte Lenya and on several collaborations of Weill and Brecht.
Among his awards are Distinguished Germanist of the Year (AATG 1985), the Grand Order of Merit, and the Goethe Medal of the Federal Republic of Germany. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from Hofstra University and was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1992. A Festschrift was given to him in 1989 entitled Exile and Enlightenment, and in 2005 he was honored again in another Festschrift at the University of Munich: Autobiographische Zeugnisse der Verfolgung: Hommage für Guy Stern. In 2012 he was awarded the Honorary Citizenship of his hometown of Hildesheim and was awarded honorary membership of the International Society for Exile Studies. In January 2017, Dr. Stern was granted The Order of Légion d'Honneur by the French government for his World War II participation as a Ritchie Boy on the Normandy Coast.