Horst Bernhardt was born in Bad Hersfeld in 1950 and studied Linguistics, Slavic languages, Finno-Ugristics and Islamic studies in Göttingen. After a period in Berlin, he lived since 1982 for many years in Kaustinen, Ostrobothnia, and taught German at the University in Vaasa. In Turku he worked for a translation agency before moving back to Berlin.
During the years 1982-86 Bernhardt was a collaborator of Trajekt. Beiträge zur finnischen, finnlandschwedischen, lappischen und estnischen Literatur, published both in Finland and West-Germany. He translated literary texts by Veijo Meri and Hannu Salama from Finnish, authors such as Tõnu Õnneplau and Viivi Luik from Estonian, and poetry from Latvian and, more recently, Yiddish. For his translation of Viivi Luik he received a state prize from the Estonian Literature Centre.