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Feuchtwanger Memorial Library *: Exhibitions

Personal materials, manuscripts and correspondences of German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his invaluable library. Collections on German-speaking exile artists who had to flee Europe and found refuge in Southern California

Exiled to Paradise

Exiled to Paradise: German Intellectuals in Los Angeles, 1933-1950

An Exhibit in Honor of Dr. Franklin D. Murphy

Doheny Memorial Library
University of Southern California

March 15 - May 29, 1992

The rise of National Socialism in the 1920s and 1930s in Germany led to great changes in Europe and directly affected the cultural and social landscape of Southern California. Even before Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor in 1933, German intellectuals and artists began fleeing their homeland. Under the influence of National Socialist ideology, Germany no longer provided the liberal artistic environment enjoyed during the Weimar Republic. Instead, Nazi proponents stifled artistic expression and attacked whatever they considered "un-German."

Hundreds of Germans flocked to Southern California during the 1930s and 1940s. Many came to Los Angeles hoping to find work in the Hollywood movie industry as screenwriters, actors, composers, directors, etc. Although a large number of the émigrés had been successful in Europe, the language barrier and different artistic sensibilities hindered many from finding their niche in American cultural life. Not all émigrés were interested in working in the movie industry; instead they came to the Southland to enjoy the Mediterranean-like climate and to be among fellow exiles.

Exiled to Paradise outlines the successes and failures in Southern California of several German intellectuals who escaped to Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s. Writer Lion Feuchtwanger and composer Arnold Schoenberg form the primary focus of the exhibit, with glimpses of Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Max Reinhardt, and Franz Werfel.

Nazi Propaganda against 'Un-German' Intellectuals

The first part of the exhibit shows examples of the massive Nazi propaganda against Jewish and other "un-German" intellectuals. The newspaper articles on display endeavored to discredit writer Lion Feuchtwanger's sharp attacks against National Socialism as well as blacklist those authors considered by the ultra right wing political group as "degenerate" and "un-German."

Internment of Anti-Nazi Intellectuals

The next section shows Lion Feuchtwanger's captivity in the French internment camp at Les Milles and his arrival in New York in 1940. Also illustrated are examples of Feuchtwanger's efforts to help fellow exiles obtain the appropriate visas and paperwork required for their entry into the United States.

Life for those Exiled to Paradise

The bulk of the exhibit depicts the new lives of Lion Feuchtwanger, Arnold Schoenberg, and several other German-speaking émigrés who lived for a time in Southern California. Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Max Reinhardt, and Franz Werfel all contributed to the cultural life of Los Angeles in varying degrees. Lion Feuchtwanger (1884-1958) was considered by Nazi officials to be a traitor because of his strongly critical stance toward National Socialism and Hitler. In his novel Erfolg (Success) published in 1930, Feuchtwanger revealed the evils of National Socialism as he had experienced them living in Munich in the early 1920s. By the 1940s, Feuchtwanger already had a large American audience, thus he could continue to write in German and have his work translated into English.

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), atonalist composer and inventor of the twelve-tone serial technique, came to the United States after he lost his teaching position at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin. He moved to Los Angeles in 1934 primarily to enjoy the healing benefits of the warm climate. In 1935 he began teaching at the University of Southern California. The following year he accepted a position at the University of California, Los Angeles where he remained until his health forced him to retire in 1944.

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), probably the most significant German playwright of the twentieth century, had great difficulties in this country owing to his theatrical philosophy and political views. One success, however, was his production of "Galileo," on which he was assisted by the well-known British actor Charles Laughton.

Composer Hanns Eisler (1898-1962) studied with Arnold Schoenberg in Vienna in the early 1920s and began collaborating with playwright Bertolt Brecht in the 1930s. Eisler moved to Hollywood in 1942 and accepted a teaching position at USC. Although known for his modernist compositions, Eisler was also able to write the type of music sought in Hollywood and created a number of film scores. Unfortunately, Eisler's involvement with the Communist Party in the late 1920s got him in trouble with the House of Representatives' Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, which led to his abrupt departure in 1948. Eisler settled in former East Germany where one of his compositions was selected as the national anthem of the former German Democratic Republic.

World renowned theater director Max Reinhardt (1873-1943) emigrated in 1933 to the United States after he lost his position as Director of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. His spectacular production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 1934 at the Hollywood Bowl was enormously popular.

The Austrian poet, novelist, and dramatist Franz Werfel (1890-1945) was another émigré who was able to break into the film industry successfully. He fled Austria in 1938, lived in France for two years, then came to this country. His internationally successful novel The Song of Bernardette and play "Juarez and Maximilian" were made into films in 1943 and 1939.

Pazifische Presse

One major difficulty facing German writers living in exile was isolation from their readers. Since the writings of these authors were outlawed in Nazi-controlled territories, their works had to be produced elsewhere or not at all. A number of publishing firms undertook the task of keeping the writings of such figures as Alfred Döblin and Thomas Mann in print. Publishers in Los Angeles, too, played their part in making the works of well-known German writers available, albeit in limited editions. The Pazifische Presse, formed in 1942, produced eleven volumes by German writers.

Most of the materials displayed in the exhibit "Exiled to Paradise" come from the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library and Archive and the Arnold Schoenberg Institute at the University of Southern California. Other sources are the Warner Brothers Archives, Cinema-Television Collection; Hearst Collection, Regional History Center; and the Department of Special Collections, University of Southern California. The exhibit at the University of Southern California was inspired by the1991 Hollywood Bowl Museum exhibit "Exiles in Paradise" created by Carol Merrill-Mirsky. We would like to extend our thanks to Carol Merrill-Mirsky, Curator of the Hollywood Bowl Museum, and Hollywood Bowl Executive Director Ernest Fleischmann for their help in making this exhibit possible.


Heinrich Mann: His Final Years

Heinrich Mann: His Final Years
Drawings, Letters, and Manuscripts

Doheny Memorial Library

May 3, 1993 - July 15, 1993

Heinrich Mann, one of the foremost German writers of the twentieth century, lived almost penniless and seemingly forgotten in Los Angeles for nearly a decade before his death in 1950. Heinrich Mann was the elder brother of Nobel Prize winning novelist Thomas Mann. Despite his name and literary stature, Heinrich Mann remained virtually unknown in this country. By contrast, in Germany, Heinrich had been both respected by fellow writers and popular with readers, perhaps even more so than his brother, in pre-Hitler years.

Heinrich Mann began actively pursuing a career in writing in the 1890s after failing as a publisher's apprentice. He first began as a critic and editor, then turned his talents to short stories and novels. The novel Im Schlaraffenland (In the Land of Cockaigne), published in 1901, proved his literary skill. Although he had achieved a degree of literary success in the period before World War I, his works were not widely read. Not until Der Untertan (The Patrioteer) appeared in 1918 did he experience popular success. In the United States, Mann never gained wide recognition as a writer; and he is still best known for the 1930 film "The Blue Angel," which was adapted from his novel Professor Unrat (Small Town Tyrant).

As the Nazis assumed power in February 1933, Heinrich Mann was one of the first intellectuals to flee Germany. His close ties to France made his exile in Southern France relatively easy and allowed him to continue writing for an appreciative audience. Mann remained in France until the country fell to German occupation, whereupon Mann and his wife, Nelly, fled Europe. For Mann, then nearly seventy years old, the escape across the Pyrenees on foot was extremely arduous. Like most German exiles during World War II, Mann faced great financial difficulties in the United States. Away from European soil, he lost much of his sympathetic French audience, not to mention his larger readership in Germany. Luckily, his first year in Los Angeles was free of hardship because of a one-year contract with Warner Brothers Pictures previously arranged for Mann by fellow exiles. However, after the completion of this contract, and until his death in 1950, Mann was without a regular salary and was dependent on assistance from his family and friends. In spite of the difficulties which he faced, Mann wrote some of his greatest works during his years in exile, including Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre (1935; Young Henry of Navarre), Der Atem (1949; The Breath) and his autobiographical Ein Zeitalter wird besichtigt (1945; An Age is Examined).

The exhibit "Heinrich Mann: His Final Years. Drawings, Letters, and Manuscripts" presents a brief glimpse of the man and writer Heinrich Mann. The materials on display are taken from The University of Southern California's Department of Special Collections, Cinema-Television Library, and Doheny Memorial Library. Upon his death, Heinrich Mann's manuscripts and correspondence went to his longtime friend, Lion Feuchtwanger. These materials were later given to USC along with Feuchtwanger's own library and manuscripts. The Heinrich Mann material at USC represents Mann's period in exile, covering both the years spent in France and Southern California. On display are examples of his correspondence, literary manuscripts, and sketches which he drew during the 1940s.

Exhibit by Marje Schuetze-Coburn 


Bertolt Brecht turns 100

Bertolt Brecht turns 100 - A web exhibit

created by Marje Schuetze-Coburn, Feuchtwanger Librarian, at the University of Southern California, February 1998.

This online exhibition celebrates the 100th birthday of Bertolt Brecht, one of the most influential playwrights and German writers of the twentieth century.

The exhibit provides background information about Bertolt Brecht, explores some of his experiences between 1941 and 1947 when he lived in Southern California, and showcases archival materials in the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library. A list of references is provided.


Durs Grünbein, renowned poet and winner of the 1995 Büchner Prize, was a recent fellow at Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades. During his stay in the former home of Brecht's friend and fellow exile, Lion Feuchtwanger, Durs Grünbein reread some of Brecht's writings. Grünbein was particularly drawn to Brecht's works describing his experiences living in Southern California during the 1940s.

Arbeitsjournal, entry for January 21, 1942.

Journal Amerika, 21. I. 42

Merkwürdig, ich kann in diesem Klima nicht atmen. Die Luft ist völlig geruchlos, morgens und abends gleich, im Haus wie im Garten. Und es gibt keine Jahreszeiten. Überall gehörte es zu meinen Morgenverrichtungen, mich aus dem Fenster zu beugen und Luft zu schnappen; hier habe ich diese Verrichtung gestrichen. Da ist weder Rauch noch Grasgeruch zu haben. Die Pflanzen kommen mir vor wie die Zweige, die wir als Kinder in den Sand steckten; zehn Minuten später hingen die Blätter welk herab. Immerfort wartet man, auch hier könne die Bewässerung plötzlich abgestellt werden, und was dann? Mitunter, besonders im Auto nach Beverly Hills fahrend, nehme ich so etwas wie Züge einer Landschaft wahr, die "eigentlich" anziehend wirken: sanfte Hügellinien, Zitronengebüsch, eine kalifornische Eiche und auch die eine oder andre Tankstation ist eigentlich lustig; aber all das steht wie hinter einer Glasscheibe, und ich suche unwillkürlich an jeder Hügelkette oder and jedem Zitronenbaum ein kleines Preisschildchen. Diese Preisschildchen sucht man auch an Menschen. - Es liegt mir an sich nicht, mit einer Umgebung, unter diesen Umständen besonders, nicht zufrieden zu sein. Ich lege großes Gewicht auf meinen Stand, den distinguierten des Flüchtlings, und dem Flüchtling gegenüber schickt es sich eben gar nicht, so servil und gefallsüchtig zu sein, wie es diese Umgebung ist. Wahrscheinlich aber sind es die Arbeitsverhältnisse, die mich ungeduldig machen. Die Sitte hier verlangt, daß man alles, von einem Achselzucken bis zu einer Idee, zu "verkaufen" sucht, d.h. man hat sich ständig um einen Abnehmer zu bemühen, und so ist man unaufhörlich Käufer oder Verkäufer, man verkauft sozusagen dem Pissoir seinen Urin. Für die höchste Tugend gilt der Opportunismus, die Höflichkeit wird sogleich zur Feigheit.

Bertolt Brecht Werke: Journale 2. Vol. 27. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1995; pp. 50-1.


The following three essays were written toward the end of 1944.

Wo ich wohne

Wenn ich sage, wo ich wohne, sage ich immer: Santa Monica, was stimmt. Aber jeder weiderholt: So, in Hollywood! Es sind tatsächlich verschiedene Städte, fünf Meilen entfernt voneinander, jedoch in irgendeiner Weise gehören wir zu Hollywood. So beeile ich mich zu sagen: Wir haben den Ort nicht gewählt, das Schiff von Wladiwostok setzte uns hier an Land, wir hatten hein Geld, hier waren einige andere Flüchtlinge, da blieben wir. Wir haben allerdings ein Haus hier, aber nur weil da die Abzahlungssummen billiger sind, als Miete woanders wäre. Das Haus hat nämlich nur einundeinhalb Baderäume, und es ist viereckig, ein füngzig Jahre altes Ranchhaus, aufgestockt. Ringsum die Villen sind in mexikanischem oder englischem Stil gebaut doer haben Türmchen und Kurven, die man nie gesehen hat. Unser Haus hat sieben Räume, darunter zwei große, es ist nicht übel, und der Garten is sogar lieblich, ziemlich alt, mit Feigenbäumen, Zitronen, Orangen, Aprikosen, Pfefferbäumen und Gras, es gibt sogar Winkel zwischen Holzhütten, das sieht lange bewohnt aus.

Die Welt hungert und liegt in Trümmern; wie kann man sich beklagen, daß man hier sitzt? Ich sah keine Möglichkeit, bis mir der Gedanke kam, daß diese hübschen Villen hier aus dem geleichen Stoff gebaut sind wie die Ruinen drüben; als hätte ein und derselbe böse Wind, der die Gebäude drüben zusammenriß, allerhand Staub und Schmutz hier zu Villen zusammengewirbelt. Denn es ist eine Tatsache: Wir leben in einer würdelosen Stadt.

Es ist schwer zu beschreiben, ich habe oft angesetzt und es wieder aufgegeben. Natürlich muß es von den Menschen kommen.

Um mit den Nachbarn zu beginnen, kleinen Leuten. Sie sind freundlich und schnüffeln nicht. Sie sehen eine Frau das Haus und den Garten in Ordnung halten, einen Mann an der Schreibmaschine; so sagen sie der Polizei, die sich nach uns erkundigt, wir seien "hard working people", man solle uns in Ruhe lassen. Sie bekommen Feigen von unserm Garten, bringen Kuchen. Und sie haben nicht das verkniffene neurotische Wesen der deutschen Kleinbürger, noch die Unterwürfigkeit und Überheblichkeit. Sie bewegen sich freier, mit mehr Anmut, und keifen nicht. Freilich ist etwas Leeres und Bedeutungsloses an ihnen wie an den Charakteren oberflächlicher und gefälliger Romanschreiber. In den Schulen wird nicht nur benotet, wie fleißig und belesen und intelligent ein Kind ist, sondern auch, wie populär es ist. Dagegen ist schwer etwas zu sagen: vielleicht habe ich nur etwas dagegen, weil ich selber nicht populär war, noch sein wollte. Wenn die Kinder lernen sollen, sich der Gesellschaft anzupassen, kommt es ja auch darauf an: welcher Gesellschaft. Die Zeitungen sind andrerseits voll von gewalttägigen Auseinandersetzungen in den unteren Schichten: Männer schießen ihre untreuen Frauen ab, Halbwüchsige axen betrunkene Väter, die die Mütter prügeln, usw. Das ist anders als in den besseren Kreisen, wo derlei seelische Konflikte sich zu finanziellen Konflikten verschärfen und es um Alimente geht. Jedoch handelt es sich oben wie unten um Probleme, die sozusagen Gleichungen mit nur einer Unbekannten darstellen; der siebenzeilige Zeitungsreport scheint schon erschöpfend. Die Häuser um unseres herum haben nahezu alle, seit wir hier wohnen, die Besitzer mehrmals gewechselt. Die Leute wechseln unaufhörlich und anscheinend ohne viel nachzudenken ihre Arbeitsstellen und sogar ihre Berufe, und so ziehen sie in leichter erreichbare Bezirke oder Städte; einige ziehen, und das mehrmals, über den ganzen Kontinent. So lernen sie ihre Behausungen kaum kennen, haben weder Vaterhaus noch Heimat. Keine Freundschaften wachsen und keine Feinschaften. Was die Meinungen angeht, herrschen die Ideen der Herrschenden nahezu unumschränkt. Nichtübereinzustimmen wird gemeinhin als bloßes Nichtkennen des allgemein Gebilligten angesehen, als ein gefährliches Unvermögen, sich anzupassen. Die Anpassung ist ein eigenes Lehrfach; der Intelligentere bringt es darin weiter, der Widerstrebende ist ein Problem der Ärtze und Psychologen. Um den "Job" zu halten-er ist immer unsicher, es gibt keinen "Lebensstellungen" mit Rechten und Pensionen, auch nicht in den Ämtern der Regierung-, muß man, jenseits der Qualifikation-auf die kommt es nicht so sehr an, alles ist eingerichtet für Auswechselbarkeit, also für das Minimun-, ein "regular guy" sein, d.h. normal. Das läßt wenig Möglichkeiten für Eigenart. "Die unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten" beginnen wie eine Legende zu klingen, aber "die unvermeidlichen Krisen", das klingt wie ein wissenschaftlicher Satz. Und die Krisen berauben die Bewölkerung um alles. Bankkonto, Haus, Eisschrank und Auto muß in Essen umgesetzt werden, die Studien der Kinder werden abgebrochen, die Ehen geschieden. Außer den großen allgemeinen Krisen drohen die kleinen persönlichen. Die Krankheit eines einzigen Mitglieds kann die Familie aller ihrer Ersparnisse berauben und der meisten ihrer Zukunftspläne.
Unter diesen Umständen haben die nie verschütteten, kaum je ventilierten, stinkenden Vorurteile breiter Schichten gegen die Neger, die Juden und die Mexikaner eine finstere Bedeutung. Der Einfluß der schlecht unterrichteten Bevölkerung-die Zeitungen mit Dutzenden von Millionen Lesern deuten an, daß der höchste Beamte der Nation von einer Gangstergrupe "gemacht" worden sei. Viele haben das Gefühl, daß die Demokratie von einer Art ist, daß sie von einer Stunde auf die andere verschwinden kann. Wenige wagen sich ein Bild zu machen davon, was die ungeheure Brutalität, die der ökonomische Kampf auf diesem Kontinent entwichkelt hat, dann aus ihm machen würde.

Die große Unsicherheit und Abhängigkeit pervertiert die Intellektuellen und macht sie oberflächlich, ängstlich und zynisch. Dabei gehört es sozusagen zu ihrem Anstellungsvertrag, daß sie locker (easy going), zuversichtlich (cheerful) und zuverlässig (mentally balanced) erscheinen, was sie mit Pfeifenrauchen, Hände-in-die-Hosentaschen-Stecken usw. bewerkstelligen. In der alten Welt gibt es immer noch die große Fiktion für die Intellektuellen, daß sie arbeiten für mehr als Entlohnung. Die Beamten halten die Ordnung aufrecht, die Ärzte heilen, die Lehrer verbreiten Wissen, die Künster erfreuen, die Techniker produzieren; sie werken "natürlich" entlohnt, aber das ist nur, weil sie leben müssen. Ihre Arbeit hat eine Wichtigkeit darüber hinaus. Riesige staatliche Institutionen geben sich zumindest den Anschein, unter keiner Kontrolle als der allgemeinen zu stehen: die Universitäten, Schulen, Kliniken, Administrationen. Hier aber sind die Universitäten offen kontroliert von Geldleuten, auch die halbstaatlichen; die Kliniken ebenfalls, und die Beamten der Adminstration bekommen Wochenschecks und sind abhängig von den politischen Maschinen. So ist die Jugend eine Generation von jungern Göttern, die sich, über Nacht, verwandelt in Sklaven. Frauen des Mittelstands über dreißig, ohne Bankkonto, sind failures. Dieses Wort failure ist beinahe unübersetzbar in eine Kultursprache. Es bedeutet "Erfolgloser", und es kann der Vater sein oder die Mutter oder der Lehrer oder der Nachbar oder ich. Der Zustand der "failures" ist ebenfalls kaum übersetzbar. Das Wort dafür heißt "frustration", und es bedeutet Vereiteltheit, Enttäuschung, Durchkreuztheit, Geschlagenheit. Diese Altjungfernschaft gibt es in beiden Geschlechtern, und sie is sozial, mit klinischen Merkmalen.

Kein Wunder, daß etwas Unedles, Infames, Würdeloses allem Vekehr von Mensch zu Mensch anhaftet und von da übergegangen ist auf alle Gegenstände, Wohnunge, Werkzeuge, ja auf die Landschaft selber. Ein Mann, in der Frühe im Garten einen Band Lukrez lesend, wäre ein abgeschmackter Anblick, eine Frau, ihr Kind nährend, etwas Fades. Die Wohntürme von Manhattan inder Dämmerung sind atemberaubend, aber sie können keine Brust schwellen. Die Schlachthöfe in Chicago, die Elektrizitätswerke in den Canyons, die Ölfelder Kaliforniens, alle haben dieses Zurückgehaltene, Frustrierte; alle wirken wie failures. Überall ist dieser Geruch der hoffnungslosen Roheit, der Gewalt ohne Befriedignung. In fünf Jahren sah ich einmal etwas Kunstähnliches: Entlang an der Küste von Santa Monica, vor den tausend Badenden, schwebte an dünnen Drahtseilen drachenhaft, gezogen von einem Motorboot, ein dünnes, köstliches Gebilde in zarten Farben, die Reklamezeichnung einer Hautölfirma.

Bertolt Brecht Werke: Schriften 3. Vol. 23. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1993; pp. 48-51.

Die amerikanische Umgangssprache

Ich will heute beginnen, einiges über meine Studien in amerikanischer Umgangssprache zu Papier zu bringen, da das Wetter ununterbrochen heiter ist, so daß ein blick aus dem Fenster genügt, einen in unübersehbare Zustände tiefer Niedrgeschlagenheit zu stürzen.

Ich muß gleich sagen: Ich habe nicht die geringste Hoffnung, die amerikanische Umgangssprache je zu erlernen. Es fehlt mir gewiß nicht die Neigung und schon gar nicht der äußer Antrieb. Es ist etwas anderes, das mir fehlt. Ich versuche schon seit einiger Zeit, mich in der Landessprache auszudrücken. Dabei habe ich festgestellt, daß ich bei Diskussionen nicht das sage, was ich sagen will, sondern das, was ich kann, sehr verschiedene Dinge. Man könnte vermuten, dieser verwirrende Zustand sei ein vorübergehender, etwas mehr Studium könne Erleichterung schaffen. Das ist leider nicht zu erhoffen.

Mir mangeln nicht die Worte allein, noch die Kenntnis des Satzbaus allein. Mir fehlt vielmehr ein ganz bestimmter Habitus, den zu erlernen ich einfach keine Möglichkeit sehe. Mit einigem Fleiß könnte ich vielleicht im Laufe der Zeit den Gedanken, daß mir auf gewissen amerikanischen Bildern der Himmel und die Bäume wie Geschminkte vorkommen, wie auf die Produktion von möglichst viel sex appeal bedachte Wesen, in amerikanischen Sätzen ausdrücken. Aber die Haltung, in der ich so etwas sagen müßte, um nicht chon durch eben die Haltung Anstoß zu erregen, werde ich niemals lernen. Ich müßte lernen, ein "nice fellow" zu werden.

Angetrieben von meinen Freunden, wahrscheinlich zum Entzücken meiner Feinde, wenn ich solche hätte, setze ich meine Sprachstudien fort und versuche, die Bedeutung des Wortes "to sell" (verkaufen) zu verstehen. Wenn in einer Drogerie ein Mädchen jemandem ein belegtes Butterbrot verkauft, stellt sich das Wort gehorsam ein. (Man ißt hier hauptsächlich in Apotheken, wo man auch gleich die Vitamine in Pillenform verkauft bekommen kann, die dem Essen fehlen, sowei einige Laxative, die einem beim Verdauen helfen.) Jedoch verkauft man hier jemandem auch eine Ansicht über Surrealismus, d.h. das Wort verkaufen bedeutet da, die Ansicht jemandem aufzureden. Es bedeutet eigentlich nur, in jemandem ein unwiderstehliches Bedürfnis nach etwas zu erzeugen, was man gerade wegzugeben hat. So könnte ein Mann gewisse Vorkommnisse seines Ehelebens in der Form beschreiben, daß er sagt: ich habe meiner Frau am Samstag einen Koitus verkauft, d.h. ich habe die dazu gebracht, dies und das als Koitus abzunehmen, danach ein Bedürfnis zu empfinden usw. So sagt man auch, der Präsident habe die Aufgabe, dem Volk den Krieg zu verkaufen. Er hat es davon zu überzeugen, daß Krieg für es gut ist, ein Bedürfnis.

Wie man hört, hat er damit Schwierigkeiten. Nicht, weil das Land, ohne Schaden zu nehmen, aus dem Krieg bleiben könnte. Das kann es sowenig, wie eine alte große Petroleumgesellscahft es sich leisten kann, den Anstrengungen.

Die Studien in amerikanischer Umgangssprache machen mir Vergnügen. Dasselbe gilt von den Studien in chinesischen Sitten, die ich gleichzeitig, begonnen habe. Die chinesischen Sitten studiere ich nicht bei den Chinesen selber, von denen es hier wie in New York genügend Exemplare gäbe, sondern aus einem kleinen Buch, von dem ich natürlich nicht weiß, ob es sehr verläßlich ist. Für meine mehr oder weniger frivolen Zwecke genügt es mir ebenso, daß es ein solches Buch gibt, als daß es solche Sitten gibt. Im Grunde suche ich ja nur irgendein Thema harmloser Art, das mir Gelegenheit gibt, Stellung zu nehmen. Das bin ich gewohnt, und wenn ich einige Vorsicht walten lasse ....

Bertolt Brecht Werke: Schriften 3. Vol. 23. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1993; pp. 44-6.


"Briefe an einen erwachsenen Amerikaner"

3 (Zwei Wissenschaften)

Das nationale Ideal, die große Planlosigkeit, welche erzeugt wird durch die mannigfachen und heftigen Pläne vieler einzelner, die einander im dunkeln lassen, wirft die Bevökerung in eine beispiellose Unsicherheit. Zwei Fakultäten, die Astrologie und die Psychoanalyse, nehmen sich der Nation da an. Beide operieren, da es hier verlangt wird, auf wissenschaftlicher Grundlage, die erstere übrigens mehr, die letztere weniger. Die Preise in der Astrologie sind abgestuft, es gibt teuere und billige Ratschläge, die ersteren von den Wohlhabenden, die letzteren von den Ärmlichen gesucht. Kleinere Millionäre, heißt es, tun keinen Schritt ohne astrologische Belehrung, größere bewegen nicht einmal einen Finger oder runzeln ohne Zurat die Stirn. Ich höre aus guter Quelle, daß die Gestirne für ärmere Leute ungünstiger stehen; jedoch erfahren sie es nicht immer, da die Armenastrologen schlechter sind. Die Astrologie ist die einzige Wissenschaft, die auch auf dem Gebiet der Politik Voraussagen macht. Josef Stalin hat, wenn er nur auf seine Nieren aufpaßt, ein vorteilhaftes Jahr vor sich, auch Roosevelt hätte ein solches vorteilhaftes Jahr vor sich, wenn er nicht gestorben wäre. Mitunter tauschen Leute die Führung durch den Astrologen mit der Führung des Psychoanalytikers, oder umgekehrt; es ist jedoch selten, daß ein und derselbe Patient beiede Erwerbszweige patronisiert. Es ist dies nicht nur der Kosten wegen, es ist auch, weil man nicht gut zwei Führern folgen kann. Beide sind recht absolutistisch und legen ihren Gefolgschaften Aufgaben auf, die sie voll ausfüllen. Es gibt da keinen Achtstundentag. Um zu den Psychoanalytikern zu kommen: sie haben mehr sex appeal als die Astrologen. Damit ist natürlich nicht gemeint, daß sie ihren Klientinnen und Klienten physisch zur Verfügung stehen; das Verhältnis zu ihnen ist wie das zu hübschen Eunuchen ein geistiges. Was sie zu verkaufen haben, ist Verständnis. Man vergleicht sie gewöhnlich mit den Beichtigern der Kirche, ich glaube aber, daß das Vergnügen sexuelle Regeungen zur Sprache zu bringen, im Beichtstuhl tiefer ist als auf dem Sofa des Analytikers, da sich da größere Gegensätze berühren. Freilich verschafft die Psycholanalyse ein anderes Vergnügen, nämlich das, möglichst viel Geld für die eigene Person auszugeben. Die Psychoanalytiker sehen bekanntlich eine starke Heilkraft im Zahlen-der Patient nimmt sie ernst, weil er zahlt; sehr ernst, weil er sehr viel zahlt. Z.B. finden die höchstbezahlten Sklaven der Nation, die Film-Schreiber, Produzenten, Schauspieler, in der Psychoanalyse etwas, was sie ernst nehmen können; sie sollen, ob man es glaubt oder nicht, wenn sie von der Arbeit zu ihren Schwimmbassins heimkehren, ein Gefühl der Leere empfinden. Wenn oberflächliche Naturen, wie z.B. der Verfasser, über die Psycholanalyse lachen (d.h. über ihre Kunden), so wissen sie nur nicht, wie es mit ihnen selber steht. In einer Gesellschaft wurde der Verfasser höhnisch gefragt, warum er, seiner Meinung nach, das Bedürfnis empfinde, eine hochgeschlossene Jacke zu tragen (und wenn irgend zulässig,keine Krawatte); nach Ansicht der Gesellschaft war er mehr als reif für die Psychoanalyse. Eine Trumpfkarte der Psychoanalytiker ist, daß die ärmere Bevölkerung ebenfalls eine riesige Anzahl von Neurotikern aufweist. Allerdings verschwinden die Neurosen, höre ich, wenn der Patient eine Anstellung bekommt: der Psychoanalytiker wird arbeitslos, wenn der Patient Arbeit bekommt. Für den Armen ist das ein fast unlösbares Problem. Wenn er nicht verdient, braucht er Psychoanalyse, kann sie aber nicht erschwingen. Wenn er verdient und sie erschwingen kann, braucht, er sie nicht mehr. Eine Art Lösung, wäre es, wenn er, solange er Arbeit hat, in eine Kasse einzahlte, aus der er, wenn er arbeitslos wird, eine Behandlung finanziert bekäme. Und daß er immer einmal wieder arbeitslos werden wird, kann ihm jeder Astrologe bestätigen, es steht in seinen Sternen.

Bertolt Brecht Werke: Schriften 3. Vol. 23. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1993; pp. 46-7.

Lesebuch für Städtebewohner
the poems in this collection were written while Brecht was living in Berlin between 1926-27.


Trenne dich von deinen Kameraden auf dem Bahnhof
Gehe am Morgen in die Stadt mit zugeknöpfter Jacke
Suche dir Quartier und wenn dein Kamerad anklopft:
Öffne, o öffne die Tür nicht
Verwisch die Spuren!

Wenn du deinen Eltern begegnest in der Stadt Hamburg oder sonstwo
Gehe an ihnen fremd vorbei, biege um die Ecke, erkenne sie nicht
Zieh den Hut ins Gesicht, den sie dir schenkten
Zeige, o zeige dein Gesicht nicht
Verwisch die Spuren!

Iß das Fleische, das da ist! Spare nicht!
Gehe in jedes Haus, wenn es regnet, und setze dich auf jeden Stuhl, der da
Aber bleibe nicht sitzen! Und vergiß deinen Hut nicht!
Ich sage dir:
Verwisch die Spuren!

Was immer du sagst, sag es nicht zweimal
Findest du deinen Gedanken bei einem andern: verleugne ihn.
Wer seine Unterschrift nicht gegeben hat, wer kein Bild hinterließ
Wer nicht dabei war, wer nichts gesagt hat
Wie soll der zu fassen sein!
Verwisch die Spuren!

Sorge, wenn du zu sterben gedenkst
Daß kein Grabmal steht und verrät, wo du liegst
Mit einer deutlichen Schrift, die dich anzeigt
Und dem Jahr deines Todes, das dich überführt!
Noch einmal:
Verwisch die Spuren!

(Das wurde mir gesagt.)


Laßt eure Träume fahren, daß man mit euch
Eine Ausnahme machen wird.
Was eure Mutter euch sagte
Das war unverbindlich.

Laßt euren Kontrakt in der Tasche
Er wird hier nicht eingehalten.

Laßt nur eure Hoffnungen fahren
Daß ihr zu Präsidenten ausersehen seid.
Aber legt euch ordentlich ins Zeug
Ihr müßt euch ganz anders zusammennehmen
Daß man euch in der Küche duldet.

Ihr müßt das ABC noch lernen.
Das ABC heißt:
Man wird mit euch fertig werden.

Denkt nur nicht nach, was ihr zu sagen habt:
Ihr werdet nicht gefragt.
Die Esser sind vollzählig
Was hier gebraucht wird, ist Hackfleisch.

Aber das soll euch
Nicht entmutigen!


Wenn ich mit dir rede
Kalt und allgemein
Mit den trockensten Wörtern
Ohne dich anzublicken
(Ich erkenne dich scheinbar nicht
In deiner besonderen Artung und Schwierigkeit)

So rede ich doch nur
Wie die Wirklichkeit selber
(Die nüchterne, durch deine besondere Artung unbestechliche
Diener Schwierigkeit überdrüssige)
Die du mir nicht zu erkennen scheinst.

Bertolt Brecht Werke: Gedichte 1. Vol. 11. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1988; pp. 157, 163-4, 165.


"An die Nachgeborenen" written between 1934-38.


Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
Das arglose Wort ist töricht. Eine glatte Stirn
Deutet auf Unempfindlichkeit hin. Der Lachende
Hat die furchtbare Nachricht
Nur noch nicht empfangen.

Was sind das für Zeiten, wo
Ein Gespräch über Bäume fast ein Verbrechen ist
Weil es ein Schweigen über so viele Untaten einschließt!
Der dort ruhig über die Straße geht
Ist wohl nicht mehr erreichbar für seine Freunde
Die in Not sind?

Es ist wahr: ich verdiene noch meinen Unterhalt
Aber glaubt mir: das ist nur ein Zufall. Nichts
Von dem, was ich tue, berechtigt mich dazu, mich sattzuessen.
Zufällig bin ich verschont. (Wenn mein Glück aussetzt, bin ich verloren.)

Man sagt mir: Iß und trink du! Sei froh, daß du hast!
Aber wie kann ich essen und trinken, wenn
Ich dem Hungernden entreiße, was ich esse, und
Mein Glas Wasser einem Verdurstenden fehlt?
Und doch esse und trinke ich.

Ich wäre gerne auch weise.
In den alten Büchern steht, was weise ist:
Sich aus dem Streit der Welt halten und die kurze Zeit
Ohne Furcht verbringen
Auch ohne Gewalt auskommen
Böses mit Gutem vergelten
Seine Wünsche nicht erfüllen, sondern vergessen
Gilt für weise.
Alles das kann ich nicht:
Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!


In die Städte kam ich zur Zeit der Unordnung
Als da Hunger herrschte.
Unter die Menschen kam ich zu der Zeit des Aufruhrs
Und ich empörte mich mit ihnen.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

Mein Essen aß ich zwischen den Schlachten
Schlafen legte ich mich unter die Mörder
Der Liebe pflegte ich achtlos
Und die Natur sah ich ohne Geduld.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mich gegeben war.

Die Straßen führten in den Sumpf zu meiner Zeit.
Die Sprache verriet mich dem Schlächter.
Ich vermochte nur wenig. Aber die Herrschenden
Saßen ohne mich sicherer, das hoffte ich.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

Die Kräfte waren gering. Das Ziel
Lag in großer Ferne
Es war deutlich sichtbar, wenn auch für mich
Kaum zu erreichen.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.


Ihr, die ihr auftauchen werdet aus der Flut
In der wir untergegangen sind
Wenn ihr von unseren Schwächen sprecht
Auch der finsteren Zeit
Der ihr entronnen seid.

Gingen wir doch, öfter als die Schuhe die Länder wechselnd
Durch die Kriege der Klassen, verzweifelt
Wenn da nur Unrecht war und keine Empörung.

Dabei wissen wir doch:
Auch der Haß gegen die Niedrigkeit
Verzerrt die Züge.
Auch der Zorn über das Unrecht
Macht die Stimme heiser. Ach, wir
Die wir den Boden bereiten wollten für Freundlichkeit
Konnten selber nicht freundlich sein.

Ihr aber, wenn es so weit sein wird
Daß der Mensch dem Menschen ein Helfer ist
Gedenkt unsrer
Mit Nachsicht.

Bertolt Brecht Werke: Gedichte 2. Vol. 12. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1988; pp. 85-7.




Arbeitsjournal, entry for January 21, 1944: Bertolt Brecht Werke: Journale 2. Vol. 27. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1995; pp. 50-1.
"Wo ich wohne": Bertolt Brecht Werke: Schriften 3. Vol. 23. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1993; pp. 48-51.
"Die amerikanische Umgangssprache": Bertolt Brecht Werke: Schriften 3. Vol. 23. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1993; pp. 44-6.
"Briefe an einen erwachsenen Amerikaner": Bertolt Brecht Werke: Schriften 3. Vol. 23. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1993; pp. 46-7.
Lesebuch für Stadtbewohner: Bertolt Brecht Werke: Gedichte 1. Vol. 11. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1988; pp. 157, 163-4, 165.
"An die Nachgeborenen": Bertolt Brecht Werke: Gedichte 2. Vol. 12. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1988; pp. 85-7.


Brecht and Lion Feuchtwanger

Bertolt Brecht and Lion Feuchtwanger met in March 1919, when Brecht was only 21 and Feuchtwanger already established as a well-respected playwright. In 1924 the two collaborated on the play Leben Eduards des Zweiten von England (Edward II in English translation); in 1925 they wrote Kalkutta, 4. Mai which was a revision of Feuchtwanger's play Warren Hastings originally written in 1915.

In 1942 when Brecht and Feuchtwanger were both living in Southern California, the two collaborated on a third play, titled "The Visions of Simone Machard" dealing with a young French girl active in the resistance. The two friends agreed that Brecht would hold the rights for the play and Feuchtwanger would retain rights for the novel that he intended to write about the main character. When Samuel Goldwyn read Feuchtwanger's novel Simone in 1944 he wanted the story for MGM. Due to both personal and global circumstances the film was never made - the actress, Theresa Wright, Goldwyn wanted to play the teen-aged protaganist became pregnant and before she could resume acting, France became liberated virtually eliminating interest in a French resistance movie. Luckily, both Feuchtwanger and Brecht were paid for the film rights, even though the film was never made. Generously, Feuchtwanger gave Brecht $20,000 of the $50,000 payment from MGM.

Simone Machard

In Brecht's journal entry for January 3, 1942, from he describes working with Lion Feuchtwanger on Simone Machard:

"work every morning with L[ion] F[euchtwanger] on the Visions of Simone Machard, the collaboration is going well and is like a holiday after the film work, although f[euchtwanger] wants to have nothing to do with technical and social aspects (epic portrayal, a-effect, characters made up of social rather than biological ingredients, class conflicts built into the story and so on), and tolerates all that merely as my personal style, after i had completed the structure of the play, with him keeping an eye on naturalistic probability (it ought to be a catering establishment, the cash value of the petrol was too little to be seriously worth fighting for etc), i wrote the scenes at home and then corrected them with him. he has a feeling for structure and appreciates linguistic refinements, is also capable of making poetic and dramaturgical suggestions, knows a lot about literature, pays attention to arguements and is pleasant to deal with, a good friend."

Bertolt Brecht Journals. Translated by Hugh Rorrison; edited by John Willett. New York: Routledge, 1993, p. 275.


Brecht and Feuchtwanger's close friendship can be seen in their correspondence. Two examples of letters from Brecht to Feuchtwanger from the Feuchtwanger Archive are included in this exhibit.

In the first letter from November 1940, Brecht expresses his relief to receive Feuchtwanger's letter and learn of his successful escape from Europe. Brecht asks Feuchtwanger for his help to procure immigration visas to enter the United States for himself, his family, and collaborator, Grete Steffin.

The second letter was written in 1955 after Brecht has returned to Europe. In this letter Brecht tells Feuchtwanger that the English Stage Society has expressed interest in producing his Galileo. Brecht asks Feuchtwanger to call Charles Laughton to learn if the actor is interested in performing in a British production of Brecht's play.

After Brecht's death on August 14, 1958, Feuchtwanger described his friendship and working relationship with Brecht on several occasions. Just two months before Feuchtwanger himself died, he was asked to by the BBC to contribute to a Brecht program in production.

Lion Feuchtwanger's Impressions
of Bertolt Brecht

The following article was written by Lion Feuchtwanger two months before his death for a BBC program produced by John Willett about Brecht. Feuchtwanger submitted his contribution on audiotape for the program which was aired on October 31, 1958.

Several of Brecht's works were written in close collaboration with me, from his early times until his latest. Brecht believed in collective effort, and working with him was one of my happiest experiences. This does not mean that it was easy to work with him. On the contrary, he demanded lots of patience. But he gave more than he asked for.

Brecht was passionately fond of debating. He especially like to debate about which method and approach would be the most fertile one for creating good literature. In the course of our intimate collaboration, I realized more and more clearly that the origin of his creations were the gestures and the word. Story, plot, continuity did not matter to him: what mattered to him, was the right situation, the right gesture, the right word.

He visualized the gesture, out from the gesture grew the word, and out of the word grew the character.

He search frantically for the right word to fit the gesture. Not only had the meaning of the word to be to the point; beyond that, its sound had to fit the situation and the character, and beyond that, the word had to be light and elegant. "Elegant" was a favorite adjective of his. Sometimes it happened that , after weeks of hard work, he concluded from our failure in finding a particular word that the whole work was a failure, and he insisted that we should tear it up, and start from scratch.

He spared not effort to find the right word. 'le mot juste,' our word, his word. Once, in Munich, while we were working on the Life of Edward the Second and, all day long, had looked in vain for a certain right word, he came running to my house in the middle of the night, whistled under my window, and shouted triumphantly: "I found it."

He was unhappy that the German language had become so cheap and threadbare in the course of the two World Wars and the Hitler time. The pre-war German language had become obsolete, the contemporary language was intolerably vulgar. Occasionally, he would lament: "When Horace expresses the most commonplace thought and the most trivial feeling, it sounds magnificent. This is because he worked with marble. We German writers of today have to work with mud." Brecht used a much coarser term.

Sometimes we quarreled bitterly about the turn of a phrase. He was totally unconcerned with the rules of grammar. When I pointed out that this or that line of his offended an elementary rule of grammar, he liked to paraphrase a famous saying: "Ego, poeta Germanicus, supra grammaticos sto." (I, a German poet, stand above the grammarians.)

Martin Luther, the greatest language creator the Germans produced, looked "into the people's mouth" and adopted their way of talking. But the language coming out of the people's mouth when Brecht started to write, did not offer anything to him. He had to create his language out of nothing. He did it. It is thanks to him that the German language today can express feelings and thoughts which it could not express when Brecht began to write.

It is obvious that the full power of Brecht's language can hardly be captured in a translation. The English translations I know are good, some of them excellent. And I am happy that they enable English audiences to appreciate the significance and the greatness of Brecht's play writing and of his poetry.

The impatient poet Brecht wrote the first poems and the first plays of the Third Millennium. It is gratifying that time gradually caught up with him, and he lived just long enough to witness it. But if today's generation can sense the scope of his significance, the full grandeur of his work will be appreciated only by those who come after us.

By Lion Feuchtwanger, written October 4, 1958.


Brecht and America

During the 1920s, like many other Europeans, he was fascinated by American pop culture that was portrayed by the media. At that time, he was an avid reader of crime novels and in his own works of the period he included elements depicting this mythical America.

Brecht arrived at the Los Angeles harbor in San Pedro on July 21, 1941. Brecht's first year in Southern California was one of depression and dislike for America as he saw it. Some of Brecht's impressions of Los Angeles, the people he met here, and his working experiences can be read and listened to (in German) as part of this exhibit.

Brecht's lack of critical and financial success must have been an important factor in his attitudes and dislike of the United States. Even during his years of exile in Scandinavia, Brecht could afford a comfortable existance. In Southern California, the sitation worsten significantly, with Brecht living from monthly checks provided by the European Film Fund.

During his years in Southern California, Brecht wrote bitterly about the commericalism of the film industry.


Brecht and Hollywood Films

During his first year living in Southern California, Brecht sketched numerous ideas for films and wrote a number of film scripts, including "Joe Fleischhacker" which Brecht wrote in collaboration with established screenwriter Ferdinand Reyher.

None of his ideas during this first year interested directors or studios in Hollywood. It wasn't until Brecht collaborated with Fritz Lang about an anti-war movie, Hangmen Also Die, did his ideas attract the attention of those influential in Hollywood. Brecht worked first the Lang and then later with the well known screen writer, John Wexley, who had written the anti-fascist film Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939). Brecht and Wexley worked tirelessly for two months on the final script. Much to Brecht's surprise and disgust, much of the best elements of the plot were removed from the film. In addition, his contributions to the plot did not appear in the film's credits. Music for the film was written by fellow exile Hanns Eisler (link). Hangmen Also Die was shot in just 52 days during November and December 1942. Hangmen was considered by critics as one of the best anti-fascist films made during the Second World War.

Bertolt Brecht's Appearance
Before the HUAC

Bertolt Brecht's testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities took place on the morning of October 30, 1947. During his testimony, which lasted for about an hour, Brecht anwered questions ranging from his affiliation with the Communist Party to the underlying political ideology of his works. Brecht managed to appear willing to answer the questions put to him by the Committee, claiming that he was a "guest" in the United States and stating truthfully at the outset that he had never been a member of the Communist Party.

Brecht's testimony was included among those of nineteen Hollywood witnesses, all of whom except Brecht who had publically joined forces in an effort to stop the Committee's witchhunt. These witnesses became known as the "Hollywood nineteen." Though Brecht has some connection to Hollywood through his screenplays and acquaintances, he was an outsider to this group of successful screenwriters, directors and producers. Brecht was was the only foreigner in this group and his main concern at the hearing was not to have his return trip to Europe delayed by the Committee.


Brecht writes a few weeks later in a letter to his friend, Hanns Eisler, about his testimony with these words: "By the way, I see from some newspaper clippings that certain journalists thought I behaved arrogantly in Washington; the truth is that I simply had to obey my six lawyers, who advised me to tell the truth and nothingelse. Not being a citizen either, I could no more refuse to testify than you could."


Bertolt Brecht Letters. Translated by Ralph Manheim and edited with commentary and notes by John Willett. New York: Routledge, 1990, p. 441.

Brecht apparently rehearsed for his appearence before the HUAC, with his friend Hermann Budzislawski asking possible questions and helping Brecht consider evasive answers to potentially sticky questions about Brecht's political views.

Brecht was greatly relieved that the Committee did not request him to stay in the country, allowing him to make his Air France flight to Europe on October 31, 1947.


Bertolt Brecht Friendship with Hanns Eisler

Brecht and composer Hanns Eisler collaborated on several plays in the 1930s (which ones). Hanns Eisler helped make possible the first New York production of Brecht's play Mother in 1935 at the New York Theatre Union. The Theatre Union presented leftists plays -- at reasonable prices -- for diverse audiences. The production of Mother by the Theatre Union under direction of Victor Wolfson greatly upset both Brecht and Eisler. The play opened in spite of their protests on November 19, 1935.

References for the Web Exhibit


Bertolt Brecht: Broadway - the hard way: Sein Exil in den USA 1941-1947. Leipzig: Edition Suhrkamp, 1994.

James K. Lyon. Bertolt Brecht in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.

Bertolt Brecht Letters. Translated by Ralph Manheim and edited with commentary and notes by John Willett. New York: Routledge, 1990.

The Oxford Companion to German Literature. Edited by Henry and Mary Garland. 3rd edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Bertolt Brecht Journals. Translated by Hugh Rorrison, edited by John Willet. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Bertolt Brecht in Amerika. Edited by James K. Lyon. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1994.



Feuchtwanger as a Manuscripts Collector

September 11 - October 27, 1995

Lion Feuchtwanger (1884-1958) was a German-Jewish writer who lived in Los Angeles from 1941 until his death in 1958. During the final three decades of his life, he wrote historical fiction which he researched using books and manuscripts from his personal library.

Feuchtwanger was a passionate collector of literary and historical materials. The current exhibit celebrates the recent opening of the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library (located on the second floor of Doheny Library) and highlights some of the treasures from his library. Both his love of collecting and his keen interest in history can be seen throughout this exhibit.

On display is just a sampling of the autograph letters and historical documents from his impressive collection. He primarily gathered manuscripts by and about writers he admired. However, he also collected correspondence from members of the nobility and documents about historical periods that fascinated him. The exhibit includes manuscripts written by Beaumarchais, Darwin, Dickens, Dumas, Flaubert, Friedrich II, Hugo, Offenbach, Philipp IV, Sand, Zola, and many others.

Charles Darwin

Charles Dickens

Warren Hastings

Sir Walter Scott




  • Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. French playwright and man of affairs (1732-1799). Remittance of money to his book-seller. Signed in his own hand.
  • Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. French playwright and man of affairs (1732-1799). Holograph letter to M. Airain, Procureur Général in Tours. Business letter concerning the purchase of wood by the Compagnie des Indes and remittance of payment. Pantin, August 25, 1768.
  • Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. Les Deux Amis, ou, Le Négociant de Lyon: Drame en Cinq Actes en Prose. Paris: La veuve Duchesne, 1770.

    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PQ1956.A65 1770

    Lion Feuchtwanger portrayed Beaumarchais in his novel about progess, Waffen für Amerika (Proud Destiny), published in 1947.

  • Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton. English novelist (1803-1873). Letter to Adelheid von Stolterfork. Letter of thanks for sending her ballads and regrets that he learned too late about the planned honor of having his ballads included. Frankfurt am Main (probably in the years 1830-40).

    Bulwer-Lytton served as a Member of Parliament in the mid 1800s and financed his extravagant lifestyle with his versatile and prolific writing.

  • Alphonse Daudet. French writer (1840-1897). Letter to the publisher of Le Monde Illustré.

  • Alphonse Daudet. Les Rois en Exile; Roman Parisien. Paris: E. Dentu, 1879.

    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PQ2216.R7 1879

    Daudet is best known today for his sentimental and humorous sketches of Provençal life; however, he was a leading figure of the Naturalist Movement. He also wrote novels, such as this one, depicting the political world.

  • Charles Dickens. English writer (1812-1870). Letter to Mrs. Benzon. March 7, 1864.
  • Charles Dickens. Pickwick Papers: the Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PR4569.A1 1874

    This book was originally published in 20 monthly installments beginning in April 1836.

  • Alexandre Dumas. French writer (1802-1870). Letter to M. Bocage discussing the details of an upcoming visit, request for cigars, and financial matters. Dec. 29, 1841.
  • Alexandre Dumas. Henri III et sa Cour; Drame Historique en Cinq Actes et en Prose. Representé sur le Théâtre français, par les Comédiens ordinaires du Roi, le 11 février 1829. Paris: Vezard, 1829.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PQ2227.H4 1829

    This historical drama written in prose by the elder Dumas was produced at the Théâtre Français. The production was a great success for Dumas as well as for the Romantic Movement.

  • Alexandre Dumas. Mémoires d'un Médecin, Joseph Balsamo. Paris: Boulanger et Legrand, 1863-64.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PQ2227.M5 1864

    Dumas wrote many historical novels, this being one of his most famous. Mémoires d'un Médecin, depicts a picture of court life and intrigues in the years between Marie-Antoinette's arrival in France and the death of Louis XV. The main character, Joseph Balsamo (known as Cagliostro), was a clever charlatan who acquired a reputation in France as a wonder-worker.

  • Lion Feuchtwanger. German writer (1884-1958). Lion Feuchtwanger's manuscript of Jud Süss was finished in 1922 but not published until 1925. This historical novel explores the life and era of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer (1692-1738), who served as minister of finance for Duke Karl Alexander of Württemberg. Oppenheimer became a victim of anti-Semitism and was executed after refusing to renounce his Jewish heritage and become a Christian.

  • Lion Feuchtwanger. Jud Süss. Munich: Drei Masken Verlag, 1925.

    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PT2611.E85J7 1925

    Lion Feuchtwanger's manuscript of Jud Süss was finished in 1922 but not published until 1925. This historical novel explores the life and era of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer (1692-1738), who served as minister of finance for Duke Karl Alexander of Württemberg. Oppenheimer became a victim of anti-Semitism and was executed after refusing to renounce his Jewish heritage and become a Christian.

    Within three months Jud Süss became a bestseller and was eventually translated into fifteen languages. This novel rocketed Feuchtwanger onto the international literary scene.

  • Leben, Ubelthaten und gerechtes Urtheil des berichtigten Erzschelmen und Diebs Juden Süss Oppenheimers, darinnen sein böser Lebens-Wandel, Schelmen und Diebs Stücke, und wie er endlich seinen wohl-verdienten Lohn durch des Henckers Hand empfangen, ausführlich erzehlet werden von einem aufrightigem Spiele-Wercks-Mann, 1738.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    DS135.G5S84 1738

    This account of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer was published in 1738, the year of his execution.

  • Lion Feuchtwanger. This photograph of Lion Feuchtwanger was taken by Florence Homolka.

  • Gustave Flaubert. French writer (1821-1880). Fragment of a sketch for a ballet.

    Gustave Flaubert was a famous French novelist (author of Madame Bovary) who studied law before turning to literature. He lived a secluded, hermit-like life, focusing most of his energy on his work. Because of his high standards, his writing progressed slowly. He took great pains researching his novels and aimed to create an objective and impersonal work of art. His correspondence with his friends and colleagues describes how much effort this took, as he would spend uncounted hours rewriting and agonizing over his prose.

  • Anatole France. French author (1844-1924). Letter to the publisher of a journal. Complains that the reviewer of his poetic drama Les Noces corinthiennes was uneducated.

    Anatole France. French author (1844-1924). Manuscript on the first page is a retrospective view of the war and the history of France; on the second, a draft of a short story, circa 1919.

    John Galsworthy.
    English author (1867-1933). Letter of six lines wishing addressee and group of Austrians happiness. Hampstead, London, December 6, 1929.

    Galsworthy is best known for his series of novels about the Forsyte family. The first of the stories, Man of Devon, was published in 1901. He received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1932.

  • Stephanie Félicité Genlis, comtesse de. French writer (1746-1830). Letter to the Empress regarding their Thursday appointment and Genlis' need to cancel her conflicting appointment with the diplomat Tallyrand (1754-1838). Paris.

    Mme de Genlis was one of the great ladies of the 18th century. She served as a lady-in-waiting to the Duchesse de Chartres and later become a governess to her children. After her husband was beheaded in 1793, she emigrated and earned her living in England and Switzerland by writing. She wrote countless popular romances which combined morals and history.

  • Stephanie Félicité Genlis, comtesse de. La Duchesse de La Vallière. London: M. Peltier, 1804.

    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PQ1985.G5A673 1804

  • Franz Grillparzer. Austrian poet (1791-1872). Poem for a friend: "Zwei Blüthen" ("Two Blossoms"), 1853.

    Franz Grillparzer wrote poetry, plays, novellas, and historical fiction. Lion Feuchtwanger greatly admired Grillparzer's writing and acquired an impressive collection of his works. Grillparzer's five-act tragedy, Die Jüdin von Toledo, based on an earlier work by Lope de Vega, was the inspiration for Feuchtwanger's novel with the same title.

  • Victor Hugo. French author (1802-1885). Letter to the critic Nefftzer about his favorable but brief review of his novel Les Miserables in Le Temps. Hugo asks him to write a full review of his novel as it has been ignored by the French press. Hauteville, July 1, 1862.

  • Victor Hugo. Le Roi s'amuse: Drame. Paris: E. Renduel, 1832. Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PQ2289.R7 1832

    Victor Hugo is considered the greatest poet of 19th century France. He played a central role in the Romantic Movement, writing numerous novels and dramas. Le Roi s'amuse is a poetic drama which Verdi adapted in 1851 for his opera Rigoletto.

  • Anna Luise Karschin. German poet (1722-1791). Poem to the Councilor of the Consistory Büsching. May 4, 1785.

  • Anna Luise Karschin. Gedichte. Edited by her daughter C.L. v. Kl: née Karschin. Berlin: gedruckt mit Dichterischen Schrifften, 1792.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PT2372.K75A9 1792

    Anna Luise Karschin had little formal education but was a voracious reader. She was helped in her writing career by many respected German authors, including J.W.L. Gleim and G.E. Lessing, who recognized her talent.

  • Charles Perrault. French writer (1628-1703). Letter explaining that a financial document of a certain Collin was good, yet not signed. Paris, January 28, 1674.

  • Andrew Lang. Perrault's Popular Tales. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888. Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PQ1877.A7 1888

    Perrault's collection of fairy tales was originally published in 1697 and became known throughout Europe. In this work, Lang discusses Perrault's tales.

  • George Sand. French writer; pseudonym of Lucile-Aurore Dupin, baronne Dudevant (1804-1876). Letter concerning corrections of a book. Thanks the recipient for his accuracy. March 30, 1852.

  • George Sand. French writer; pseudonym of Lucile-Aurore Dupin, baronne Dudevant (1804-1876). Letter to a M. Perrotin. Is very busy with renting a house. Asks for his visit. (Saturday) 1850.

  • George Sand. Consuelo. New ed. Paris: Michel Levy, 1856.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PQ2400.A1 1856

    Consuelo is a novel about 18th century musical life with a young gypsy singer named Consuelo as the heroine. Her innocence and talent bring her through many adventures in the novel without harm.

    George Sand lived a highly unusual and independent life for a woman of the 19th century. She wore trousers and earned her living as a writer. During her prolific career, she penned numerous novels, essays, and dramatic works.

  • August Wilhelm von Schlegel. German literary critic and linguist (1767-1845). Letter to a "beautiful friend" named Charlotte. Full of literary gallantries. Signed "Your devoted A.W. von Schlegel." Bonn, October 31, 1842.
  • August Wilhelm von Schlegel. German literary critic and linguist (1767-1845). Engraving.
  • August Wilhelm von Schlegel. De geographia homerica commentatio, quae in concertatione civium Academiae Georgiae Augustae IV Junii M D CC XXXVII ab illustri philosophorum ordine proxime ad praemium accessisse pronuntiata est. Hannover: I.W. Schmidium, 1788.

    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PA4037.A2S35 1788

  • Johanna Schopenhauer. German writer and mother of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1766-1838) Letter to Mr. Winder asking him to accept an I.O.U. with her signature. It would be unlikely for her to die by Christmas, and if she were to, her daughter would certainly respect her mother's signature. Weimar, July 31, 1822.

  • Johanna Schopenhauer. Die Reise nach Italien; Novelle. Frankfurt am Main: J.D. Sauerlander, 1836.

    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library

  • Sir Walter Scott. Scottish poet and novelist (1771-1832). Letter to a politician concerning the date of an upcoming celebration.
  • Sir Walter Scott. The Lady of the Lake, a Poem. Edinburgh: Printed for John Ballantyne, 1810.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PR5308b.A1 1810

    Sir Walter Scott established the form of the historical novel. His work was highly influential to many 19th century writers and greatly admired by Lion Feuchtwanger.

  • Johann Heinrich Voß. German poet and translator of the classics (1751-1826). Letter to a lady, about the translation of Byron which he had agreed to undertake in order to please Goethe. Heidelberg, February 18, 1822.
  • Johann Heinrich Voß. Luise; ein landliches Gedicht in drei Idyllen. 3rd. ed. Königsberg: F. Nicolovius, 1800.

    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PT2549.V2L6 1800

    Voss was the editor of the Göttinger Musenalmanach and translator of Homer's Odyssey into German hexameter. Voss's substantial poem, Luise, is his best known work in idyll form.

  • Oscar Wilde. English writer (1854-1900). Pen sketch of Wilde by Kornman, ca. 1880.

  • Oscar Wilde. A Woman of No Importance. Paris: L. Smithers, 1903.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PR5820.W5 1903

    Wilde is best known for his shrewd social observation in his plays, such as A Woman of No Importance and The Importance of Being Earnest. His Salomé was performed in Paris in 1896 by Sarah Bernhardt.

  • Émile Zola. French author (1840-1902). Letter to M. Vaughan, wants to meet him at the "Aurore," will bring latest article on the affair "..." Dec. 20, 1900.
    Zola wrote realistic novels and developed his own theory about the `naturalistic' novel. His descriptions of vice and misery are powerful, sometimes to the point of being lurid and horrifying.

Royalty and Politics

  • Louis Bonaparte, King of Netherlands (brother of Napoleon I) (1778-1846). Document for the State Councilor Moreau St. Méry. Sends him a medal on the occasion of the laying of the corner stone for the Colonne Nationale (Colonne Vendôme). Paris, July 17, 1800.
  • Friedrich II (Frederick the Great), King of Prussia (1712-1786). Letter to his brother Heinrich, Prince of Prussia (1726-1802). Speaks with resignation about his advanced age, about some great writers whom he knows by their reputation. Discusses how people, without regard to their intellect, allow themselves to be carried away by their passions. 1784.

    Prince Heinrich shared his brother Friedrich the Great's admiration for French culture and the philosophy of the Enlightenment. The brothers has a strained relationship and they often differed in matters of politics. He tutored Friedrich II's heir, Friedrich Wilhelm II.

  • Friedrich Wilhelm II (1744-1797), King of Prussia. Letter to Voltaire (1694-1778) expressing his admiration for him. Congratulates him on his newest work, which includes attacks on Holbach's System of Nature. He derives comfort from the thought that Voltaire seems to believe in immortality. Potsdam, Nov. 12, 1770.

    Friedrich Wilhelm assumed the throne in 1786. He was notorious for his mistresses, the most famous being Wilhelmine Ritz, who was created Gräfin Lichtenau in 1796.

  • Warren Hastings. English head of state (1732-1818). Letter to Mr. Wilkins, to whom he humorously suggests when presenting him with a silver tea kettle to use the old copper kettle for anything else but for water at breakfast. Benares, 1784.

    Warren Hastings was the first governor-general of British India. He left India in 1785 and was imprisoned on grounds of cruelty and corruption in his administration. He was acquitted after a trial of 145 days, which lasted from 1788 to 1795. Lion Feuchtwanger wrote a play in 1916 based on Hastings.

  • The History of the trial of Warren Hastings, Esq. : late Governor-General of Bengal, before the High Court of Parliament in Westminster-Hall, on an impeachment by the Commons of Great-Britain, for high crimes and misdemeanours : containing the whole of the proceedings and debates in both Houses of Parliament, relating to that celebrated prosecution, from Feb. 7, 1786, until his acquittal, April 23, 1795 : to which is added, an account of the proceedings of various general courts of the Honourable United East-India Company, held in consequence of his acquittal. London: Printed for J. Debrett, and Vernor and Hood, 1796.

    Special Collections
    DS473.3.H28 1796

  • Lion Feuchtwanger. Warren Hastings, Gouverneur von Indien; Schauspiel in vier Akten und einem Vorspiel. München: G. Muller, 1916.

    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    PT2611.E85W4 1916

  • Henry IV, Henri de Bourbon, King of Navarre (1553-1610). Letter, with signature, to Privy Counsel Courandry (advisor to the King). He wishes to be informed whether the Parliament now had finally ratified his Edicts of Nantes. Wishes to have his will executed without delay. Fontainebleau, July 2, 1609.

    Henry IV, a man of great intelligence and an excellent ruler, ascended to the throne in 1589. During his reign the Edict of Nantes was issued in 1598 which granted tolerance to the Protestants. He was aided by his minister Sully but never fulfilled his vision to create a federation of Europe. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac.

  • Locarno Conference. Autographed printed menu of a "Déjeuner de la Presse organisé par L'Association Internationale des Journalistes ... Menu." With eight original signatures of the attending ministers at the founding of the League of Nations (Locarno-Conference) on verso, including: Aristide Briand, French statesman (1862-1932); Vittorio Scialoja, Italian statesman (1856-1933); Gustav Stresemann, German statesman (1878-1929); Arthur Neville Chamberlain, British statesman (1869-1940); Eduard Benesch, German statesman (1884-1948); Count A. Skrzynski, Polish statesman (1882-1931). October 15, 1925.

    The League of Nations held the Locarno Conference from October 5-16, 1925 in Italy resulting in a group of treaties among Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Poland which helped to create a sense of security among the European powers.

  • Louis XVI, King of France (1754-1793). Order to pay into the till of the Queen 244 000 golden Louis. Handwritten signature, countersigned by the financial administrator. Versailles, August 30, 1789.

    Louis XVI married Marie-Antoinette in 1770 and in 1774 succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV, as King of France. He was deprived his powers as ruler in August 1792 by the Assemblée législative and was beheaded in January 1793. Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793) encouraged him to resist the Revolution and was herself condemned to death in October 1793. Marie-Antoinette was depicted by Lion Feuchtwanger in his novel Waffen für Amerika.

  • Louis XVIII, Louis-Stanislas-Xavier, King of France (1755-1824). Certificate for an officer concerning his loyalty to the monarchy, with handwritten signature and royal seal. Turin, April 30, 1794.

    Louis XVIII fled Paris in 1791 after the outbreak of the French Revolution. He settled in Coblenz, Germany, and from there commanded the Royalist army "armée des émigrés" until it disbanded in 1801. He continued to instigate Royalist conspiracies against Napoleon. After Napoleon's abdication in 1814, Louis XVIII was named King of France, until Napoleon's return in March 1815. He was restored once more to the throne in June 1815 after Waterloo.

  • Ludwig I, King of Bavaria (1786-1868). Letter to the King of Württemberg (signed in his own handwriting), whom he informs of the birth of a nephew, Munich, June 24, 1831.
  • Ludwig I, King of Bavaria (1786-1868). Ten letters to a "Beloved Caroline." Letters, very friendly with regards to contents, mostly from holiday resorts. From the period of February 5, 1841 to September 28, 1843.

    Ludwig I succeeded his father, Maximilian I, to the throne in 1825. He was a great supporter of the arts and played a vital role in the development of Munich as a center of culture. His indiscreet affair with the dancer Lola Montez in 1846 led to his abdication two years later in 1848. The affair between Ludwig I and Lola Montez likely influenced Franz Grillparzer's tragedy Die Jüdin von Toledo published in 1851. A little more than a century later, Lion Feuchtwanger revisited this theme in his novel Die Jüdin von Toledo (1955).

  • James Monroe. 5th President of the United States (1758-1831). An official apology to the Marin Commission of the French Republic for infringements on the part of American captains, promises to make reparations. Paris, January 7, 1795.

  • Napoleon III. Charles-Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, nephew of Napoleon I (1808-1873). Letter to the secretary of the Institute Monglave. Thanks him for having been member of the Institute. If Emperor Napoleon received this title joyfully, how much more proud must have been his nephew. Arenenberg, July 17, 1835.

  • Napoleon III. Charles-Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, nephew of Napoleon I (1808-1873). Letter to the Editor of the London Times. He declines the responsibility for the Paris revolt and explains that, if he were the heart and soul of a conspiracy, he would share the danger with the others. London, Carlton House Terrace, May 17, 1839.

    Napoleon III made two unsuccessful attempts to overthrow Louis-Philippe in 1836 and 1846. In 1848 he was elected to the Assemblée constituante and gained more power in 1851 with a coup d'état. He re-established the Empire and was proclaimed Emperor in late 1852.

  • Philipp IV, King of Spain (1605-1665). Long letter to the Constable de Castilla Duque de Frias, Governor of Milan. Calls upon him to look after the welfare of an Alessandria and Torona, which had been affected to an extraordinary degree by the war. Signed "Yo el Rey," Toledo, November 5, 1639 (?). With seal and envelope.
  • Philipp IV, King of Spain (1605-1665). Expert opinion of the Royal Privy Councillor Arbona on litigations concerning the water supply of Tortona. Fourteen-page-long document. Milan, October 5, 1660.

  • Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany (1859-1941). Patent for the Legislation-Councillor Johann Hermann von Rath Sassnitz, on board the yacht "Hohenzollern," July 28, 1895.

Theater & Art

  • Sarah Bernhardt. French actress (1845-1923). Letter, 1883.
  • Sarah Bernhardt. French actress (1845-1923). Playbill from the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt.

    Sarah Bernhardt was one of the most famous actresses of all times. She began training for the stage at 13 and continued acting until her death. At the height of her career, she was her own manager and eventually had her own theater-Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt.

  • Sarah Bernhardt. Dans les nuages; impressions d'une chaise; récit recueilli par Sarah-Bernhardt; illustré par Georges Clairin. Paris: G. Charpentier, 1878.

    Special Collections
    Oversize, TL620.B4A3 1878

  • Emil Devrient. German actor. (1798-1871). Letter, May 8, 1865.
  • Emil Devrient. German actor. (1798-1871). Photographs, 1848.

  • Eleonora Duse. Italian actress (1859-1924). Letter to a colleague. Explains to him she could accept him into her company only as an actor, but never as a director. Refers to a personal, not written, discussion. Messina, June 24, 1887. With a personally signed photograph.

  • Sarah Siddons (née Kemble). English tragic actress (1755-1831). Actress at Drury Lane, Covent Gardens, London. Regrets that she is ill and not "up to the business of the night." Signed in full with engraved portrait.

  • Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein. German painter (1751-1829). Text with three sketches of a ram's skull and horns at the bottom of the sheet.
    Tischbein is best known for his two portraits of Goethe which date from the late 1780s. In addition to his portraits, he also painted historical pictures, landscapes, and sketches such as these.


  • Giacomo Meyerbeer. German composer (1791-1864). Letter to Gutzkow. Would like to introduce him to Alexander von Humboldt and the Minister of Education Johannes Schulze. Talks about the Cholera in Berlin. Baden-Baden, August 7, 1837.
  • Giacomo Meyerbeer. German composer (1791-1864). Letter written in his own hand to an unknown person. Returns music and urgently requests the return of the piano score of the Hugenotten (Les Huguenots). Paris, Jan. 21, 1837 (to M. Mangoldt).

  • Jacques Offenbach. French opera composer (1819-1880). Letter to a critic, who had to review one of his very latest operettas, La Fille du Tambour Major. Asks him to be lenient with a very young composer who had just written his one hundredth score, but, on the other hand, not to praise him too highly, or he would write his one hundred first. Paris, about 1879.

  • Jacques Offenbach. French opera composer (1819-1880). Letter to a friend. Suggests they meet in a coffee house. Paris, no date.
  • Jacques Offenbach. French opera composer (1819-1880). Photograph on postcard.

    Offenbach, who was born in Germany, came to Paris to study at the Conservatoire and later adopted French nationality. His gay and melodious works were highly successful during his lifetime. He led the orchestra of the Comédie-Française in the 1850s, later producing his own operettas in the Bouffes Parisiens.

  • Richard Strauss. German composer (1864-1949). Autographed postcard to the music reviewer Paul Zschorlich. Tells him that the program for "Heldenleben" was finished before the composition. Regrets that the addressee had to endure the immature prattle of Dr. Urban. Charlottenburg, February 21, 1902.

    Richard Strauss had a distinguished career as a conductor in Munich, Weimar, Berlin and Vienna; however, he lost his appointment as president of the Reichsmusikkammer in 1935 when he protested the racial policies of National Socialism. Strauss was also a successful composer. He wrote orchestral music, and created his own form which he called Tondichtungen-illustrative orchestral works. He wrote several operas in collaboration with poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal as well as an opera based on Oscar Wilde's Salome.

  • Cosima Wagner (1837-1930). Letter in which she makes it clear that her husband, Richard Wagner (1813-1883), no longer gives autographs. Bayreuth, September 10, 1876.

  • Richard Wagner. Oper und Drama. Leipzig: J.J. Weber, 1852.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library

    Richard Wagner (1813-1883), the famous German composer and conductor, married his second wife, Cosima in 1870. She was the daughter of pianist and composer Franz Liszt. Wagner is best known for his dramatic operas, the best known being Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle which includes Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Wagner developed his theory of opera as a Gesamtkunstwerk (a work of art to which many arts contribute) which he described in three books, the last one being Oper und Drama.


  • Antoine-Nicolas Condorcet, Marquis de. French philosopher and mathematician (1743-1794). Letter to Ancillon concerning the publication of his theory of probability. Paris, January 29, 1787.
  • Condorcet was perpetual secretary of the Académie des Sciences and later a member of the Académie française. He was a friend of Voltaire and an ardent supporter of the French Revolution. Facing execution by guillotine for his membership in the Girondin party, he committed suicide in 1794.

  • Charles Darwin. British naturalist (1809-1882). Postcard to Dr. Otto Zacharias. Beckenham, 1878.
  • Charles Darwin. British naturalist (1809-1882). Letter to Karl Scherzer, Austrian Consul General in London. Darwin is pleased with zoologist Ernst Haeckel's success in Vienna. In regard to Darwin's opponent Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) he writes: "evolution is too firmly established for any one man to shake it." (Down, Beckenham, Kent), April 1, 1878.

  • Charles Darwin. British naturalist (1809-1882). Photograph and postcard with his portrait.

  • Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. London: J. Murray, 1871.
    Feuchtwanger Memorial Library
    QH365.D2 1871b

  • Ernst Haeckel. German zoologist (1834-1919). Letter to Prof. Emilio Euratolo re Darwin and Virchow, Dec. 17, 1906.
  • Ernst Haeckel. German zoologist (1834-1919). Photograph and illustrated postcard.

  • Heinrich Schliemann. German archeologist (1822-1890). Letter to Mr. Ouvry, whom he thanks for congratulating him on the birth of little Agamemnon. London, April 7, 1878.
  • Heinrich Schliemann. German archeologist (1822-1890). Letter to Prof. Pyrne. Thanks him for his New Year's wishes. Was overworked and had a vacation on St. Thomas, San Domingo and Cuba. Athens, April 4, 1886.

  • Horatius Accorombonus. Doctoral diploma, University of Bologna, for Horatius Accorombonus von Gubbio. Confirmed by Camillus Gypsius, Notary and Vice Chancellor, December 3, 1630.

Exhibit by Marje Schuetze-Coburn

Kurt Weill - Lion Feuchtwanger: Collaborations and Connections

Kurt Weill - Lion Feuchtwanger: Collaborations and Connections

This mini exhibition celebrates Kurt Weill's centennial by exploring just a small segment Weill's vast musical contributions-the collaboration between this significant German composer and the playwright, Lion Feuchtwanger. Weill's popular and provocative music influenced musical theater and cabaret music both in Germany and later in the United States where he emigrated in 1935.

This exhibit was created in March 2000 by Marje Schuetze-Coburn, Feuchtwanger Librarian, at the University of Southern California.

Kurt Weill's photograph is courtesy the Associated Press Wirephoto.


Kurt Weill and Lion Feuchtwanger

Kurt Weill and Lion Feuchtwanger both lived in Berlin during the 1920s, experiencing together the rich cultural scene of Weimar Germany. Although they shared some of the same friends-including Bertolt Brecht-they apparently did not socialize. However, they collaborated on two plays during this time, including Feuchtwanger's play "Die Petroleuminseln" ("The Oil Islands").Weill composed the song "Das Lied von den braunen Inseln" ("Song of the Brown Islands")in 1927 for this play.

In 1928 Weill collaborated together with Brecht and Feuchtwanger on their play "Das Leben Eduards des Zweiten von England." Weill wrote the incidental music for this adaption of Christopher Marlowe's "Edward the Second." Unfortunately, only a fragment of the original music survives. The play premiered in Leipzig in March 1928.

Kurt Weill and Lion Feuchtwanger had little contact while both lived in the United States. Weill settled in New York with its vibrant theater world, while Feuchtwanger crossed the continent to live in the warmth and sunshine of Southern California. When Weill travelled in the 1940s to Hollywood to work on film scores, he occasionally met his friend Bertolt Brecht, who lived in neighboring Santa Monica. However, there is no mention of similar meetings with Lion Feuchtwanger during these visits.


"Die Petroleuminseln" ("The Oil Islands")

A Play by Lion Feuchtwanger
with Music by Kurt Weill

Although Lion Feuchtwanger completed "Die Petroleuminseln" ("The Oil Islands") in 1923, four years passed before the play was performed. In 1927 "Die Petroleuminseln" premiered at the Hamburger Schauplatz (Hamburg Theatre), followed with a production at the Berlin Staatliches Schauspielhaus (Berlin State Theatre) in 1928. Kurt Weill's wife Lotte Lenya played the character Charmian Peruchacha in the Berlin production, with Maria Koppenhöfer (shown in newspaper review) in the role of the Deborah Gray.

The play begins with the passengers of the ship "Peruchacha" listening to the Weill's tune "The Song of the Brown Islands" on the gramophone. Feuchtwanger then moves the setting to an oil drilling island just south of the United States. "Die Petroleuminseln" is a psychological play that focuses on the dilemnas of the protagonist, Deborah Gray. Although Gray is President of the oil company controlling the island, she is hideously ugly. Feuchtwanger harkends back with this play to his novella Die hässliche Herzogin.

This stage still dates from the 1951 production of "Die Petroleuminseln."


"Das Lied von den braunen Inseln"
("Song of the Brown Islands")
Text by Lion Feuchtwanger
Music by Kurt Weill

This song, composed by Kurt Weill for Feuchtwanger's "Die Petroleuminseln" ("The Oil Islands"), was sung by Lotte Lenya (below) in the first production of the play at the Berlin Staatliches Schauspielhaus (Berlin State Theatre) in 1928.

 Das ist von den braunen Inseln das Lied,
Die Männer sind schlecht und die Weiber sind krank.
Und eine Äffin macht dort den Betrieb
Und die Felder verdorren im Öl-gestank.

Gehst hin, Freddy? Ich nicht, Teddy,
Der Dollar allein macht das Herz nicht froh.
Gehst hin, Freddy? Ich nicht, Teddy,
Ich wenn Affen sehen will, ich geh in Zoo.

Das sind die braunen Inseln, mein Jung,
Die Weiber sind krank und the Männer sind schlecht.
Eine Äffin hält dort das Ganze in Schwung.
Und wer kommt ist gesund, und wer geht is geschächt.

Gehst hin, Freddy? Ich nicht, Teddy,
Der Dollar allein macht das Herz nicht froh.
Gehst hin, Freddy? Ich nicht, Teddy,
Ich wenn Affen sehen will, ich geh in Zoo.

Wer kommt ist gesund und wer geht ist geschächt.
Die Äffin regiert in Bett und Fabrik.
Die Äffin hat Geld und die Äffin hat Recht.


Kurt Weill's
"Die Dreigroschenoper"
("The Threepenny Opera")

Undoubtedly, "Die Dreigroschenoper" ("The Threepenny Opera") remains one of Kurt Weill's most famous works. This remarkable musical play was the collaboration between two brilliant artists of Weimar Germany-Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. "The Threepenny Opera" was created during the same time that Lion Feuchtwanger and Weill worked together.


Kurt Weill's Years in Exile

Kurt Weill left Germany shortly after the National Socialists came to power. Weill's work was condemned by the Nazis who tried to cancel the February 1933 opening of "Der Silbersee," a collaboration between the playwright Georg Kaiser and Kurt Weill. Although the play received praise from theater critics, the Nazi papers lambasted the production and exerted pressure to close the play early. Following the torching of the German Reichstag, Weill's musical career came to an abrupt end in Germany.

Realizing the full impact of the National Socialists on his hopes as a composer, Kurt Weill and his wife, Lotte Lenya, left Berlin for Paris in March 1933. In France, Weill was welcomed as a respected composer of great reknown. His two years in France were productive and busy, concluding with his impressive collaboration with the writer Franz Werfel on "Der Weg der Verheißung" ("The Eternal Road").

With plans for "The Eternal Road" to premiere in New York, Weill and Lenya crossed the Atlantic, arriving in Manhattan in September 1935. However, financial difficulties delayed the production until January 1937. Unlike Weill's arrival in Paris two years earlier, he came to the United States virtually unknown. The American productions of his music (including the "Threepenny Opera") were misunderstood and poorly staged.

Although Weill and Lenya settled in New York, Weill travelled several times to Southern California to work with the film studios. The following is a listing of his visits to Los Angeles: January - July 1937; March - May 1938 (to compose the music for Fritz Lang's "You and Me"); summer 1939 (where Weill worked with Maxwell Anderson in Malibu on "Ulysses Africanus" which was never completed); in Oct. 1942 Weill visited with Brecht; June 1943 (during the filming of "Lady in the Dark" and "Knickerbocker Holiday"); Nov. 1943-May 1944 (composed the musical film "Where Do We Go from Here? directed by Gregory Ratoff), worked with Ira Gerschwin for 20th Century Fox's "anti-Nazi production", and composed music for Jean Renoir's anti-Nazi documentary film "Salute to France"; April-June 45 (for the filming of "One Touch of Venus" ).

Weill and Lenya become American citizens in August 1943.

Kurt Weill turned fifty on March 2, 1950, suffered a heart attack on March 17, and died on April 3, 1950 in the hospital. He was buried in the Mount Repose Cemetary in Haverstraw, New York.

Kurt Weill collaborated with Ben Hecht in 1943 on the pageant play "We Will Never Die." The play, a condemnation of Nazi terror in Germany, premiered in March 1943 in New York's Madison Square Garden. The performance was so successful that traveled to other US cities, including Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The May 1943 performance at the Hollywood Bowl attracted more than twenty-thousand. This photograph from the Examiner Reference Library shows Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill while working on the "The Battle of Warsaw" Kurt Weill noted composer now in Hollywood, shows Ira Gershwin, famous lyricist, new musical score he has written for a new sequence to be included in the mammoth memorial pageant, "We Will Never Die," which will be given for one performance at the Hollywood Bowl on Wed. Eve. July 21. This new dramatic episode shows how the Jews fought off the Nazi hordes in the recent Battle of Warsaw. Examiner Reference Library July 4, 1945.

These websites provide additional information about Kurt Weill and his extensive career:


These biographical sources provided invaluable assistance for the development of this web exhibition:

  • Douglas Jarman. Kurt Weill: An Illustrated Biography. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982.
  • Ronard Sanders. The Days Grow Short: The Life and Music of Kurt Weill.Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, 1991.
  • Jürgen Schebera (translated by Caroline Murphy). Kurt Weill: an Illustrated Life.New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
  • Wilhelm von Sternburg. Lion Feuchtwanger: ein deutsches Schriftstellerleben.Berlin: Aufbau, 1994.


Unless otherwise indicated, the photographs and materials illustrating this web exhibition are part of the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library at the University of Southern California.

Exhibition curated by Marje Schuetze-Coburn