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Regerstrasse 8, Lion Feuchtwanger’s former home in Berlin, now has a new and more visible commemorative plaque mounted on the front wall of the house (the existing plaque on the pavement has been left in place), writes Marta Feuchtwanger biographer Manfred Flügge.

Regerstrasse 8 front

Photo credits: Manfred Flügge

The Nazis’ expropriation of the house prompted Lion Feuchtwanger to write his well-known sarcastic public letter (1935) to the subsequent occupants (under National Socialism the street name was changed from Mahlerstrasse to Regerstrasse, as Mahler was Jewish).

A reading of Lion Feuchtwanger’s public letter was given at the the 2015 Hay-on-Wye (UK) Literary Festival as part of Letters Live, an event held to celebrate the art of letter-writing. The reading was performed by actor Jude Law. Letters Live was also performed by Jude Law at a refugee camp in Calais on February 21st 2016, to contribute to ongoing public debate on migration.

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Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky’s film Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War, with Tom Hanks as the voice of Waitstill Sharp, was previewed at the White House as part of the ongoing refugee debate and at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in September 2016, and broadcast on PBS on September 20th 2016. 7 minutes of the film cover the rescue of Lion and Marta Feuchtwanger in 1940.

Further reading:

  • full account of the role played by the Sharps, and their status as Righteous among the Nations, at the Yad Vashem website
  • Marta Feuchtwanger’s own account of how she and Lion made their escape from Vichy France with the help of the Sharps and the Emergency Rescue Committee
  • Manfred Flügge’s Fry, Bingham, Sharp: The Americans Who Saved Lion and Marta Feuchtwanger, published by Villa Aurora and reviewed in the International Feuchtwanger Society Newsletter (Volume 21/2016, page 63).

IW

In a talk given at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (University of London) in December 2015, International Feuchtwanger Society President Professor Ian Wallace returned to the subject of Lion Feuchtwanger’s British dimension, in particular the Edwin and Willa Muir translation of Jud Süss.

When the acclaimed translation appeared in 1926, it enjoyed extraordinary critical and commercial success and had a lasting impact on Lion Feuchtwanger’s international reputation. Three factors played a noteworthy part in the success: a seminal review by the eminent British novelist Arnold Bennett, the business acumen of the British publisher Martin Secker, and above all the much-praised skill of his Scottish translators.

Professor Wallace also pointed out the continuing need, almost a century after it was first published, both for an authoritative critical edition of the novel and also for a comparative study of the many translations which have subsequently appeared in a wide variety of languages.

My autographed copy of the Secker (1926) edition of Jew Süss

Professor Reinhard Wittmann, joint curator (with Dr. Vera Bachmann) of the 2014/15 exhibition on Lion Feuchtwanger’s novel Erfolg at Literaturhaus Munich, gave the following radio interview on Deutschlandfunk to coincide with the opening of the exhibition.

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In the radio interview, Professor Wittmann explained the main purpose of the exhibition, namely to place the novel in its social-historical context and to draw attention to the circumstances in Bavaria in the late 1920s when Lion Feuchtwanger was writing the novel, including the politicization of the judicial system and anti-progressive attitudes in many parts of society.


Inhabit the Word: Celebrating 80 Years of PEN, a conference sponsored by Villa Aurora with a reception hosted by the Consul General of Switzerland Jean-François Lichtenstern, was held on June 28th-29th 2014 at the Goethe Institute Los Angeles. PEN Zentrum deutschspachiger Autoren was founded in 1934 by a group of exiled writers including Lion Feuchtwanger, in protest against the events unfolding in Germany.der-deutsche-pen-club-im-exil-en

reiter

Süddeutsche Zeitung has pointed out that the favourite book of the SPD mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter is Erfolg (also reported in Abendzeitung München):

“Es ist schon etwas abgegriffen, auch ein paar kleine Eselsohren findet man: Reiters Lieblingsbuch ist der Schlüsselroman “Erfolg” von Lion Feuchtwanger, der als einer der ersten die Gefahren durch Hitler und die NSDAP erkannt hat. Dem Buch sieht man deutlich an, dass Reiter es oft in der Hand hat. Es begleitet ihn seit Jahrzehnten. Damit es nicht irgendwann auseinanderfällt, hat Reiter sich inzwischen eine Taschenbuchversion gekauft, um sein Original-Lieblingsbuch zu schonen.”

im roten eis

 

Emotive account of the tortuous fate of the Wolfs, including how Lion Feuchtwanger attempted to intervene with the Soviet authorities on their behalf, and his continued correspondence with Sonja right up until his death in 1958.

» Detailreich erzählte Autobiografie, (…) die Einblick in den unerbittlichen Mechanismus des Stalinismus gewährt. «
Der Spiegel

Images from the International Feuchtwanger Society Conference 2013 in Berlin:

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 Edgar speaking at the Rotes Rathaus, recalling with mixed feelings his 1937 visit to the city

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IFS members Frank Stern, myself, and Jörg Thunecke: panel addressing the impact of various Lion Feuchtwanger works (in translation) in the US

Conference proceedings:

–> (from the jacket) Dieser Band vereint Forschungsbeiträge der 6. Konferenz der Internationalen Feuchtwanger Gesellschaft, die im Herbst 2013 zum Thema Lion Feuchtwangers Berliner Jahre 1925 bis 1933, seine Leser im Exil, in Deutschland und weltweit nach 1945 im Jüdischen Museum Berlin veranstaltet wurde. Die Konferenz hatte zum Ziel, die Bedeutung des Berliner Zwischenspiels im Leben Feuchtwangers im literarischen und soziopolitischen Kontext herauszuarbeiten, sowie eine Bestandsaufnahme der Rezeption seiner Werke im In- und Ausland zu erstellen. 

Neben Beiträgen zu den Romanen Jud SüßDie Geschwister OppermannDer Jüdische KriegGoya und Waffen für Amerika, zu den PEP-Gedichten und zu seiner Theaterarbeit beleuchtet dieser Band das intellektuelle Umfeld des Autors durch Aufsätze zu seinen Berliner Zeitgenossen Bertolt Brecht, Erich Kästner, Dorothy Thompson, Billy Wilder und Carl Zuckmayer. Vier der Aufsätze in diesem Band widmen sich weiteren Mitgliedern seiner Familie. 

Dem literarischen Erbe des Autors wird durch Beiträge zu seinem amerikanischen Verleger Ben Huebsch, zur heiklen Problematik der Übersetzungen seiner Werke sowie zur Frage seiner Einführung in den Bildungsbereich Rechnung getragen. Zwei Beiträge widmen sich dem damals wie heute kontrovers rezipierten sowjetischen Reisebericht Moskau 1937.

Durch seinen umfassenden Ansatz bietet dieser Band neue Einsichten in eine zentrale Periode der deutschen Kulturgeschichte und schließt eine Lücke in der Feuchtwanger-Forschung.