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Marta Feuchtwanger 
Interviewed by Lawrence M. Weschler 


Completed under the auspices 

of the 

Oral History Program 

University of California 

IiOS Angeles 

Copyright © 1976 
The Regents of the University of California 
The University of Southern California 

This manuscript is hereby made available for research 
purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, 
including the right to publication, are reserved to 
the University Library of the University of California, 
Los Angeles, and the University Library of the 
University of Southern California. No part of the 
manuscript may be quoted for publication without the 
written permission of the University Librarian of the 
University of California, Los Angeles, or the director 
of the Lion Feuchtwanger Memorial Library of the 
University of Southern California. 

This interview was conducted and processed by the 
UCLA Oral History Program under the shared sponsor- 
ship of the Program and the Feuchtwanger Fund of 
the University of Southern California. 


TAPE NUMBER: IX, Side One (July 14, 1975) 431 

Brecht in the early days— His father — His effect 
on women — A song suggested by Marta — Marriage to 
Marianne Zof f--Children — Brecht and Lion 
collaborate: Edward II , Simone, and Kalkutta , 
4. Mai - -Brecht directs--His success — His early 
politics: from liberal to radical. 

[Second Part] (July 15, 1975) 448 

Marieluise Fleisser and Brecht--Marta and Brecht 
--Friendship — Further notes on literary Munich — 
A recollection of Lion's education. 

TAPE NUMBER: IX, Side Two (July 15, 1975) 458 

Brecht's critical reception — Creating Edward II 
--Munich politics after the Rate regi e rung- -The 
grounds for Hitler's rise: the Treaty of 
Versailles — The German predilection for being 
led — German militarism--The postwar inflation — 
Bare survival — Leaving the city--Death of Lion's 
parents: settlement of estate--Bruno Frank--The 
publication of Die hassliche Herzogin . 

TAPE NUMBER: X, Side One (July 15, 1975) 486 

Brecht, Frank, and Thomas Mann — The portrait of 
Brecht in Erfolg --Frank ' s politics--Publication 
of Jud Suss . 

[Second Part] (July 15, 1975) 494 

Further stories of the Munich literati — Hitler 
in Munich in the early twenties--Marta ' s 
sensitivity to anti-Semitic remarks--The Beer 
Hall Putsch — Lion's early sense of Hitler. 

TAPE NUMBER: X, Side Two (July 17, 1975) 513 

Bruno Walter, in and out of Munich — The gradual 
thinning of the Schwabing community: flight to 
Berlin — Munich's Jewish community and its sense 


of Hitler--Leaving Munich: tax harassment — 
Rejoining Heinrich Mann and Brecht in Berlin — 
The writing of the novel Jud Suss — Festive 
evenings at Steinecke's — Arnold Zweig: tne 
origins of a f riendship--Oskar Maria Graf — 
More on Lion's early novels. 

TAPE NUMBER: XI, Side One (July 24, 1975) 538 

Literary evenings at the Gallery Casperi, Munich 
--Lion and the theme of ugly women — Inflation 
and contracts--Hung-over Marta negotiates a 
contract — Publication of The Ugly Duchess and 
Jud Suss — Lord Melchett, Chaim Weizmann, and 
English Zionism — Film versions of Jud Siiss , 
English and Nazi — A sojourn in Yugoslavia — 
Lion's early book collecting. 

TAPE NUMBER: XI, Side Two (July 25, 1975) 564 

Edward II , a fiasco in Berlin — Vacationing with 
the Brechts on Rligen — Karl Krauss — The move to 
Berlin — Receiving visitors from England and the 
Soviet Union--Visiting a modernistic exhibition 
--Lion's ongoing writing--Marta skiing; Hannes 
Schneider — Lotte Lenya and The Oil Islands . 

TAPE NUMBER: XII, Side One (July 25, 1975) 588 

Wird Hill Amnestiert? — Warren Hastings and 
K alkutta — Trip to France and Spain, 1926 — Paris 
— Exposure to Goya — Biarritz and Bronnen — Madrid: 
the Prado — The Alhambra, Granada — Toledo — 
Prerepublican Spanish politics--Ronda--Seville — 
Bullfights . 

TAPE NUMBER: XII, Side Two (July 28, 1975) 613 

Lion's first trip to England: wined and dined 
— Meeting the great and near-great — Return to 
Berlin: Soviet and English visitors--Sinclair 
Lewis — Lion and the Nobel Prize — Lion's trip to 
Scandinavia--Marta's trip to America and Cuba — 
"A bandage for the whole life": Maria Kuntz — 
A ship of fools, without fools--First car. 

TAPE NUMBER: XIII, Side One (July 28, 1975) 641a 

Hell on wheels: Marta and Lion learn to drive 
— Through Switzerland to Italy--Seeing fascism 

in Italy--Vacationing in Amalf i--Word of Marta's 
mother's illness — Return — The last years of 
Marta's parents. 

TAPE NUMBER: XIII, Side Two (July 30, 1975) 659 

The late twenties in Berlin--Lion ' s acute 
appendicitis--An exercise cure--Brecht in 
Berlin — Brecht's visit to Ainerica--The Mann 
brothers in Berlin--Arnold Zweig--Inf luence 
of James Joyce and Sigmund Freud--The 
Feuchtwanger house in Berlin. 

TAPE NUMBER: XIV, Side One (August 1, 1975) 685 

Furnishing the house in Berlin: a favorite 
chair — Further tales of the Munich Rateregierung 
--Building the Berlin house--Marta ' s vacation in 
Yugoslavia: encountering antifascist Italians 
— Skiing in Sankt Anton: Leni Reifenstahl — 
Subsequent events in Sankt Anton following 
Hitler's seizure of power--Lion' s Berlin library: 
books and furnishings--A spate of small-claims 
lawsuits . 

TAPE NUMBER: XIV, Side Two (August 1, 1975) 713 

Lion's Berlin library--Marta ' s epiphanies in 
Lion's writings — Success and its success and 
controversy — Reactions in Munich — Portrayal of 
Hitler: ridicule--Weiss-Ferdl and Hitler-- 
Lion's new publishers--The Josephus trilogy-- 
Sergei Eisenstein and the power of art — More 
on Success --More on Josephus — The fate of 
publishers under the Nazis. 

TAPE NUMBER: XV, Side One (August 4, 1975) 74 

New memories of earlier periods: life in Munich 
during the war and just after — A health rest in 
Czechoslovakia— "Easter" — Klabund and other 
writers — Georg Kaiser — Lion's writings and 
readings during this period--Berlin : Arnolt 
Bronnen plays with nazism — Sexuality in Berlin 
— Profiles: Erich Maria Remarque--Kurt 
Tucholsky— Gerhart Hauptmann— PEN Club dinners 
--German views of French literature--Music in 
Berlin, classical and cabaret. 


TAPE NUMBER: XV, Side Two (August 4, 1975) 768 

Politics in late Weimar Germany — The apoliticism 
of the intellectuals--Communists, Nazis, and 
Centrists — Lion's attitude toward America and 
American writers-- Pep : Wetcheek- -Lion' s 1932 
American tour — First stop: London with Marta-- 
English experiences--Marta ' s return to Berlin 
and trip to Sankt Anton — Lion in New York and 
Los Angeles . 

TAPE NUMBER: XVI, Side One (August 5, 1975) 797 

City life: the Romanisches Cafe in Berlin — 
Theater and literature in Berlin — Die Neue 
Sachlichkeit — Night life in Berlin — Cinema 
in the twenties — Influence of the Bauhaus — 
The Feuchtwangers ' Berlin house: Marta as 
interior designer — Gropius and other 
architects — More on Lion in America: the 
Depression — Hitler seizes power. 

TAPE NUMBER: XVI, Side Two (August 5, 1975) 825 

Lion's return from America, 1933 — To Sankt Anton 
— The eventual fate of the Berlin house and 
library--Subsequent legal hassles involving 
restitution — Salvaging attempts by friends — 
Other emigres in Sankt Anton — On to Bern — A 
"Great Letter"— Skiing above Bern — A manuscript 
lost and rewritten — To the French Riviera: 
Bandol . 

TAPE NUMBER: XVII, Side One (August 8, 1975) .... 852 

A few more Berlin stories: first airplane ride 
--An early thought of living in France--Copyright 
angle concerning Jud Siiss and resultant legal 
wranglings--Yiddish language production--Life 
in Bandol— Urging by English Prime Minister 
MacDonald that Lion write an anti-Hitler novel 

Die Geschwister Oppermann — The various fates 

of^Llon's family--The German emigre colony on 
the French Riviera--Rene Schickele and Julius 

TAPE NUMBER: XVII, Side Two (August 8, 1975) , 

Further tales of Sanary — Aldous Huxley--The 
Feuchtwanger home in Sanary— Thomas Mann, 



Brecht, Zweig, and others: thoughts on the fate 
of Germany — Legal status of German Emigres in 
France — Ludwig Marcuse — Heinrich Mann — The PEN 
Club's Congress of Banned Books in Paris-- 
Productivity and publication of German writers 
in exile--A terrible accident: Marta's crushed 

ERRATA: pp. 459, 745, 775 do not exist; pp. 478a, 
568a, 641abcdefghijk exist to correct the 


JULY 14, 1975 and JULY 15, 1975 

WESCHLER: We are in the middle of Roda Roda ' s story 
about Feuchtwanger ' s car. 

FEUCHTWANGER: This was later, in Berlin. "Feuchtwanger 
took some driving lessons, and that was his first time out, 
He drove through the [Kronprinzen Allee] , and all of a 
sudden he ran against a tree. Feuchtwanger went out and 
around the car and said, 'Fine, but how do I stop the car 
if there is no tree?'" That's Roda Roda. 
WESCHLER: Well, perhaps you could tell us more about 
Brecht in the early days. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . Brecht was always in Augsburg when he 
had no money. One day his father came to my husband and 
asked him, "You know, I wanted my son to be a doctor. But 
he now wants to be a writer. You already have success, 
so I wanted to ask your advice. Do you think he should be 
a writer? Do you think he has talent?" So my husband 
said, "I can only say one thing: I never advise a young 
man to be a writer, because it ' s a very hard job, and I 
know from experience. But if your son wouldn't write, 
wouldn't continue to write, it would be a crime." So the 
father said, "That's all right, I believe you. So I will 
give him his monthly check, and he can be a writer." 


He was a little depressed, because a doctor would have 
been better anyway. But then he left, and before he went 
out of the door, he turned around and said to my husband, 
"You know, I ara a manufacturer of pamper. I make beautiful 
white paper, and then they go and print on it." [laughter] 
WESCHLER: So, in a way his son was going to be one of the 
greatest of the criminals in this regard. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, the beautiful white paper, [laughter] 
And a funny thing — [remember how] in Brecht's play Spartacus 
[ Drums in the N ig ht] , which was a drama, sonebody says, 
"Now we go in the big white bed"? Do you remember the 



FEUCHTWANGER: [laughter] And there is another thing. He 

was very much liked by women. He didn't look very good — 

you couldn't say that — but he had something of a Gothic 

saint, you know: a very thin face, and bones, a bony 

face, and deep-lying eyes. And also his hair was, in a 

way, grown into his forehead, so he looked not like 

everybody. And the Weiber [women] were very much in love 

with him. They ran after him, mostly the actresses. And 

his friend [Otto] Mullereisert, who was a doctor, always 

said, "I think he seducted the women with his guitar playing." 

He was always sitting in a corner somewhere on the floor, 

singing his bal lads with a very shrill voice. And the 
*Kragler's penultimate line in Drums in the Night (Act V): 
"NOW comes the bed, the great, white, wide bed, cornel" 
("Jetzt koramt das Bett, das grosse weisse, breite Bett, komm! ) 


women just fainted almost, you know. Anyway, he was very 

Once there was an evening at the theater director's — 
Engel, Erich Engel, who made the first performance of the 
Threepenny Opera . And like always, because he had not 
much room in his apartment — we had not enough chairs — we 
were sitting around on mattresses, and Brecht was sitting 
in one corner, [pause in tape] 

WESCHLER: Brecht was sitting in one corner... 
FEUCHTWANGER: one corner, and singing, and he sang 
something which I had given him the plot for. I found in 
the newspaper a story about a young boy who killed his 
parents and lived always with the bodies in the apartment 
and didn't know what to do with the bodies. At first it 
was all right, and then the woman who came with the milk 
said, "It smells so funny." (It's in the ballad, you know.) 
And it ends up that finally, of course, they found the 
bodies, and then they buried them. I cut it out from the 
newspaper, gave it to him, and he made a ballad out of it. 
And he sang it. It is very funny, and at the same time 
also tragic. My help, who was a woman of peasant's descent, 
she came to me after she read about this — [Jacob] Apfelbock 
was the name, which is a funny name of the apple, you know, 
like an apple— and she said, "Isn't that terrible, this 
boy who kills his parents? What do you think would he do 


when he goes to the grave of his parents?" Of course, he was 

condemned to death, you know, and he would never go to their 

graves. So this was a funny question. I told Brecht this 

question, and this was the point, then, of the ballad of 

Brecht.* When he sang that, he looked at me, because I 

gave him the whole idea (he also gave me the first little 

handwritten manuscript of it) . He smiled at me when the 

end comes, which ray maid, my help, had told me. He aniled 

at me, and I smiled back. And then there was a famous 

actress from Berlin, who visited him there — she was very 

much in love with Brecht — and she ran across the whole room 

to stand before me and said, "You don't laugh when Brecht 

sings." Afterwards we danced a little bit; Brecht danced 

with me, and he said, "Don't you think she is a little bit 

strenuous?" That was all he said about it. [laughter] 

Gerda Miiller was her name. She was a very, very famous 

actress, and she played also in his plays. I think she 

played the queen in Edward [ II] . But she was so upset 

that I smiled about Brecht. I admired her also; I didn't 

even answer her. 

Then he met another actress — I don't know when or 

where.... Yes, I know. There was a Draraaturg [Otto 

Zoff] — that is, a man who reads the plays for the theater 

and also has a voice in hiring actors and actresses — and 

* Brecht 's ballad, "Apfelbock oder die Lilie auf dem Felde," 
ends with the phrase "Ob Jakob Apfelbock wohl einraal noch// 
Zum Grabe seiner armen Eltern geht?" 


he had a sister. This sister caroe from Vienna to see him — 
he was also a very well known writer — and so Brecht met 
this sister. She was an opera singer in Wiesbaden at the 
State Theatre and had a very good career before her. She 
was very good looking, like a madonna a little bit. She 
also had a very rich friend in Munich who had a publishing 
house. Anyway, Brecht fell in love with her, and she with 

WESCHLER: What was her name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: She is still living. Marianne Zoff was 
her maiden name. She is married now to an actor, [Theo] 
Lingen, in Vienna. Her daughter, who is the daughter of Brecht 
because they married afterwards, is called Hiob [ Hanne] , 
and she played in the first performance of Mother Courage 
(she played the daughter Kattrin, the mute daughter) . But 
then they were not married yet. Brecht made the opera and 
theater look bad to her. He could persuade her that this 
was not the career for a woman and also that the only career 
is to be his wife. So she really left the opera and went 
with him to Munich and lived very poorly with him. But 
before she married him, she had to leave her boyfriend who 
was this great publisher. And before they were married — 
this man was very jealous, of course — and once, when Brecht 
was at our house, somebody called us and said, "You know 
that this man" — I don't remember his ncime [Herr Best?]-- 

43 5 

"is going up and down before your house and is going to 

kill Brecht." So we told Brecht, "You can't go away. 

There is still this luan down there outside who wanted to 

kill you." All those things happened. [laughter] But 

he became cold feet probably and didn't kill him. 

WESCHLER: Thankfully, for German literature, [pause in 

tape] You were just going to tell us some more stories 

about Brecht, him and actresses in general. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . They all fell in love with him, mostly 

the young actresses, partly because they liked him or 

he impressed them, but also because they thought they could 

get good parts in his plays. Once, a young actress who 

was blond — and I know that he didn't like blond girls — she 

came and told my husband that she was expecting a child of 

Brecht, and what should she do? My husband had him come 

and said, "Listen, Brecht. May I ask you a silly question?: 

Do you have always to make children?" And Brecht said, 

"A silly answer: yes." 

WESCHLER: Was it Brecht' s child? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was Brecht 's child, but I think she had 

an abortion. He had also before already a child in Augsburg. 

This girl later married a doctor. 

WESCHLER: Was that child born? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. He had a child, and Brecht 's father took 

care of her. The mother was later married, and I think the 


roan adopted this girl. 

WESCHLER: Did Brecht have any feelings of closeness to this 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, then he had forgotten the girl and 
forgotten the whole thing. The father took care of every- 
thing. He was very young, I think seventeen or so. He 
also didn't want to marry — they just wanted him all the 
time — maybe in those days he didn't know how to prevent to 
get a child, [laughter] 

WESCHLER: I wanted to explore a little bit more closely 
the relationship between Lion and Brecht. Clearly Lion was 
one of the earliest people — not only to discover but to 
promote Brecht and really help him along. Would you say 
that Lion was Brecht 's teacher in any way? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, no. I couldn't say that. I think they 
were very different in a way; they could impress one another, 
but not as teachers. For instance, when my husband was 
writing Thomas Wendt , he spoke about it to Brecht and said, 
"I am trying a new kind of form; I call it the epic drama." 
He told him about that. He didn't give it to him to read — 
he hadn't finished it yet — but he spoke about it. "I think 
sometimes you cannot express your ideas very well in a play 
because you are bound to the form of the play, to the dif- 
ferent acts and scenes. But I want to make short scenes and 
long scenes the way I feel that just this point has to be 


made." Brecht was very impressed about that, and he also 
changed from then on his whole method of writing plays. 
Drijms in the Night had been written in the old way of several 
acts (every act has to be balanced with the other) , but his 
later plays were much more formless, because he was impressed 
with this new form which my husband used for the first time. 
But there was no other kind of teaching. 

WESCHLER: In the case of their collaboration on Edward II , 
what did that collaboration consist of? 

FEUCHnVANGER: It was very funny. I think they compensated each 
other. My husband had more sense for buildup and also for 
logic. Brecht was always going on and on and on; he never 
would have found an end. It was like an open-ended, play for 
him — which is the only way to do it, I think. A play cannot 
be ended because then it would have been done, over. It should 
be like life which goes on also, and that was also a little 
bit of the feeling of Brecht. From his studies and his practice. 
Lion had more sense of the form, the architectural form. That's 
why they compensated each other. Brecht liked to work on 
something. He never wanted to end the work. That is a 
kind of poetical stance, I could say. Also what Brecht 
didn't have was logic — maybe it could even be so that 
someone had died before and then could be alive afterwards. 
This is an exaggeration, but it happened in other plays. He 
had [little sense of] sequence, and my husband had much 


more. So they compensated each other, and it was a very 
fruitful work together. 

WESCHLER: How did it actually take place? Would one of 
them write a draft and give it to the other? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, no. Every word was written together. 
WESCHLER: They sat together in a room? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, they sat together and gave each other 
the word. Once my husband said, "This isn't logical." 
And Brecht said, "That's just what I want. I don't want 
it logical." Sometimes they quarreled. I remember later, 
when I was in Berlin, I came home frcxn the market one 
day, and my help said, "Oh, I am so glad you came home; 
Mr. Brecht is just killing the poor doctor." I came in and 
said, "Why do you think that?" She said, "First I 
heard both of them, and now I hear only Mr. Brecht shouting; 
■the poor doctor doesn't say a word." [laughter] So I 
went in and they were both sitting there and laughing. They 
had really had a sharp controversy and discussion, and when 
it was finished then they laughed together. So it was 
like that; they were quarreling and discussing — not quar- 
reling, but discussing things. And once I ronember that — 
we lived in Munich on the fourth floor — and Brecht left; 
he lived very near. They couldn't find the right word or 
the right expression, and he left without finishing. And, 
at twelve o'clock that night, we heard somebody whistling 


downstairs. My husband went to the window; Brecht was there, 
and he said, "Doctor, you were right!" He always called 
hiru "Doctor." So sometimes it was like that, and sometimes 
my husband gave in, of course. For instance, with Simone , 
I usually was with than when they were together. Brecht .." 
wanted me always. First of all, he wanted an audience 
always. He was inspired if somebody was sitting there. 
I think it could even be somebody who couldn't even under- 
stand the language. He just needed somebody: he made gestures; 
he went around; he wasn't sitting there. My husband was 
usually sitting at his desk, but Brecht went up and down, 
gesturing, so he needed an audience. Sometimes he also 
asked me what I WDuld say. Once they couldn't find a 
turning point which would bring about a solution. They 
asked me in from the kitchen, told me what they were look- 
ing for, and I had an idea which they accepted. It was in 
Kalkutta , 4 . Mai which they adapted fran my husband's first 
play, Warren Hastings . They accepted this turn and Brecht 
said, "I think it is a very good idea and we accept it. 
Your husband should have to pay you $450 for that." And 
later, every time I met Brecht, he would say, "Did your 
husband give you the $4 50?" [laughter] 
WESCHLER: Had he? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was also that I didn't intend to accept 
it. [laughter] 


WESCHLER: As long as we're on Kalkutta, 4. Mai , how 
did that come about? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, my husband had long forgotten about this 
play Warren Hastings , and also he was already quitting 
the theater and writing his novels. But Brecht found this 
play so effectful, and he said, "We should adapt it for 
modern times." 

WESCHLER: It was all of ten years old at this point. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. But he thought it should be adapted. 
He asked my husband so often and then he insisted so much 
that my husband finally gave in. Then it has been played 
in Berlin at the State Theatre. It was a very interesting 
performance, but not what my husband was thinking about it. 
Some scenes had been taken out which he found important. 
The next day in a review of an important critic, there was 
written, "We didn't get an explanation for (this and that)." 
And these were just the scenes which they left out. But 
it was a great success, mostly because the actor was so 
good. It was Rudolf Foster; he went to England during the 
vacation, to the Isle of Man, to study English mores. His 
performance was against my husband's idea of the man, but he 
was so effectful that it was a great success. And Sybille 
Binder played, who was very beautiful, and she sang a song 
which Brecht made for her, "The Surabaya Jhonny." 
WESCHLER: That was in that play? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. It was in that play. 

WESCHLER: So you were perhaps one of the first people to 

ever hear that song . 


WESCHLER: Brecht, in addition to being a playwright 

at this time, was also a director. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but I wanted to tell you something still 

about how they wrote: sometimes when they had discussed a 

long time, they went into Lion's study where the secretary 

was, and ray husband usually dictated what there had been 

spoken before. Then he gave Brecht a copy and he kept a 

copy, and overnight they both worked on this copy. Then 

Brecht came back the next day and they took it over again. 

WESCHLER: With all kinds of arguments. 


WESCHLER: About his being a director: for one thing, he 

directed the performance of Edward II , didn't he? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he did, but not officially. Officially 

it was Bernhard Reich who directed it; but, of course, 

Bernhard Reich hadn't much to say. 

WESCHLER: What was he like as a director? He was a young 

man. ... 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he was a tyrant when he was directing. 

He was so obsessed from the whole thing that people, the 

girls, the actresses, had to play on and on again, and 


sometimes l remember Maria Koppenhofer, who was one 

of my best friends there — she was later a great actress in 

Berlin; she was still very young, not the great actress 

yet — she really ended up in tears. The actors said, "We 

don't want to have anything to do anymore," and left the 

scene. In the end it was all friendship again. Everything 

was forgotten because they found that he had such a new 

way of leading an actor, and also of explaining and of being 

a director, that everything was forgotten. 

WESCHLER: Were you present at some of the rehearsals? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I was always present; he insisted always 

that I be there. 

WESCHLER: You were his traveling audience. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but during the rehearsals, there were 

also other people there, of course. But my husband said 

that he cannot come to every rehearsal — "I write my novels 

nowi " He was so much in the midst of his work, and when 

he came, he did it only out of friendship. 

WESCHLER: You say that Brecht had such a new way of leading 

an actor or an actress. How would you describe that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. What he always said was, "First comes 

the gesture, and then comes the word." That was a new way, 

also the way they had to move. Mostly he didn't allow many 

movements. I remember when he directed [Blandine] Ebinger — 

not long ago she visited me from Berlin — she then was the 


wife of Friedrich Hollander, who was a composer who composed 
the most famous songs in those days (he composed the music to 
The Blue Angel , for instance, all those songs which Marlene 
Dietrich sang, "I am from head to foot with love," or 
something like that) . Anyway, Ebinger he directed in a 
pantomime. He said, "You know, she has to be thin and 
vicious," he said, "thin and vicious." [laughter] And he 
made always those gestures. He made the gestures also for 
the actors. "Before the words should come the gestures, or 
the position, or the movement." 

WESCHLER: I take it that these were some pretty astoundingly 
successful plays. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but the funny thing is he never had 
success with a great audience — nowhere except in Germany. 
WESCHLER: Weren't they successful in Munich right away from 

the very start? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Not with the audience; they were literary successes. 

In Munich it was only the Edward, the Drums in the Night and 

the Edward . The other things were all done in Berlin. The 

greatest success was The Threepenny Opera , which he didn't like 

anymore afterwards. 

WESCHLER: The Threepenny Opera. But that's in Berlin, and 

we are going to save that for later. But in Munich would you 

say that he was well known? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not very well known. The same with here: 

he was well known, but he was not played. He is not played 


very much in America, and yet he's so famous. He has been 
played at the Lincoln Center last year, I think, in Galileo , 
but it didn't go on to the next year like a big hit. Or 
Mother Courage . The greatest success in New York was also The 
Threepenny Opera , but it was in such a small theater — I think 
it held only a hundred people or so — it played, of course, 
for years because it was a small theater. Mother Courage 
has been played — by mistake, it has been promised to two 
theaters. At first, they wanted to make a lawsuit out of 
it. Finally they decided both could play it. Then the 
one who made it more spectacular had no success, and the one 
which was in a kind of little avant-garde theater and almost 
amateurish had the greatest success with it. 

WESCHLER: Well, I think we are going to close fairly quickly 
for today. But one last set of questions about Brecht 
concern his politics in the very early days in Munich. 
Later on, he was avowedly leftist in his politics and so 
forth. But my sense is that early on, in 1920-21-22, he 
didn't really have any kind of thought-out leftist approach. 
FEUCHTWANGER: It was very funny: he went to Berlin and 
came back much more to the left than when he was in Munich. 
WESCHLER: What was he like in Munich? 

FEUCHTWANGER: In Munich he was liberal, like we all were. 
It was not the obvious left. When he was in Berlin, he 
met Hele[ne] Weigel, whom he married later when he divorced 


his first wife. She was very communistic. She was from a 
very wealthy Viennese family which had a big department 
store, but she was a communist, an outright communist. And 
she always was. He met her, and she had a great influence 
on him. But still he was not so outright. The first thing 
which was a little was the KUhle Wampe , if you know that 
film. That was the most near to the people and the 

WESCHLER: Did he talk about politics very much during those 
early years in Munich? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was not necessary, because we were 
all of the same opinion. Only we didn't [belong] to any 
party. We were pacifists and we were liberals; we were 
for the leftists. Even if we were not leftists ourselves, 
we were for the leftists. We were for the Rater eg ierung 
[and when] we saw that the revolution didn't lead to anything, 
we thought it could have been better [except that] it was 
murdered — you know, Eisner, Erzberger, and Rathenau, 
Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, all of them murdered. There 
was also one of the leaders in the north, a man named 
[Hugo] Haase, who was a deputy of the parliament, and he was 
also murdered. He was the only leader of the Independent 
Socialists. So there was no leader anymore for the leftists. 
Of course, we were all pacifists and against violence; we 
were against those antirevolutionaries, so we were for the 


revolution. But I remember also that after the premiere 
of Kuhle Wampe, I had a car and Brecht didn't have a car 
yet, so we went together. My husband went with other 
people, and then we met all together in the cafe on the zoo. 
That was on the first story. I took Brecht with me and a man 
by the name of Fritz Sternberg. He was a communist writer — 
Marxist, let's say, a theoretical Marxist. We went together, 
and we were sitting there. We were the first to come, and 
we were all alone at the long table waiting for the others. 
They spoke together, and Sternberg explained communism to 
Brecht. That was just after the first performance of Kuhle 
Wampe. He explained it, and Brecht said, "Yes, I think you 
are right." That was at the turning point when he became 
a communist. First he was very much influenced by Hele 
Weigel, by his wife. But this was [when] he made a decision, 
and it was Fritz Sternberg who did it. I don't know if Fritz 
Sternberg ever knew what an impression he made on Brecht. 
Fritz Sternberg was then here also; he came to see us, but 
he couldn't stay here because he was a Marxist. 
WESCHLER: He couldn't get citizenship papers? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Not only that. He could not even get 
permission to stay as a noncitizen. 

WESCHLER: Well, we're beginning to get more political again, 
and the next person in the wings to talk about is Hitler. 
We'll begin with him next time, [pause in tape] 


Very quickly, one additional note: the name of the 
philosopher who was at Ludwig Feuchtwanger ' s house was 
Max Scheler. 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was half Catholic and half Jewish because 
he married a Feuchtwanger. No — his father married a Feucht- 
wanger. Max couldn't become a professor in Munich because 
he had a duel with somebody. So that was out; even 
though he was Catholic, he couldn't become a professor at 
the university. But he became famous — he is still now famous 
as a philosopher. You can find him in every philosophical! 

JULY 15, 1975 

WESCHLER: Today, we are eventually going to start talking 
about the political situation in 1921-22-23, in Munich, 
but first we are going to talk a bit more about the literary 
scene. You had some more memories, and in particular about 
a woman novelist who you wanted to talk about. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that was another of those carnivals, a 
fiesta, I could say, where the artists made all the deco- 
rations and the people came in fancy costumes. 
WESCHLER: This is Fasching? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Right. Mostly self-made costumes and very artistic 
usually, and it was very gay. My husband and I, we went 
usually to those balls together, but inside the door we 


lost each other. Everyone went on his own adventures. After 
I had danced with many people.... I remember also that I 
danced with one man who made an anti-Semitic ranark because 
he didn't think that I was Jewish; then I said, "There is 
a proverb that says, 'A good German man doesn't like the 
French man but he likes the French wine, ' and I wanted to 
tell you that you don't like the Jews, but you like the 
Jewish women." I told him that and then I left him. And 
when I left him, all of a sudden, I saw Lion sitting some- 
where with a bottle of wine — I don't know if it was French 
wine — and a girl was sitting on his knees. He motioned that 
I should come over to him, and the girl jumped up because 
he told her, "That's my wife." She was very, very embarrassed, 
but I put her at ease and told her to sit down. Then she 
told me that she was studying in Munich. 
WESCHLER: What was her name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Marieluise Fleisser. She was from Ingolstadt; 
that's a little town in the north of Munich on the Danube, 
and it was always a garrison. Later on, but much later, 
she wrote a play about the engineers, the soldier-engineers 
of Ingolstadt [ Pioniere in Ingolstadt ] which was a big 
scandal, and she almost had to leave the little town. But 
at that time she was still a student of [Arthur] Kutscher. 
There she met Brecht, who also went sometimes to the lectures 
of Kutscher, and Brecht spoke to her about Feuchtwanger . 


When she saw my husband, she recognized him from the pictures 
in newspapers, and that's why she came to him and wanted to 
make his acquaintance and immediately sat on his knees. She 
thought that was the easiest way to make an acquaintance. 
She was very well built, had very white skin and blond hair 
and blue eyes--but her eyes were a little too light; they 
had no real color. She had something — I called her a 
Sumpfblume , that means a flower that grows in a swamp; 
she looked like that, you know. Also a little lassig 
[indolent]. She wanted my husband's advice: she wanted to 
be a writer too and wanted to know if she could come some 
day. He agreed, and she brought with her at the same 
time what she had written. And those were poems which 
were just awful. I read some of them. They were romantic 
and kitsch; the worst was that they were so cute. She 
writes about her little toe--she hangs her little toe into 
the water in a little brook or something like that — in 
verses. My husband told her, "That's not writing; you 
cannot do that. I have never read something like that. 
You cannot read what I write — that wouldn't be in your 
line — but you should read Brecht, which is poetry. You 
should read hiir and see what one can do with the German 
language." She did that, and she immediately not only 
fell in love with Brecht and imitated him, of course, 
but she was absolutely devoted to him in every 


way. Like a serf, you could say. 

WESCHLER: VJhat was the German word you used off tape? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Horig . i didn't find the right translation 
for it. 

WESCHLER: She acted almost slavishly. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but it was not only that — it was also 

WESCHLER: Was that common with Brecht and women? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Very often, yes, but never had I seen it 
like that. Because she was a writer and an artist, too, 
so it was much more serious. It was not just a fleeting 
moment of sexuality or so; she was so dependent on him. 
Also he did so much for her. He immediately recognized what 
she could do. After she had read his works she had changed 
completely. She wrote a play which was called Purgatory 
[ Fegef euer] which. .was also in the little town where she 
lived. He was instrumental that it has been played in 
Berlin, with a great literary success but not success at 
all financially and without a big audience. But she got 
a very important literary prize for this play. She wrote 
a book about her own experiences,* and she always compares 
Feuchtwanger with Brecht. She said she learned more from 
the wise Feuchtwanger than from Brecht, anci that it was 
very painful, her relationship with Brecht. She always came 

to Feuchtwanger for advice and for comfort. After the war she 

* Material ien zum Leben und Schreiben der Marieluise Fleisser , 
edited by Giinther Ruehle, Edition Luhrkamp. 


wrote him immediately; she said that during the Nazi time, 
where she had a very bad time in Bavaria, that she could man- 
age to read all his books which he wrote in the meantime. 
WESCHLER: Secretly, of course. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of course. 

WESCHLER: Talking about Brecht and women: was Brecht one 
who got very turbulently involved with women, qr> were 
they more or less incidental? 

FEUCHTWANGER: For the moment, but they were usually short 
moments. I don't think that he was very much involved with 
women. It was so easy for him. He could haive anyone he 
wanted. But also he had a special taste, and he didn't like 
most of the women. For instance, he didn't like blond women, 
and Fleisser was blond, pale and colorless — everything was 
colorless on her — but she had a wonderful body. So he was 
indifferent in the relationship with her, sexually. He was 
very much for her talent and wanted to help her, but he couldn't 
stand her for very long. 

By the way, he wanted to marry me. Between his two 
marriages which he had, he thought I could marry him too. 
[laughter] But I was already.... 
WESCHLER: To which you said.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, I didn't even answer him, and he didn't 
insist when he saw it was not possible. He just mentioned 
it in passing. 


WESCHLER: That will at least earn you a footnote somewhere. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja. He wanted it really, but he was too 
proud to insist when he saw that he had no success. But 
we were always very good friends. Usually when I didn't 
respond, the men were sometimes great enemies afterwards; 
they wanted to destroy my marriage and things like that. 
Many men. But he was never like that. He immediately under-. 
stood, and there was nothing changed in our friendship. 
WESCHLER: Did that create any tension between him and Lion? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, Lion didn't know about it. But the only 
thing what he said was, "You know, I have no bad conscience 
against your husband. What I did has nothing to do with 
him; I'm not sorry about it, and I have no bad conscience." 

WESCHLER: And everybody lived happily ever after. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, absolutely. Also even if I would have 
liked him very much — I liked him very much but not in this 
sense--! would never have done it with a friend of my 
husband. Because I think friendship is much more important 
than sexual adventure. There are so few real good friendships, 
and this friendship between Brecht and Feuchtwanger was so 
unusual because it was a human friendship and it was also 
collaboration in the literary work. And that was something 
which wouldn't happen so often. I didn't want to destroy 
that. That's why I didn't even [consider it] . It happened 


with other friends of his also. One said always that I 

am "a spine in his flesh." 

WESCHLER: "A thorn in his flesh." 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, "a thorn in his flesh." So let's 

[laughter] let it be. 

WESCHLER: You had said that Fleisser was a student of 

Kutcher's, and I wanted to talk a little bit about Kutcher, 

and then about... 

FEUCHTWANGER: There was another professor named [Friedrich] 

van der Leyen. 

WESCHLER: Well, let's talk first about Kutcher for a second, 

and then. . . . 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know much about Kutcher. I met him 

several times at Heinrich Mann's house; he lived very near 

to Heinrich Mann's house and also not far from us. I 

only remember that Kutscher means "coachman." So during 

these masquerades, he always had a blue coat, a loose coat 

like a peasant coachman. So everybody knew this is Kutcher. 

WESCHLER: He is talked about a good deal in many Brecht 

biographies. Was he central to the community at all? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, he was very much in the literary 

[life] . But nobody of our circle was a friend of his; they 

knew him, but he was not a friend of all our friends. 

Maybe just with Heinrich Mann, but even there not a very 

near friend. It was after the war that he became important. 


because he was left over from those good times, you know, 

the twenties. There was a vacuum, and there Kutcher was, 

who knew everybody. He was not known as a Nazi, so 

nobody had anything against him politically. He had no 

Nazi stigma. So he wrote books about Wedekind and Brecht 

and everybody. He knew them all personally — Brecht not so 


WESCHLER: Had he been one of Brecht 's teachers? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I told you that Marieluise met Brecht 

I in his class] . But he was not his teacher, because Brecht 

didn't want to have a teacher; he was just there. He studied 

medicine, and so he went into the class because it was 

literature; but he didn't follow it, and he did not study 

literature. He didn't even read literature, you know. Most 

of the books, the important books of world literature, he 

didn't read. 

WESCHLER: Did he never read them, or he just hadn't at 

the time he started writing? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, he never read big books usually. I 

think ray husband was the only author he really read, but I 

am not so sure. 

Anyway, during the Hitler time, he visited us in the 
south of France where we lived, and we made an excursion 
together with the car. My husband was working, as always, 
and so we spoke about Lion's work. And he said, "I make you 


responsible: now he is writing this Flavius Josephus book, 
and I know what it is all about, and you are responsible 
that it won't become too chauvinistic. I make you re- 
sponsible!" [laughter] That was our relationship. 
But it was always wonderful to be with him; we had 
so much in common, and we understood each other without 
speaking. I could drive with him without speaking. It 
was a beautiful friendship. 

WESCHLEE: You wanted to talk about van der Leyen also. 
FEUCHTWANGER: He was a professor, and Lion had to be in 
his classes. 

WESCHLER: This is when Lion was a young man. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, he was a student but he was already grown 
up. He had to write a paper about the classic Austrian 
playwright, [Fritz] Grillparzer, of whom I know that my 
husband had great respect and also admired him in many 
ways. But it must have been about a play which he didn't 
like, and van der Leyen was very upset that it was so 
arrogant and even sloppily written. He told him that in 
front of all the students. But then he saw that Feuchtwanger, 
who was rather shy and spoiled — or so he thought at least, 
the spoiled son of a very rich old family from Bavaria — he 
saw that he had tears in his eyes when he spoke like that 
to him. Afterwards Lion came to him and said that he wanted 
to thank him; he thinks he deserved his blame, and he thinks 


he was too much spoiled by the praise of other professors 
who found everything that he wrote so good. He thinks that 
it was a great service to him that he spoke so frankly with 
him. Van der Leyen found this very courageous; it never 
happened to him, something like that, that this timid man 
was so frank and so honest and spoke to him like that. 
And from then on he had great friendship for him. 
WESCHLER: This story, by the way, is told in detail in a 
book we've just been looking at. What's the name of this 

FEUCHTWANGER: Immortal Munich [ Unsterbliches Munchen] , 
and it is written by Hanns Arens. He brought it to me when I 
was in Munich. He came to my hotel and brought it to me. 
It is the book about Munich, really about the whole period, 
let's say, from 1890 on. 


JULY 15, 1975 

WESCHLER: We're continuing with sane more details about the 

literary history of Munich and particularly again about 

Bertolt Brecht. You have an interesting story about the 

time around Druros in the Night . 

FEUCHTWANGER: I think I told you about this premiere, the 

first night when all the critics came from Berlin. 

WESCHLER: This is Edward II now. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Edward 11^, ja, ja. 

WESCHLER: Let me ask first, what had been the impact of 

Drums in the N ig ht? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The impact in Drums in the Night: it came 

to Berlin and has been played there, and was a sensation 

with the literary circles and also the critics, most of the 

critics. The most important was against him. 

WESCHLER: This was [Alfred] Kerr? 

FEUCHTWANGER: That was Alfred Kerr of the most important 

newspaper [the Berliner Tageblatt] , and also himself a writer, 

But there was another critic, Jhering, and he was from a not 

so big but still very good newspaper, also more conservative 

[the Bor sen - Courier] ; the newspaper was more conservative, 

but he was more avant-gardish. He immediately found Brecht — 

you had the impression that he discovered Brecht. But he 


would have never heard about Brecht if Lion hadn't discovered 
hiiu in Munich. 

WESCHLER: But neither of then would have heard about him 
if Brecht hadn't been as great as he was. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . When the [Berlin] State Theatre, Jessner's 
theater, had the intention to perform Edward II — which was 
a great success in Munich — the critic of whom I spoke just 
now, who was more avant-gardistic, he wrote a letter to 
ray husband saying, "You are already an established writer, 
and we both are very interested in Brecht. I think we have 
to help him in every way to make his career. I think it 
would be better if you would not write on the program, 'by 
Feuchtwanger and Brecht,' but instead only mention Brecht's 
name." My husband, who was very proud, did not say, "I 
don't think so; we wrote it together," or sanething like 
that — just "all right." And then nobody mentioned Feuchtwanger 
when this play had been played. It was also a great literary 
success but there was no response from the audience. It 
was too early for this kind of what they called Entf remdung , 
"alienation." It was not understood yet. But when the 
book was printed, Brecht insisted that on the second page it 
would say, "1 wrote this play with Lion Feuchtwanger." 
WESCHLER: We talked a good deal about their collaboration. 
I've read somewhere that it was Lion's insisting to Brecht 
that the language be more chopped, that Brecht's language was 


too smooth. 

FEUCHTWANGERr No, that was Fleisser who wrote that. 
Marieluise Fleisser wrote that in her memoirs. She wrote 
that she found that Feuchtwanger "roughed up" the language 
of Brecht because he found it too an:iooth. I cannot say 
about that. I wouldn't know that. Maybe Brecht told that 
to her. 

WESCHLER: But you wouldn't vouch for it. 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, I didn't say it, but Fleisser wrote 
it. You can read it in her book. It must be. I cannot 
explain it otherwise than that he told it to her. 
WESCHLER: We can come back again later on to the lit- 
erary scene in Munich, but I think right now I would like 
to move slowly over into political history again. Now, 
when we last left the political scene in Munich we had 
the Soldiers and Workers Councils of the Ratereg ierung , and 
they had been overturned by the White Guard. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I think I forgot to call it by the right name. 
It was called the Workers, Soldiers, and Peasants Movement. 
I forgot the workers, I think; I called it only the Soldier 
and Peasant Rat (Soviet) . The most important thing was 
the workers, of course. 

WESCHLER: But in any case it was overthrown very early 
on by the White Guards coming from the north. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of course, because it was against the 


socialist government in Berlin and they didn't want that. 
There came complaints from Bavaria, not from the socialists 
so much but from the conservatives and reactionaries. In 
Berlin they didn't recognize that, that it was the reac- 
tionaries who did the whole trouble. The whole thing was 
because Eisner had been killed. Instead of making dip- 
lomatic movements, they just sent their troops there. The 
troops were well trained from the war — it was not long after 
the war. They were used to kill everybody. Everybody who 
was in their way or who they suspected, mostly peasants-- 
they just killed them. When somebody denounced another man 
who he didn't like and said that he had a gun, they just 
killed him without any trial. Immediately put on the wall 
and killed. It was like those paintings of Goya. 
WESCHLER: What kind of government did Bavaria have after 

FEUCHTWANGER: It became very conservative, of course. 
WESCHLER: And what kind of manifestations were there in the 
public life? Was there censorship, for instance? How did 
you sense that in your daily life? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, there was no censorship, but it was not 
necessary because everything became reactionary all of a 
sudden. All the newspapers became as reactionary as they 
were before the war when the kaiser was still there. So 
there was no censorship in this way with the newspapers. 


Except that those who were from the Communists, they were, 
of course, not allowed to be printed. But I don't remember 
any real Communist newspapers — one was called independent 
socialist, but it was very near to communism [ Neue Zeitung (?)] 
I remember a young publisher of this independent newspaper 
and his young wife [the Martins] . They were very handsome 
people; you wouldn't think that they were in any way terror- 
ists or so. We were all very hungry. Once we met them at 
those carnival things, and they told us, "You know we are 
always hungry and we don't have enough to eat, so we do 
gymnastics." (It must have been something like yoga, 
but they didn't know about yoga in those days.) "That helps 
us. You are less hungry when you make gymnastics." I 
reraonber that even until now how that was something quite 
new, that when you make movement, exercise--! thought 
always that makes appetite, but they said it helps than with 
breathing and not to feel so hungry. I think that must 
be something like a Bavarian yoga, [laughter] 

WESCHLER: So Bavaria was having all varieties of stirrings. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Absolutely, and all those young people, 
they were so idealistic and not terroristic at all. Those 
who were terrorists were the reactionaries. 

WESCHLER: There is the famous story of the member of Parlia- 
ment coming in and saying, "The enemy is on the right!" 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, that was one of the presidents of 

4 63 

Germany before Hitler who said that [Chancellor Joseph 
Wirth] . 

WESCHLER: On the right, as opposed to the left, which 
everybody was afraid of. Well, beginning to move in that 
direction, I want to set up the context for Hitler in 
Munich. I'd like to start by talking about three kinds 
of things which historians say contributed to the conserv- 
ative, the reactionary trends. First of all, they talk 
about the Treaty of Versailles. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . That was the undoing of Eisner. First 
of all, they said it was "a stab in the back of the German 
people." And those who were the Nazi kind of people said 
the Jews did that stab in the back. But in fact it was 
hunger which did it. Everybody was hungry, and nobody 
wanted to go into the war. It was so bad that one general, 
who was a friend of ours — he was rather liberal; he was 
from Wurtteraberg--told us that many officers who were 
very courageous in the beginning and went in front of the 
soldiers, they didn't dare that anymore; they went always 
after the soldiers because [they were afraid] the soldiers 
would shoot thera in the back. They didn't want to follow 
the officers anymore. So bad was the situation on the 
front already. Because they had letters from home that 
everybody was hungry and it was so terrible a situation. 
WESCHLER: Do you think that the people of Bavaria were 

4 64 

responsive to that "stab in the back" kind of rhetoric? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Absolutely. Everybody was. 
WESCHLER: Already that early? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, already then. 

WESCHLER: Even though they had known the hunger. 
FEUCHTWANGER: That's why Eisner had already been killed. 
But not only Eisner, also Erzberger, and also the independent 
member of parliament with the name of Haase; he was a very 
great leader and great man and a liberal and not at all terror- 
istic. All the great leaders, the great men and the peaceful 
men, they killed. 

WESCHLER: What was the feeling of the intelligentsia about 
the Treaty of Versailles? In retrospect we realize that it 
was a very strict and perhaps.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was very strict. We were all upset; 
also my husband and I were upset about it. But I was less upset 
even than my husband, because I was so pacifistic that I 
said I think that everybody who makes war — and there was 
no doubt that the emperor began the war; of course, it was 
first the killing of the archduke in Austria, but that was 
no reason to make war in Germany (and even the socialists 
followed immediately and rallied around the emperor) — I 
think the people have to pay. Because that would be the 
last war. If they are not punished and they don't pay even 
more than they could afford, then they would never remember 


that. So I had a militaristic pacif isn, and I was much more 
for the Treaty of Versailles. I said we have to pay, even 
myself I have to pay, because when we make war we have to pay. 
WESCHLER: Revisionist history of World War I has tended to 
argue that all the governments were equally responsible 
for the war. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, that's not true. 
WESCHLER: You don't think so. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not at all. They were not prepared. 
That's [the proof], you can say, because France was not 
prepared at first. It took a long time, and without the 
American help of the planes, I don't know if they would have 
won the war. Decisive were the American planes. 
WESCHLER: What did you and Lion and the other intelligentsia 
feel about Rathenau's position on obeying the demands? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Rathenau was very conservative, very con- 
servative. But what he did was that he found that you have 
to have peace with the Russians, and he made thfe first 
detente with the Russians. It was the Treaty of Rapallo, 
I think it was called. That's why Rathenau was killed. 
WESCHLER: I also heard that he was killed because he argued 
a position of fulfilling the demands of the Treaty of Versailles. 
FEUCHTWANGER: No. I don't remember that he did that so much. 
It was mostly the Russian detente. 
WESCHLER: How did you feel about that detente? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, every detente was welcome bo me, of • : '. ■• '. 
course. We lived long in France, so we knew there was not 
the least warlike mentalities there, not at all. We read 
all the newspapers of the little towns, in Paris and so, 
and the socialists had so much to say. Jaures, who was 
the leader of the socialists, was killed because he was i ; 
against the war, even after the war had already begun. 
So it's really only Germany who was responsible. 
WESCHLER: Okay. The second thing that is going to 
become very, very important in the rise of Hitler is the 
economic situation, which is about to get right out of 
hand. Maybe we should talk about it. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of course. There is also something else; 
maybe nobody ever has stressed that the Germans liked to 
be spoken to. The people in Germany were mostly very 
religious, mostly in Bavaria. They liked to go to church 
and look up to somebody who spoke down to them frcm the 
pulpit. They always liked to be told what to do. They 
were very apolitical. They had great interest in learning 
and technique--they were the greatest book readers and also 
had big libraries; every little man has his library — but 
they were not interested in politics. They thought that we 
pay our taxes and others do the politics. But when some- 
body came and spoke to them, they liked to listen to it. It 
was a little bit like a theater. And Hitler made those 


big things, those theatrical things. An orchestra would 
play those old German inarches, and with those uniforms 
and those banners, it was very military. And the Germans 
always liked the military because it was colorful, with 
their uniforms and all. It was like — when you see a 
ballet, you like always the ensemble of the ballet: it's 
the same with a march of soldiers. The girls just were 
enthusiastic about a captain in the army and so. And this 
helped also Hitler very much, this mentality. 
WESCHLER: He was a great understander of the Germans. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that was his only merit, that he had 
psychological instinct. He was an unlearned man. But he 
had this instinct to speak to the people, to shout; he 
spit when he spoke — it was not even good looking — but he 
hypnotized the people. 

WESCHLER: Before we get to Hitler directly, still, I do 
want to talk a little about this economic background. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that was also what I wanted to begin 
with. He spoke about what happened; of course, only the 
Jews are the criminals, first with the stabbing in the 
back. But what did the Jews have to do with the Second 
World War? Did they also stab in the back there? There 
were no Jews. But he said so and everybody liked to 
believe it; it was a scapegoat. Then he began to promise. 
He said When the Nazis would come, everything would be better, 


We would have more work to do, we would have more pay to 
have, and we wouldn't have any Jews anymore who would stab 
in the back. And the people believed it. They wanted to 
believe it. Germany was always victorious in war most of 
the time. There had been this famous war in 1871 where 
France was defeated, and so they were proud of that. They 
always had those Sedan victory celebrations every year, 
because there was a decisive victory in Sedan in France. 
They always called it the Sedan Feier. And it never ended; 
the whole country made a celebration of Sedan. It was more 
than thirty years after. 
WESCHLER: Fifty years. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, fifty years after, and they were still 
celebrating this victory. There was no country in the 
whole Europe like that. Adoring the military, mostly the 
higher officers. The captains on up were mostly from poor 
families. Aristocrats or young students who hadn't the 
talent to finish their studies — they went to the army. They 
were very badly paid in the array, but you wouldn't believe 
the roles they played socially. Every officer, every 
lieutenant and every colonel was a god. This was also a 
part of the Hitler movement. 

WESCHLER: Was that as true in Bavaria as it was in Prussia? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Everywhere. Everywhere. 
WESCHLER: Okay, but let's do talk about the inflation, not 


necessarily talking directly about Hitler. What exactly 

was that like to live through? 

FEUCHTWANGER: We were hungry already during the war, but 

that was nothing compared to the hunger and starvation 

during the inflation. 

tVESCHLER: So what happened exactly? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I give you an example of my husband. He 

had this successful play Vasantasena which was accepted in 

every great city of Germany, mostly in the state theaters. 

When it was performed, it was always sold out. And those 

are big theaters, enormous theaters, where mostly the opera 

was played. But when the money came, his royalties were 

paid every month to the publisher, and the publisher then 

paid it every month to ray husband. So, for instance, when 

there was a good, let's say, $3,000 at the box office, by 

the time my husaband got it, it had the worth of one penny. 

When it came to him, he couldn't even buy a crust of bread 


WESCHLER: How did you people survive? 

FEUCHTWANGER: That's what I ask myself, too. But mostly 

in Bavaria it was not so bad as in other [parts of the 

country] , because Bavaria was always a peasant country. 

It was not so much industry; all around Munich, there were 

farms and agriculture. The wonen went out every Sunday 

with their backpacks and went out to the countryside to go 


from one place to the other. They were really heroes, 
those women. In the worst weather, snow or rain, they 
went around to get a little bit of flour or butter or a 
little bit of meat. 

WESCHLER: Was the inflation as bad for peasants as it 
was for the city people? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, the peasants made big profits. Not only 
big profits, they didn't even know what to do with the money 
because they also knew that the money wouldn't be worth much. 
You couldn't put it in the bank or it would soon be nothing. 
So they bought things: they bought the first cars--the first 
cars were bought by the peasants; they bought grand pianos 
which they had in their barns, and all kinds of machinery. 
And the money they used to kindle cigars with. You know it 
was just — it was disgusting. We had also to go to the 
countryside to eat something sometimes, and it wasn't 
allowed to go. You had to have permission. They said when 
too many people from the cities go to the coiintryside, 
there wouldn't be enough for the whole distribution. So 
I have to go to the police, to the doctor of the police, who 
had to decide who can go to the countryside. I looked so 
hungry and so starved, I was so pale and anemic, that the 
doctor said, "You look like you have tuberculosis. You 
have to go to the countryside." So he gave me a certif- 
icate that we could go. 

There was already no gas. In daytime the gas was 


always turned off. Only at night there came a little gas. 
So I had to stay up at night, and then I had to work in 
daytime. We had not much help because it was so expensive. 
We had no coals. So at night I was up and baked some bread. 
Because my husband had a stomach ailment which he got in 
the military service/ we got some stamps for flour. So I 
had to bake bread myself at night. So, when we went to the 
countryside, I brought my own bread. In our backpack we 
had these big breads. We had a chance to get some oil 
from my brother-in-law [Fritz] who was a director with this 
factory, with margarine and oil. So sometimes at night, 
you know, very clandestinely, I had to go far away out of 
the city, first with the tram and then I had to walk to 
the factory. And there I met in the darkness — it was eerie, 
absolutely dark November--my brother-in-law. He had a 
bottle of oil, and that was my loot that I brought home. 
With this bottle of oil, I made bread, so the bread would 
stay fresh longer. It was between a bread and a cake; so 
it would stay fresh longer and wouldn't be so dry, I always 
put some oil in the bread. 

WESCHLER: To me, when I read these histories, it's incon- 
ceivable that these people could have survived at all. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I always said that I couldn't survive 
it a second time. 
WESCHLER: I'm interested in the day-to-day thing. You 


said there were rations; there was rationing? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, there was rationing. No meat. 
WESCHLER: You didn't need money to get a little bit of 
food? A little bit of food was given to everybody? How 
did that work? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, some stamps we had. 
WESCHLER: So food was distributed through stamps, not 
through money? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, no, only stamps. But there was a black 
market, of course, which the peasants made with the special 
people who found out how to make money. There was big 
black market. Those people who had connections with other 
countries, manufacturers and so forth, they could buy from the 
black market, but we couldn't because we didn't have it. 
Yes, I have to tell you about those food stamps. Also for 
meat, you had to have stamps. It was very difficult. Those 
people who were in Germany before the war, who were old 
customers of the merchants where they bought what was nec- 
essary for life, [had it easier] . We were new customers, 
so we had no possibilities sometimes; even with the stamps 
we couldn't get something because they had to keep it for 
too many people. People were standing in lines always, long 
lines around the corner, to get something to buy. 

There was a little butcher in our neighborhood, and I 
was buying there, because the big butchers didn't even look 


at me. Always they said they had nothing here, because they 
had it all under the counter, only for their old clients. 
So this little butcher woman, she was sympathetic to me, 
and I also did something for her. She liked to go to 
the theater, and my husband had always free tickets, mostly 
for the plays he directed in the theater. I gave her tickets; 
and then every week we put all the stamps together from every 
day; and at the end of the week we got a little piece of meat, 
which I let my husband eat on account of his stomach. He 
couldn't eat the bread which we had. You know the bread 
was made--there was sawdust in the bread. First they put 
potatoes in the bread, and that wasn't so bad. Then a kind 
of beets: the bread had not only no taste, it had bad 
taste with those beets. But this wasn't the worst, because 
later they filled it with sawdust. It was very bad for my 
husband's stomach, so at least once a week he had to have 
some meat. You had no choice what kind of meat you wanted, 
even if you had the money. But with those tickets for the 
theater--she liked so much the theater--! got a little bit 
of filet. It was not bigger than the interior of my hand, and 
I got that every week. For instance, I gave her tickets for 
this play of Keyserling which my husband directed. We were 
friends of all the directors, and sometimes they gave me 
tickets; I told them, "If you had not sold out, can I 
have some tickets so we can get something to eat?" VJhen this 


helped, I gave her also the tickets when my husband directed 

The Lower Depths . I thought now I have something to give 

her. Every time it was played we got two tickets. Then 

the next time I came she said, "You know, when you give 

me those kind of tickets, there is no meat. I don't want 

to see poor people. We are poor ourselves. I want plays 

with counts and princesses." 

WESCHLER: Was that during the war or during the inflation? 

FEUCHTWANGER: During the war and during the inflation, 

because later on my husband wrote himself plays and I always 

got some tickets. 

WESCHLER: Right, I see. Some other things: it sounds 

like during inflation, money literally ceased to have any 

value and things became barter economy. Does that make 


FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . One billion was what before was one 

mark. Before you had to pay four marks and twenty cents 

to buy one dollar; it was always like that in Germany. But 

now you had to have one billion marks to have the same value 

as one mark in peacetime. 

WESCHLER: At the height of the inflation, did people even 

use money at all or did they just barter? Did they just 

trade tickets for bread? Did that become primary? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not usually. Just, those who could afford 

it went to the countryside. I don't know what was in other 


cities, but I think it was a little better in Prussia 
with the living. I don't know why. Even Hilde [Waldo], 
the secretary of my husband, she tells me always that she 
had relatives who had a big estate, and she could always 
go there to get something to live. 
WESCHLER: In your case, you did leave the city. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, we were in the Bayrische Uald (Bohemia) . 
We couldn't go to the real countryside, into the Alps or so, 
because they had nothing. When you went there, they didn't 
have anything, because they sold everything to the black 
market. So we went to the Bayrische Wald; that is in 
Czechoslovakia--the Bavarian forest and Bohemian forest, 
they are called. It's one big unit of mountains with many 
forests, even with virgin forests there. We went first to 
the Bavarian side, but there was nothing to eat. So in 
those days we could go to the other side — the borders were 
open — and we went to the Bohemian side. There at least we 
got some eggs. The only thing which was there--no meat — 

were eggs. 

WESCHLER: Was there inflation there also? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, there was inflation everywhere in Europe, 

but mostly in Austria (what was Austria before) and 

Bohemia (later Czechoslovakia). They had at least eggs, 

because they had no black market, so there were at least 

eggs to buy. We ate lots of eggs in every way. The Austrians 


and Bohemians were always very good cooks (now, the 
Czechoslovakians) . They made omelettes which I had never 
eaten before, in the way they could cook it. Then they had 
raspberries; they filled them with fresh raspberries. 
It was just a treat. We made mountain climbing at the saune 
time, and there were lakes and so forth. We were very 
happy, and at least we were not hungry going to bed. 

But then my husband got a telegram from Bruno Frank; 
he said the theater wants to play one of his plays. It 
was called Die Treue Magd , The True Housemaid . And he 
wants my husband to direct the play. 
WESCHLER: This is in Munich again. 

FEUCHTWANGER: In Munich, right. A friend of Bruno Frank 
lEmmy Remolt] was a famous actress from Wiirttemberg, and he 
wrote the play for her. My husband was Bruno Frank's best 
friend in those days, so he couldn't leave him; he couldn't 
tell him, "I'm so happy here I don't want to go back." So we 
went back to Germany, and it was over again. 
WESCHLER: This winter, was it a very bad winter in terms 
of the amount of food available or was it just the economy? 
FEUCHTWANGER: The winters are always bad in Bavaria. 
WESCHLER: Was there a lack of food or was it just that the 
black market was so expensive? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was the black market. But Bavaria was 


never a very great agricultural country. Most of the flour 
came from Rumania. But all that, they couldn't afford. 

Austria later on also had a big inflation. The only good 
thing was that it was all together, all those inflations, 
so that when Austria had its inflation we could go to 
Austria and live very cheaply there. And when France had 
an inflation, we could go to France; that was much later, in 
the twenties. They had a big inflation. So the only good 
thing was it always changed from one country to the other. 
WESCHLER: What happened with the factory of Lion's family, 
that margarine factory? 

FEUCHTWANGER: They had contracts during the war for the 
army. They delivered the margarine for the army. So that 
when the German army invaded Rumania, they got all the oil 
they needed. They could also get grain from Hungaria, 
which, still with Austria, was one of our allies. So they 
always had enough to manufacture. 

WESCHLER: And during the inflation, they also had enough? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. But they were not allowed to sell it 
to private people; they had only to sell it to the army 
or the government. That's why I had to go clandestinely 
there and get from "the emperor of the margarine"--that ' s 
what I always called my brother-in-law, "the emperor" 
[laughter] --he gave me a bottle of oil. That was the loot 
which I brought home. 


WESCHLER: Was Lion's father still alive at this time? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No. It was my brother-in-law who was in 
charge. He took over the manufacture. 

WESCHLER: It occurs to me, first of all, that we better 
make a little side trip, because there is a story we want 
to tell about the death of Lion's father. 

FEUCHTWANGER: There is not much to say there, because my 
husband didn't go very often to his parents. He always 
thought that they never have forgiven him what he did a 
long time ago when they had to pay for the scandal of the 
Phoebus. He always felt unwelcome. Maybe it wasn't true, 
but he felt like that. And when his mother died we were not 
in Munich and we heard it too late. I think it was when 
his mother died. But when his father died [in January 
1916] we were in Munich, and I reraanber that my husband went 
to see him shortly before his death. And he said, "I heard 
that Reinhardt has accepted your play, Vasantasena . I 
read it, and I cannot understand how he can perform such 
a boring play." That was one of the last words he said to 
my husband, [laughter] When his mother died, we were skiing 
in the Austrian Alps when we got [the news] . 
WESCHLER: What year was that now? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't remember; it was in the beginning 
of the twenties [January 1926] . So we got the notice, the 
telegram, too late. We were at a refuge, you would call it. 


a hut in the mountains, and there was no telegraph. So 
when we came back from the mountains, we found the telegram. 
The funeral was already over, [pause in tape] 

After my father-in-law died, my mother-in-law inherited 
the whole fortune and also the factory, but her third son 
took over as the director. He was married with a very 
rich girl who was the daughter of a banker from Darmstadt 
or someplace like that near the Rhine. None of the sons 
got anything from the inheritance. If they wanted they could 
have gotten something, but they had been asked, all the 
children were asked, to leave the money in the factory so 
it would work there, and later on they would get more. That's 
what they did, also my husband, although we would have needed 
it very much because then we could have bought sonething on 
the black market. 

Then, after my mother-in-law died, I said to my husband, 
"You know, we were always not on good terms with the family. 
I think we don't want to have anything frcm the inheritance. 
We just don't want to have anything to do with the whole 
thing." My husband said, "Yes, I think you are right." 
So we lived better like that; we didn't have much money but 
at least there is no quarreling. Because they wanted to 
begin again with the [residue] from this Phoebus affair; 
they always said it has to be deducted from his inheritance. 
So he said, "I just don't want to hear anything about it 


anymore." But one day his youngest brother, the hero 

[Bertold], he came to us and said, "You know, we have 
finally divided the whole thing, and we should find out 
what everybody will get." So my husband said, "I don't 
want to have anything to do with it. I'm on good terms with 
my sisters and brothers now, and there is a peace which is 
better like that." He said, "How can you be so stupid? 
You'll get a big piece of money. Why do you refuse to do 
that?" He spoke so long so my husband said, "It's all 
right. I will do that." So after a very short time, my 
husband found out that my mother-in-law had speculated 
with this banker, who was the father-in-law of the other 
son who took over the factory, and she had lost the whole 
fortune. The stocks were in very bad shape, and there 
was nothing left anymore. Not only that, all the children 
were now responsible for all the debts. So when she 
speculated for more than she had owned, they had to pay 
for it. Finally we found out it was just even, but they 
had to pay--all the children and also my husband had to pay 
for the funeral. This was a relative, you know; that was 
the father of my husband's sister-in-law. And he insisted 
that everybody pays everything. It was when they all 
were sitting together. They found out that there was some 
little — several thousand marks were left. And one sister 
was not married--she was always at heme helping her mother, and 


she had no means to live--so everybody left what they would 
have inherited from this little sura to her. That was all 
that was left. 

WESCHLER: Which sister was this? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Bella was her name. She later on was with her 
brother Martin in Halle (that is in the middle of Germany) . 
He had a great newspaper there [the Saale Zeitung ] and 
also a kind of publishing house for articles which he dis- 
tributed to other newspapers [in the Hendel Trust], and 
she helped him there. During the Nazi time, he went to 
Prague with what he could save, what was not very much. 
She went with him and helped him there, too. Then he just 
barely escaped to Israel when the Nazis took over Czecho- 
slovakia, but she couldn't escape anymore. She said she 
stays there because she thought she was not so much in 
danger, as a woman, as was her brother. She stayed too 
long, and she was sent to Theresienstadt , the big con- 
centration camp, and there she died of typhoid fever. 
WESCHLER: Well, I suppose we should go back to the origins 
of that debacle in the Munich of the 1920s. One other 
thing I think I should ask, since you brought it up; we 
haven't mentioned Bruno Frank at all. Maybe you could talk 
a bit about him. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, Bruno Frank was a great friend of my 
husband. My husband always was very shy; he never would be 


outgoing to offer his friendship. But he met Frank 

When Frank came, he was in the army, a volunteer who 
sometimes came on furlough to the Torggelstube. 
WESCHLER: This was during the war? 

FEUCHTWANGER: During the war. Just when our friendship 
began. He came to the Torggelstube. And when he came 
there, the whole room lit up; he looked so wonderful, 
in a Ulanen uniform. It was grey with yellow and a yellow 
cap. He was very good looking, very manly, broad-shouldered 
and tall — explosive, almost, I could say, very vivacious. 
Everybody was changed when he came, really. It was the 
great world for me also. And he immediately was stricken 
by a great friendship with my husband. He was so much in 
awe of him, also, of his intelligence. He was the only 
person with whom my husband was on a first-name relation- 
ship (but he offered it to my husband). It was a very 
wonderful relationship. Frank was very cultured and very 
knowledgeable, and also he had so much understanding for 
everything in literature. One day.... 

My husband wrote this novel Jud Su_ss, I told you 
about it. But no publisher wanted to have it, because it 
had a title which was.... And also it was a big manuscript. 
It came back usually from the publishers without even 
having been opened. Then in Berlin, there was founded a 
big publishing house which was kind of like the Literary 


Guild or something, you could call it. But only one man 
had it, a very rich industrialist who wanted to do some- 
thing for culture. He founded that, and it was called the 
Volksverband der Biicherf reunde; that means "the Union of 
Lovers of Books." Bibliophiles, in a way. And he wanted 
to have novels mostly. He came to Munich, to the critic and 
the correspondent of the Berliner Tageblatt , who was a 
friend of ours; [Leonhardt] Adelt was his name. Adelt had 
been in America for a short time (he went with the Hinden- 
burg, this [zeppelin] which later was burned). He knew 
English very well, which was very rare. In those days, 
everybody learned a second language, only it was French as 
their second language. There was a great success — this 
is a long story but I have to repeat that--he heard about 
the great success of Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. He 
brought this book to Germany and translated it. And when 
this man, this great industrialist--Aschenbach was his 
name--wanted to found this publishing house, he came to see 
Adelt, who was a friend of his, or he knew him. So the 
first book of this publishing house was an American book. 
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, which Adelt translated. 
It was a great success. And this man came again to Munich 
and asked his lecturer, who was a Mr. Feder, if he could 
find some unpublished novels. But nobody had an unpublished 
novel at that time. Adelt knew that Frank was just writing 


so enthusiastic about this book that he wrote for the 
Frankfurter Zeitung and the Berliner Tageblatt just an 
enthusiastic review about it. It was first published in 
very great editions by this book society, and later it was 
published by an ordinary publisher [Kiepenheuer] . But 
Jud Siiss still had no publisher. 


JULY 15, 1975 and JULY 17, 1975 

WESCHLER: We seem to have just hit another vein of stories 
about the literary community, and this one has to do with 
Bruno Frank and Bertolt Brecht. You say that they did not 
get along very well. 

FEUCHTWA.NGER: They didn't know each other — Brecht only by 
way of our house — but I wouldn't say they didn't get along. 
There was no relationship at all. But Frank read some of his 
work — I don't know what it was, a poem or a play--and he 
said, "I just can't make anything out of it. It is for me 
Greek. I can't find the merit of it." But no discussion 
farther . 

And the same was with Thomas Mann. Thomas Mann also 
had read something of Brecht and just couldn't make any 
sense of it. Then one day somebody gave him the play Mother 
Courage , and Thomas Mann, who knew that Brecht didn't like 
him.... For instance, Brecht wrote once in Berlin, in a 
magazine, "Klaus Mann is the son of Thomas Mann. By the 
way, who is Thomas Mann?" So that was his way to treat 
Thomas Mann. I think he didn't read much of him, but he 
just didn't like him because he was successful. That was 
also a little bit this clan, which I told you, something 
which is successful cannot be good. Mann, of course, heard 


about that; there is nothing which is gossip which wouldn't 
come back to the person. So when he read that — I think it 
was Erika who understood very much and was very clever; she 
gave him the play Mother Courage — then Thomas Mann said, 
"The monster has talent." [laughter] You can read that 
everywhere in all those biographies about Brecht and Thomas 

So it was the same with Bruno Frank. And one day-- 
Brecht had his young friends, and they all were a little 
bit suspicious about his friendship with the much older 
Feuchtwanger . They thought Brecht should be a man by 
himself, not always go to Feuchtwanger to get advice or 
work with him. Brecht was a little bit impressed by this; 
at least this kind of speaking was not agreeable to him. So 
he said, "Oh, I am only a friend of Feuchtwanger because 
he helps me." Of course, this was immediately borne through 
the whole literary world of Munich, and Bruno Frank came 
to Lion and told him, " )&:>u know that Brecht says that in 
his way of friendship for you, he only uses your influence." 
Frank said, "I cannot stomach this kind of thing. It's not 
your way to be a friend of this kind of person. You have 
to make a choice: either me or Brecht." So my husband 
at first shrugged his shoulders and didn't speak much about 
it. He didn't want any quarrels with his friends; he only 
had discussions in literary things, but not personal quarrels. 


So it ended without any real ending of the whole conversation. 
Later on, my husband thought, "Maybe I speak with Brecht 
about it." He told Brecht what Frank said, and then he 
asked, "Is it true?" and Brecht said yes. And that was 
the end of it. Nobody spoke anything anymore about the 
whole thing. But my husband wrote the character [Kaspar] 
Prockl in Success [Erfolg] , and it has been influenced a 
little bit by that, I think. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I have to tell you also that when this book 
was in manuscript, my husband gave it to Brecht to read. 
We went to a North Italian lake for a vacation, and all of 
a sudden Brecht came with his wife, Helene Weigel, his 
second wife. We didn't know--we hadn't invited him — but all 
of a sudden he was there. And we made long walks together. 
Finally in the evening my husband told me, "You know, 
Brecht is very upset about this portrait. I told him that 
it is not a portrait. It's not a roman a clef; it's just 
an impression which I had from him, but only one side. It's 
not the whole Brecht." But still Brecht wanted him to 
change it. Lion said, "But it's already printed. I cannot 
change what is already printed." And Helly, his wife, went 
walking with me and she said, "But what about this novel? 
It's nonsense, the whole thing. You have to use your 
influence that Feuchtwanger has to change this Prockl. And 


this woman — she is just stupid." She was very much against 
the novel. But then my husband said, "I cannot do 
anything anymore. Even if I wanted to, it's already printed." 
Then Brecht came to me and said, "You know, your husband, 
he is always walking with us and he is a very good walker. 
I'm not very athletic, and I think he makes me tired so 
my arguments will weaken." 
WESCHLER: But the book got published. 

FEUCHTWANGER: The book got published, and their friendship 
was the same, and nothing had changed. 

WESCHLER: Yes, it survived all that. But not so much with 
Frank. With him, it was the same friendship always, but 
there was something lacking. It was not anymore this 
cordiality of the beginning. And then Frank also married, 
and his wife [Liesel] was very ambitious. She wanted him 
to be very successful; so there was not anymore the same 
friendship. They were still good friends and also here, 
but it was not the same anymore. 

WESCHLER: YOU mentioned that during the inflation Frank 
had called him back. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that was when we were in Czechoslovakia 
(Bohemia, it was then) . 

WESCHLER: Right. What kind of power did Frank have? 
FEUCHTWANGER: He had written a play, and he wanted my 
husband to direct it. 


WESCHLER: Was he at that time very popular already in 


FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he was popular, but more or less for 

his poems. He was a poet. From the war he always sent 

very patriotic poems, very beautifully worded poems for 

the Simplicissimus . [Olaf] Gulbransson, who was the great 

illustrator of this great magazine, he illustrated always 

Frank's poems with very lovely landscapes. But it was very 

patriotic and for the war. 

WESCHLER: What were Bruno Frank's political feelings after 

the war? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was very much for the revolution, of course, 

The war was lost, and he saw for himself. He came back and 

had emphysema from the war. He was in Spain when the war 

broke out, and he came back immediately as a volunteer. 

He had a friend who was a prince of Wiirttemberg. Frank was 

born in Stuttgart, which was the capital of Wiirttemberg, and 

the Herzog von Urach was a friend of his. So he went to this 

Duke of Urach and told him, "I don't want to go into the 

infantry and be trained and coached; I want to go to the 

front right away. I couldn't stand to be this kind of 

soldier." The duke had a great influence and said, "Yes, 

you can be a cavalry man who brings telegrams — a messenger — 

and there you don't need any training." And that's what he 

did. But in the cold winter he had to ride against the wind 


in Belgium, and this cold wind gave him emphysema and 
asthma. So he was released then from the service and lived 
in Munich and wrote. He began to write novels. His greatest 
was much later, the book A Man Called Cervantes [German 
title: Cervantes] . It was a best seller here. 
WESCHLER: I want to get back to Munich again around the 
time of the inflation and so forth. The other event which 
is taking place — we have been talking about things that 
were leading to the Nazis, of course — was the French in- 
vasion of the Ruhr valley. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, but if you want to know more about the 
beginning of the "V hole thing, you have to know about the 
printing of Jud Suss , because this novel had a great 
influence on the Nazis. 

WESCHLER: Okay. You want to do that first? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . But that is also another story, like 
Kipling always says. My husband was called by a great 
publisher who was a very rich man, an Austrian who had the 
greatest bank in Austria [the Alpine Montan Bank] and 
also big factories, and his hobby was publishing. He 
had a palace in Munich, and there he had a publishing house 
and had all the money you wanted for this publishing house. 
The director of this publishing house was a count, because the 
publisher wouldn't do that without a count. That was the way he 
wanted to live. My husband had been asked, because he had 

4 91 

a good name as a critic, to look for plays in foreign 

languages which could be played in Germany. Translated — 

my husband could also translate if he wanted, but most of all 

he was to be a kind of scout in foreign languages. Since 

he read Italian and French and English, so he began to 

read. And he had a very good contract for that. In a 

way it was our salvation, since we could now buy some 

better food. After a year or so (it was not quite a year), 

he had read so many plays in other languages — and I did 

also because I too read other languages — there was just 

no play which could be translated for the German stage. So 

he went to this man and said, "I'm so sorry, Mr. Sobotka. 

I didn't find a play, and it's somewhat painful for me, or 

snbarrassing, that I take always the money every month 

and I couldn't do anything." This man said, "Yes, it's 

true; that is not very practical." {I think the contract 

was for three years.) He said, "Didn't you write a novel?" 

My husband said, "Yes, I wrote a novel." He said, "I know 

that it hasn't been printed yet, and I haven't read it — 

my director has looked at it, but he said it was nothing 

for my publishing house — but still if you want to, we can 

dissolve our three-year contract, and instead as compensation 

we will print your book." Which he hadn't read. My 

husband was, of course, very happy that this book would finally 

be printed. (Years later, [S. Fischer], the owner of the 


greatest publishing house, S. Fischer Verlag, came to see 
my husband. We lived already in Berlin. My husband 
had an appendectomy, so he visited him in the hospital. 
And he said, "You had such a big success with your Jud 
Suss. Why didn't you give it to us?" And my husband said, 
"I sent it to you but it came unopened back.") So that 
was the story of Jud Siiss . 

It was the use always to pay an advance, which was 
very fortunate. Always in the last moment there came 
something [to help us survive] . One day, I was fixing 
the rolling stove we had which you could roll from one 
room to the other. It was a cold night, and I had just 
cleaned it out--we had no maid, nobody of course to help-- 
and I was all black from the soot when the telephone rang. 
[It was] very early in the morning at seven o'clock. I 
went to the telephone with my black hand — the telephone, 
everything was black--and it was Mr. Sobotka, the owner 
of the publishing house, this great industrialist. He 
said, "You know, your husband cost me a whole night's sleep. 
I read the manuscript. I couldn't lay it down. I had to 
read it from beginning to the end, and I just finished it. 
It ' s a great book, and I'm so happy that I can publish it." 
WESCHLER: Was he himself Jewish? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . He was an Austrian Jew, married to 
a Gentile. I don't know if he was converted; he was absolutely 


not interested in Jewish things usually. He just found 
the novel so interesting. His director — the Count Damen 
was his name — he was very unhappy about the whole thing. 
And this publishing house, it was the first novel they 
printed, because until then they only published plays. 
WESCHLER: What was the name of the publishing house? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Drei Masken Verlag . You know, from the 
three masks of the theater — drama, comedy, and I don't 
know the third. 

WESCHLER: What I think I would like to do — it's getting 
a little bit late today. I think we should continue on 
Thursday with Jud Suss . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, and Jud Siiss was, of course, a novel 
which the Nazis hated most on account of its world success. 
But they then used the novel, and they turned it all around 
as an anti-Semitic film. 

WESCHLER: Okay. We'll talk in detail about that in the 
next session. We'll be able to do it justice. 

JULY 17, 1975 

WESCHLER: We are going to start today with some more 
Munich stories and then proceed to other things. First 
of all, you have two more stories about Wedekind. These 
are about Wedekind and his children. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, one day Erich Miihsam asked Wedekind 


why he gave his daughters such funny names. One daughter 

[was Anna Pamela, and the other] had the name Fanny \ 

Kadija. So Wedekind said, "You know, I thought if she 

marries a nice man and would be a good housewife, then 

Fanny would be appropriate; but if, against all expectations, 

she becomes a whore, then Kadija would be of great value." 

Then, later on, when he was already dead, the two daughters 

had a fight once with the mother and Kadija — who was here 

visiting with me; she told me the story — answered her mother, 

"What do you want? You were only his wife, but we 

are his flesh and blood!" [laughter] She looks so much 

like her father. She is also very gifted as a writer. 

WESCHLER: You had some other stories about Brecht and 

Caspar Neher on vacation. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , that was in the beginning of our 

acquaintance. He sent us a picture postcard from the 

Bavarian Alps. 

WESCHLER: Who was he with on vacation? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was with Caspar Neher, the painter who 

made all the sets; he also made beautiful illustrations for 

Lion's book Pep . And the third one was Mullereisert ; 

he was a young doctor. Brecht wrote, "We are wandering so 

much around and it is so hot that at night, when we go to 

bed, I can just stand my trousers beside my bed, they are 

so stiff from the sweat." Also he wrote that it is very 


cheap because he is singing to the guitar, so he is always 

welcome with the peasants. They got shelter and food. Caspar 

Neher made drawings of the people, and Mullereisert treats 

them when they have ailments. So that was very satisfactory. 

WESCHLER: The early summers of Bertolt Brecht. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. [pause in tape] 

WESCHLER: Today, we're finally going to get to the Hitler 

Putsch. I wanted to set up the background, because you, 

living in Munich, were perhaps among the first Germans 

to have an awareness of Hitler. (Off tape we've already told 

some stories of those early awarenesses.) You might start 

with how you first began to know of him. 

FEUCHTWANGER: The first I knew of him was fron the placards 

against him from his own comrades when he founded the party. 

They immediately had a fallout, and you could see on the 

street corners big placards about "The traitor Hitler who 

betrays the Nazi party," and that he doesn't do what they 

have concluded, mostly the abolishment of the money. 

There was one man [Gottfried Feder] who was a fanatic Nazi 

because he had found out that money should be abolished. 

That was the first thing I heard about Hitler, when I 

saw this placard against him from his own comrades. 

WESCHLER: This was before the Hitler Putsch. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, that was before he was Hitler, you could 

say. Before anybody else knew about him. 


WESCHLER: What was your general sense of him at that time? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Everybody laughed about this. There was 
a newspaper already much before which was kind of a pre- 
paration for the Nazi movement, the Volkischer Beobachter . 
It was very anti-Semitic from the beginning, a very down- 
to-earth, almost a peasant kind of mentality. After the 
close of their shops you could see all the Jewish merchants 
going around with their Volkischer Beobachter under their 
arm, waiting for the tram or streetcar and reading there 
what has been told about then. But nobody took it seriously, 
They laughed about it. They thought it was a kind of 
insanity. But they wanted to read it, of course. They 
were the best customers for this newspaper, these Jewish 
merchants. [laughter] So it began already like that. 
It was a preparation for the Nazis. 

WESCHLER: But then Hitler was at the coffee house which 
was next door to yours. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was a funny thing. He liked to be 
around artists, although he pretended to hate then. So 
when the whole artistic population of Munich moved into 
apartments or rooms in Schwabing and also frequented the 
inns there, there were two little wine pubs next door to 
the avant-garde theater. We were usually in the Pfalzische 
Weinstube, this Palantine Weinstube; and the other was the 
Greek wine restaurant. They were much alike, but they had 


different kind of clientele. And mostly in the Greek 
restaurant there was always Hitler sitting there. But he 
wasn't noticed very much; just somebody said that Hitler 
sits there. That was all. 

WESCHLER: Did he already have his characteristic mustache? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that's why everybody knew him imme- 
diately. That was the only thing. But nobody noticed him 
very much. 

WESCHLER: Was that an unusual mustache? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Absolutely unusual. Only Charlie Chaplin 
had it before. But I don't think that Hitler knew about 
Chaplin; it was just his way. You know, he was from Austria, 
and I think he wanted to be a Prussian. He thought tha-t 
it looks more Prussian, more energetic. 

Then there was also a coffee house in the Hofgarten, 
which was in the middle of Munich, formerly a part of 
the castle which was called the Residenz. This was a garden 
which was a rather big park in a square, and in the middle 
was a little temple like from a rococo or baroque time, 
and around it was a wall with arcs. In bad weather you could 
promenade inside, with murals in it. On one side were 
little coffee shops. And in summer they had their tables 
outside, way in the garden. When the first spring came and 
the first sun came out, everybody met there. It was this 
light green which was so typical for vegetation in Munich 


with a light blue sky. It was an atmosphere like Florence 
in the air. And there we were all sitting. Everybody who 
could afford had a new dress for the spring, and we were 
sitting there--mostly at first the people from the Torggel- 
stube, and later also the people who lived then in Schwabing. 
We had two tables where everybody knew each other. Also 
people from the newspapers and correspondents of the 
Berliner Tageblatt . 

At the next table was sitting Pfitzner, Hans Pfitzner, 
the composer and conductor, whom I admired very much. I 
knew him better as a conductor. When you looked at him, 
he looked rather sinister, small--not very small, but 
he looked small because he was so thin and went a little 
hunched. He had a fanatic face, always very serious; 
I think I never saw him laugh, or I even don't know if he 
could laugh. But when I saw him conducting, I was enormously 
impressed: his Fanatismus , which you could see in his face, 
came out in the best way. I was not a great critic of 
music, but I just felt it immediately. It was hypnotic 
almost. (At the same time, [Felix] Weingartner, the famous 
Weingartner, also conducted in Munich.) And at this table 
was not only Pfitzner but also a Mr. Kossmann, who had 
before a periodical which was called the Suddeutsche 
Monatshefte ; that means the Monthly Periodical of 
Southern Germany. It was very important but didn't get much 


money, so they had to close it down. And the third person 

was Hitler, because Kossmann was a great admirer of Hitler. 

Also Pfitzner was a German nationalist, like Wagner 

in his way. Kossmann was not a National Socialist, but 

he was very nationalistic and patriotic. He hated 

everybody who wouldn't run to war as a volunteer--but he 

didn't. This was during the war, what I tell now. And 

the third one was Hitler. Everybody knew who he was, that 

he was a rabble rouser, something like that. Also by this 

newspaper, which I told, the Volkischer Beobachter which 

meant the Racial Observer , the "volkish" observer. And 

once my husband was struggling with his coat--it became cold; 

it was the first days of spring--and this man Hitler jumped 

up and helped him into his coat. My husband had blue eyes 

and blond hair, so he didn't recognize him as a Jew. 

WESCHLER: How was he like at that point, to be sitting at 

a table next to him? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He didn't look like anything, except for this 

comical little mustache. Nobody would have noticed him, 

only that was a little comical. But even with that, he could 

have been a clerk in a grocery. 

WESCHLER: Was he loud at the table? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh no. No, no. Not at all. Very quiet. 

Rather awkward, I could say. And the only intellectual at 

the table who you could see speaking was Kossmann. And this 


man Kossmann was Jewish. He was so reactionary and so 
supernational that he admired Hitler and Pfitzner. After- 
wards, he supported Hitler in every way, but Hitler not- 
withstanding had him killed in a concentration camp. 
Pfitzner abandoned this kind of mentality and was very 
upset about the Nazis when they came to power. He didn't 
even notice them anymore. He retired entirely from this 
whole movement. That's what I heard. We were not there 

WESCHLER: How did the Nazis treat him? 

FEUCHTWAfCER: Oh, he was not Jewish; they didn't do any- 
thing to him. Also he did not attack than; he was just 
retiring. He was so upset that he even — I don't think that 
he composed very much afterwards. I would not know when 
he died; maybe he died only at the beginning of the Hitler 
movement; I don't rematiber. I have to look it up. [d. 
Salzburg, 1949] 

WESCHLER: I suppose we should begin to talk about the way 
in which Hitler stopped being such a laughable character. 
Because things begin to get dangerous. 

WESCHLER: Now, in the history books the event which in 
addition to the Versailles Treaty and the inflation is 
credited with giving Hitler something to talk about, was the 
invasion of the Ruhr by the French. 


FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. That's true. 

WESCHLER: How did the people of Munich that you were 
with and in general — how did they react to that? 
FEUCHTWANGER: But everybody was upset about the invasion 
of the Ruhr. They were all patriotic. In a way, you 
cannot blame them. They were Germans. Of course, there 
were differentiations. Some people, for instance like 
Muhsain--and also others, I wouldn't say only Muhsain--found 
that it was all right: when people have begun a war, and 
such a bloody war, without any reason, then they should 
also pay for it. I was one of them. I always said that 
I think it is necessary that those who lost the war and 
began the war, they should pay for it. Even though we 
suffered more than many other people. Our money was gone, 
and the money which my husband earned was not of value 
anymore when he got it because it went through the different 
[intermediaries]. First the theater paid it to the publisher- 
that was a month after the performance always — and then the 
publisher a month afterwards paid my husband. That was in 
the contract in those days. When my husband got, let's 
say, about $2,000 from one performance, when he finally 
got it, he could not even buy a piece of bread for that. So 
we really suffered. But my idea was only peace. I was 
a militant pacifist, and I thought we are part of Germany 
and we have to pay, too, even if we were against the war. 


Because that may be the only means to abolish war. 
WESCHLER: Well, in what ways did Hitler first begin to 
seem a political force in the city? I'm talking about the 
days before the Putsch. 

FEUCHTNANGER: He held big speeches in the beer cellars. 
They were enormous buildings, mostly — some were in the hands 
of the Catholic monks. They brewed the beer, many Catholic 
monks. The Augustine order and so. And some were in 
the hands of Jews, some of those beer cellars. And Hitler 
used the one of a Jewish proprietor. The man who owned 
that didn't know anything about the whole thing. It was 
the Lion Brew Cellar [Eiirgerbrau Keller], and here he had 
an enormous audience. There is one thing which my husband 
always said was the only clever thing which Hitler ever 
wrote in his Mein Kampf ("My Struggle " ) . He wrote a terrible 
German, you know; you almost could not understand it. When 
you want to understand him you have to read the English 
translation. [laughter] But he had also some help. But 
I wouldn't blame him for that: he had not much money and 
was not a good student. But in this book, he said he tried 
to go from one factory to the other to speak with 
the workmen during their lunch break. Then he saw that 
people were not interested; they didn't even listen to 
him. They were interested in — they were hungry and they 
knew they had to go back to work. But then he tried it in 


the evening, first in smaller buildings. Thus he found 
out how much easier it was to get in contact, to have an 
impact. He found out that the reason was that the workmen 
were tired, and their criticism would be dulled. He could 
hypnotize them, in a way. He could speak to them, and 
his voice and the way he spoke to them was effectful. Also, 
what is more my opinion, the people in Germany like to be 
spoken to. Sometimes he gave them hell, but the more he 
gave them hell, the more they liked it. This was a little 
bit what Hitler--he was Catholic, and he knew this tradition 
from the Church. He shouted enormously about their own 
faults they committed, and that they allowed the rich 
people or the Jews to do all those things, and that the war 
was lost not because of the military or because the soldiers 
were not very courageous, but rather because there was a 
stab in the back from those in the hinterland. And all 
those things--that went in like honey to those people who 
were tired. Here was one who cared for them, who tells 
them what it is, and who promises to make everything better. 
They had no critic at all. Even from the beginning, the 
Germans are not very critical in any political way; maybe 
they have changed now, but in those days they didn't care 
anything about politics. They liked to work and they liked 
music and they liked to read. They were good readers; 


they bought books — even workmen bought books. They read 
also the newspaper. But they wanted to be left in peace 
with their beer stein, reading and sitting and smoking maybe. 
That was all they wanted. 

WESCHLER: Did you attend any of Hitler's rallies? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was impossible. My husband was known; 
everybody would have recognized him and beaten him imme- 
diately. They didn't care what happened afterwards. Also, 
[the government was] very mild against all the crimes of 
the Nazis. But no Jews would dare to go inside. 
WESCHLER: Did you talk to anyone who did attend then? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, we spoke with the correspondent of the 
Berliner Tageblatt . He told us about how great the reception 
was and how big the impact was. And he himself was im- 
pressed. It was so funny: we were very good friends. 
WESCHLER: What was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Leonhardt Adelt. He was the one who told us 
later that we should take his bicycles and flee because the 
station was already. . . . 

WESCHLER: We'll get to that in a second. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. The Adelts were very hospitable and 
wonderful; when they got something somewhere to eat, they 
always invited us. They had family in America, I think, 
and got things sent, and always they shared with us. But 
when he spoke about how he was at one of these meetings in 


the beer cellar and what an impact Hitler had, how he thought 
that he is dangerous but most of all how he found him to 
be an effectual speaker, I thought that anything what was 
spoken about Hitler which could be taken in any way as a 
praise, this man who did that could only be an anti-Semite. 
I jumped up and said, "You are an anti-Semite like everybody 
else!" And I ran away in the middle of the meal. 
WESCHLER: And meals were hard to come by in those days. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja, that's true. My husband was very 
CTibarrassed, but he followed me, of course; he didn't let me 
go alone. He said that he didn't think that Adelt meant 
it so personally in this way; he thought that I had mis- 
understood him. So the next day his wife called me and 
said, "My husband couldn't sleep the whole night, that you 
could think he could be an anti-Semite. You know how much 
he likes you and how much I like you. But still he apolo- 
gizes when he saw that you could be offended by what he 
said." So we were reconciled. I think I was wrong. It 
was just because — maybe I was too young. But I wasn't so 
young anymore.... 

WESCHLER: I don't think that anybody can be criticized 
for being very sensitive about that issue, even in retro- 
spect . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. But my husband was more objective, 
and also he knew that Ad^lt could not be an anti-Semite 


even though he was not Jewish. 

WESCHLER: How did the Bavarian press in general treat 

FEUCHTWANGER: They were afraid, I think. Also the Bavarian 
press was very reactionary anyway; after the Rater eg ierung , 
they became to be very reactionary. They were glad that 
somebody was there. They were mostly Catholics; the most 
important newspaper, the Miinchner Neusten Nachrichten , was 
very Catholic. 

WESCHLER: I assume there were groups that were already crit- 
ical of Hitler very early on. What would you say the centers 
of criticism were, if not the press? 

FEUCHTWANGER: There was no center of criticism. You had 
friends, and they spoke about him. But there was no center 
and no opposition. We didn't know many socialists, because 
the socialists were not very obvious, you know. Somebody 
could be a socialist without his friends knowing that he 
was. So everybody was — but they were not very upset. They 
just didn't take him seriously. 

WESCHLER: Do you think that he began to be taken more 
seriously around the time of the Putsch, or do you think that 
even at the time of the Putsch...? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. You know, when you have read my husband's 
book. Success — he ridiculed the whole thing, although my 
husband maybe exaggerated because he wanted to make him more 


ridiculous. He thought — there is a proverb which says, 
"Ridiculousness kills." He believed in that. He thought 
that maybe like Aristophanes, the Greek playwright, who 
was also antiwar and made fun of the military--TOaybe in a 
way he was inspired by Aristophanes and thought he makes 
him more ridiculed. 

But the whole Putsch was ridiculous because it was made 
up with so much fanfare and then.... He became all of a 
sudden also anti-Catholic, because he said that 
they didn't follow him enough. Also his religion was heathen; 
he was more for the Germanic gods. So, on one side at the 
Feldherrnhalle, which was like the Hall of the Lanzi in 
Florence (it's called the Hall of the Field Marshal), 
many people met on Sundays for the concert. It was also 
a place where all the students had their meetings on Sundays 
with their colored hats, their fraternities which wore 
different colors. 

[On the morning of the Putsch] , Hitler met and Hitler 
marched together with Ludendorff , who was the field marshal 
during the war, and with all his followers. I don't think 
that [Joseph] Goebbels was there already. But all of a 
sudden one of the officers, a colonel of the guard, shouted, 
"Stop." They didn't stop but went on to go to the Residenz, to 
the castle. Three times they were told to stop, and they 
didn't stop. So the soldiers had to shoot. When the shooting 


began — I think they shot more in the air than at the people — 
then Hitler and Ludendorff threw themselves dovm on the ground. 
Of course, it was the only sensible thing to do when 
somebodj^ shoots at you. But it was so ridiculous because 
the build-up was so enormously pompous, and all of a sudden 
this man Ludendorff, who thought himself like a god, they 
threw themselves down instead of standing there like heroes. 
So that made the whole thing so ridiculous. The whole thing 
was off. Absolutely off. 

WESCHLER: How did you hear about this? Were you an eye- 

FEUCHTWANGER: We heard everything from Adelt. Oh, no, we 
couldn't be there. It was shooting, and Jews were not 

WESCHLER: So how did you hear it? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Adelt told us. He was of course from the 
press, and these people had a special place somewhere in a 
house where they could see from above. Adelt called us and 
told us the whole story. "It's off," he said. "The whole 
thing is off." Then they were arrested. And I think somebody 

WESCHLER: Just before that, you had told me the story about 
being called in the middle of the night. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I have to find out when that was. I 
think it was the night before the Putsch. Adelt called us 


in the middle of the night — it was two or three o'clock — 
and told my husband, "You know. Hitler makes a Putsch, 
and he is already arresting people, mostly merchants, 
important merchants, and mostly Jewish people. They are going 
from one street to the other. They are very near -to-jwhere , 
you live, and you cannot go to the station anymore because the 
station is in the hands of the Nazis. You come to me" — he 
lived farther out in Schwabing — "and take the bicycles and 
leave the town." But my husband said, "Oh, I'm much too 
tired," and turned around and slept. Adelt couldn't under- 
stand; he just couldn't understand that somebody could behave 
like that. But the next morning he said, "You were right. 
It's already over." 

WESCHLER: Did Lion even tell you what the phone call was 
about that night? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, we had a big double bed together, so 
I knew what happened. I asked, "What is it?" and he 
said, "Oh, Adelt said we should take the bicycles, but 
I don't even think about it." 
WESCHLER: Were you worried about it though? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, I always was of the same opinion what 
he was. I thought he knew better than I. 

Then Hitler was arrested and Ludendorff was arrested. 
I don't know where they brought Hitler, probably into a 
jail or something. But Ludendorff, because he was a field 


marshal, he was conducted into the Residenz, which was 
nearby, across the street. 

WESCHLER: That's where he had been marching anyway. 
FEUCTHWANGER: Ja, and there was a man who was already 
arrested the night before by the Nazis. He was a big 
perfume merchant, very elegant. He was famous in the whole 
of Europe. He was picked up also because he was Jewish. 
His name was Talmessinger. It was a name we didn't know: 
he wasn't Bavarian--he didn't belong to us because he was 
no Bavarian--he was just rich. But he was picked up and 
put in the big residential hall where the crowning usually 
took place. And there he was sitting, this little Jew, 
sitting on a chair, when Ludendorff came in. Ludendorff 
said, "What are you doing here? It is I who am arrested 
here. Out with you." So Talmessinger was very glad to 
go. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: We should note, by the way, that this is a 
correction of an earlier version we told of this story.* 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it's true. I had confounded it with 
another man. 

WESCHLER: But this is the time this actually happened. In 
addition to being farcical, however, the Nazis were.... 
FEUCHTWANGER: They were not farcical for everybody. Only 
for my husband. I must say that everybody else was more 
afraid of Hitler than my husband was. Because my husband 
always said tha t when somebody is so unintelligent, he cannot 
* See Tape VIII, Side One. 


be dangerous. But he was mistaken. There is something which 
is difficult to explain, his impact on the people. I tried 
to explain it, but I don't know if it was the right way. 
V7ESCHLER: It's something that will take an awful lot of 
witnesses to talk about it. Nothirg really accounts for it 


JULY 17, 1975 

WESCHLER: We are in the middle of the Beer Hall Putsch 
in Munich in 1923. We were just talking about how other 
people besides Lion experienced the coming of the Nazis, 
and a good example is Bruno Walter. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Bruno Walter was himself very nationalist. 
He was in no way involved in any revolution; even, I think, 
he was a monarchist. 

WESCHLEIR: He was himself Jewish and had converted? 
FEUCHTWANGER: He was Jewish, but he was converted long 
ago. I think already his parents had converted. He was 
from Austria, from Vienna. No, in Vienna he was the con- 
ductor, but I think he was born in Berlin. 
WESCHLER: And when had he come to Munich? 
FEUCHTWANGER: He came to Munich after the death of Felix 
Mottl, who was a very great conductor. He was accepted in 
Munich only because he was converted to Catholicism. 
WESCHLER: Parenthetically, you had told a story about 
Mahler. . . . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that was long before. Mahler was called 
to be a conductor. That was before Mottl; they wanted 
Mahler. He was very famous. He came back from America 
or so, and they wanted him. They didn't know probably that 


he was Jewish. He was Jewish, but also he was converted. 
But when somebody found out in Munich that he was Jewish, 
they immediately canceled the contract. Then Felix Mottl 
came and when he died, the times had a little bit changed; 
the didn't find anybody who was good enough for them, so 
they called Bruno Walter, who was a student of Gustav 
Mahler. Walter was really a demigod in Munich as a con- 
ductor. He was so venerated and also he was so gifted, 
and his Mozart was outstanding when he conducted the Mozart 
operas. He was the general director. Everything was "general" 
in Germany, so he was the director-general of the opera, 

WESCHLER: What circles did he circulate in? Was he part 
of the Schwabing group? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was a friend of Thomas Mann. Both were 
nationalistic in those days. His wife was an English lady 
who was also Gentile, and he had two daughters. One of 
than committed suicide later. She was very gifted, that one 
who committed suicide. I think it was about a man, I think 
a love story. 

As I say, the theater was always sold out when he 
conducted. But the Nazis hated him because they said he was 
Jewish. They didn't consider it a religion; for them it 
was a race. When he conducted, they came in with rotten 
eggs and tomatoes and threw them at him during the performance. 


So he recognized that he couldn't stay there any longer. 
But it was a terrible — what shall I say? — tragedy for him, 
because he loved Munich, he loved the theater. He had 
built up the orchestra. But he was immediately called to 
Berlin. So he fell upstairs. 

WESCHLER: At that time in Berlin there was no Nazi problan 

FEUCHTWANGER: Not at all. It was Goebbels who made that in 
Berlin later. 

WESCHLER: Ironically, it ' s a situation where these great 
people in the provinces are going to be fleeing the provinces 
and going to Berlin, often because of the Nazis. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Heinrich Mann left very early; Brecht left 
very early in those times. They both wrote my husband-- 
raostly Brecht always wrote — "You cannot stay in Munich. This 
has become a small country town. Only in Berlin can you 
live. Everything is alive here." And finally we gave in. 
WESCHLER: Can you give us some particular stories about the 
leavings? Why did Brecht leave in particular? Just the 
general mood, or were there particular incidents with him? 
FEUCHTWANGER: It was partly the general mood, but it was 
also because the theater was in those days very exciting 
in Berlin. First it was Munich which was so exciting, and 
then Berlin took over. There was Reinhardt and Jessner 
and [Viktor] Barnowsky, those three people. 


But I have to tell you something else about what 
happened in those times. Only, I don't remember the 
chronicle following. It must have been after the Putsch. 
There was a friend of Hitler, Colonel [Ernst] Rohm, and 
he was a kind of barbaric Bavarian, a rough type. He 
founded--! don't know if he founded it--but anyway it 
was a kind of commandos. In the morning many times 
there were bodies, dead bodies floating in the Isar. 
That was all Rohm's people who did that. People who 
were not popular--he was very like those medieval Landsknecht , 
those knights who ran around and were so barbaric. After 
the Hitler Putsch--this killing of the people was before 
the Hitler Putsch--he escaped to South America, and 
there he introduced National Socialism, which is still 
prevailing there in many ways. It's not very much anti- 
Semitic, but many of the dictators in South America, like 
[General Alfredo] Stroessner in Paraguay or so, they are 
all disciples of Rohm. 

WESCHLER: And this was in the twenties that he 

FEUCHTWANGER: This was in the twenties. He left when he 
was in danger of being arrested. He fled to South America. 
Later he came back. And when Hitler came to power.... 
Hitler was very intimate with him, but when Hitler needed 
money for his movement--it was about 1932-33--he went to 


the big industrialists, the heavy industry people for money. 

They told hira, "Yes, we are willing and ready to give you 

money to finance your movement, but you have to get rid of 

this Rohm; he is too socialistic." Because the movonent 

was national socialistic . They said they would not give the 

money before he got rid of hira. So Hitler went back to 

Munich and killed Rohm. Nobody knows exactly how he was 

killed, but that he was killed there is no doubt. It 

has never been negated. Some say that Hitler personally 

shot him. Others say it was his hangman who did it. I 

don't think that Hitler would have done it himself; he 

was not courageous enough. I think Rohm would have just 

laughed in his face when Hitler would have come in with 

a gun. [laughter] 

^VESCHLER: What about some of the other Nazis who were 

already beginning to get on the bandwagon? Rudolf Hess 

was already in the Munich days. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't remember him. I never heard about 

him then. Also not about Goebbels, before we were in Berlin. 

But we left for Berlin in 1925. 

WESCHLER: Were there any other Nazis at that point who 

were prominent in the movement besides Hitler and Rohm? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't remember, I know more those who 

were in a way so terribly disappointed because.... There 

was [Richard] Willstatter: he was a great chariist who got 


the Nobel Prize. He was also, like Bruno Walter, so 
nationalistic and his pride was to be German. He also 
had, of course, to flee the country. He later was great 
man of the Rockefeller Institute. But those were--much 
more than anybody else, they were impressed, or I should 
say shocked by these Nazis, because in so many ways they 
had the same ideas as Hitler; except they were not anti- 
Semitic because they were Jews themselves. 
WESCHLER: How did Thomas Mann respond? 
FEUCHTWANGER: When Hitler came to power? 
WESCHLER: No. In Munich, in the early days. 
FEUCHTWANGER: In the early days, we didn't know him very 
well. But we knew Bruno Frank, who was our friend and 
also Thomas Mann's friend; and we could know, of course, 
that Thomas Mann had a Jewish wife, and his father-in-law 
and mother-in-law were Jewish, so it was very natural how 
he reacted. But even without that, he would have reacted 
against the Nazis. I think that was already the beginning 
of the changing of his attitude. 

WESCHLER: He found that his attitudes had very, very 
strange bedfellows. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , that's true. It's amazing: I never 
could understand anybody who was a nationalist — I was myself, 
when I was young, a nationalist — but I could not understand 
that somebody could be for war. That he was for the kaiser 


and for the war against France--this I never could 


WESCHLER: We've talked about some specific Jews and how 

they responded. The Jewish community in Munich was the 

first community which had to cope with Nazis.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know, because we were in Berlin then. 

WESCHLER: But in 192 3, at the time of the Putsch. 

FEUCHTWAMGER: We had not much to do with the community. 

We knew Jews, but the community itself was a religious 


WESCHLER: Do you think most of them were like the ones 

who bought the paper and laughed at him, or do you think 

there was a real sense of danger? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, they laughed at him, but at the same 

time, in their bones — although it was maybe a hundred 

years before that that the last pogroms were — but in their 

bones they must always have felt that sometimes there would 

be pogroms. That's why they were so anxious not to be too 

obvious; for example, the thing with my husband when he 

had the Phoebus scandal, that the parents paid immediately, 

only so that nothing would come in the newspaper. 

WESCHLER: How did the members of Lion's family, for example, 

which was an Orthodox family, react? 

FEUCHTWANGER: This had nothing to do with Orthodoxy. 

WESCHLER: I'm trying to get a sense of how different 

groups in Munich responded to the Putsch. 


FEUCHTWANGER: They didn't "respond" to the Putsch. 
Everybody was glad that it was over. And before, they 
didn't know much about it. Except the Volkischer Beobachter , 
this paper, they didn't know much about the Nazis. Nobody 
went to the meetings — it was so different; it was another 
world. Nobody thought about that. It's the same as the 
Catholics went to church: the others went to Hitler. They 
didn't pay much attention to the whole thing. 
WESCHLER: Would it be fair to say that after the Putsch 
was over, most people assumed that that was the last thing 
you were going to be hearing of Hitler? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, absolutely, of course. He was sent 
to jail. But they let him off earlier than he had to stay 
there, and he was allowed to write this book in jail. But 
they said somebody helped him to write it. Of course, 
everybody was shocked that he was released earlier. But 
as I tell you, we were not in Munich anymore, so I don't 
know what happened in Munich. 

WESCHLER: Let's talk a little bit about why you left Munich, 
and then we'll come back and talk a bit more about the books. 
FEUCHTWANGER: I think we wouldn't have left Munich on 
account of Hitler. There were other reasons. For instance, 
the tax people: they came all the time and wanted to know 
more about our finances. We were impoverished like everybody 
else, except those who were black marketeers, by the inflation, 


So they came to our apartment and said that my husband did 
not pay enough taxes. I said, "We pay what we have." They 
said, "For instance, for this play you got 50,000 marks." 
I said, "Yes, but what can you buy for 50,000 marks?" 
They said, "That's no difference, marks are marks. You 
have to pay. You are always with one foot in jail be- 
cause you didn't pay your taxes." (But with 50,000 marks, 
you couldn't buy a pound of butter in those days. It was 
before the greatest inflation; it was in the middle of the 
inflation. Later it was in the billions, you know.) 
I said, "Yes, but you cannot say we have the money. I 
have money; I have some stocks, but they have risen, and 
even if I wanted to sell them, I can't buy anything with 
the money I get." So he said, "Yes, but we don't care. I 
will tell you something," said one of those officials. "If 
you were not born in Munich, we would have thrown you out 
a long time ago." They could not expel us out of Munich 
because we were both born there. 

But they expelled other people, and this was a great 
scandal. Also there was a great businessman who sold very 
elegant linen and mostly embroidered linen, very expensive 
things, beautiful embroideries. This family came originally 
from Austria. Their name was Rosenberg, and they had two 
beautiful daughters; one was married to a nobleman. The shop was 
a kind of curiosity for everybody who came to Munich, to 


see what beautiful things you can buy there. The owner did a 
very good thing: those girls who were prostitutes were 
taken in by a monastery, by a convent; they made those 
embroideries, and he paid then very well. It was because 
nobody else could have had the time to do those very com- 
plicated embroideries, and the nuns--it was called the 
Convent of the Good Shepherd--were very glad with this whole 
constellation. But then, all of a sudden, the man was 
expelled with his family and his shop was closed — because 
he was from Austria and he was Jewish. That was all. If he 
had done something, they would have sent him to jail. It 
was just that he was Jewish, That was already before Hitler 
came to power, the influence of the Nazis. The convent of 
the nuns, the Good Shepherd, had to close down, and the 
poor girls were all in the street because they had nobody 
anymore to buy their merchandise. 

WESCHLER: So this harassment was one of the reasons. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that was very much. And also — didn't 
I tell about this Mrs. Deutsch who was then expelled? 
You know, when this policeman said, "Sit down, I 'm a 
married man"? 
WESCHLER: Oh yes, right. 

FEUCHTWANGER: This lady had to leave Munich also. And 
her husband — I don't know if they were married, but they 
lived together--was a young aristocrat, very good 


looking, and when he came to say goodbye (because he was 
going also to Berlin, where Mrs. Deutsch lived), he said, 
"Go to the window." We went to the window, and there were 
two men standing there. Typical like detectives. Every- 
where and in every country you can recognize the detectives. 
Either they have a trench coat or — those had hard hats. 
Anyway, he said, "You know, they follow me everywhere; 
they followed me also to your house." And really the 
next day they came, and it was those tax people. So it 
was already harassment. Because this man — Renato von 
Hollander was his narae--was at our house, we were already 
suspicious and they harassed us. My husband said, "With 
one foot you are already in jail if you just exist here." 
Because when they say that a mark is a mark, even when it's 
devalued in this way, and so it is a crime if you don't 
pay the taxes. 

WESCHLER: What were some of the positive reasons why you 
went to Berlin? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The first was, of course, Brecht. Every 
week came a letter saying, "You have to come to Berlin. 
Munich is becoming a provincial town. There is too much 
censorship." (Not censorship, but nobody dared to do 
anything anymore.) He said, "You cannot live anymore in this 
atmosphere." Then Heinrich Mann also said so, and so we 
finally went to Berlin. 


WESCHLER: Why had Heinrich Mann left? 

FEUCHTWANGER: There were two reasons. First of all, his 

marriage [with Maria Kanova] went apart, and so he went for 

a short while to Berlin where he then fell in love with an 

artiste, an actress iTrude Hesterberg] ; so he stayed there. 

But also he stayed because he said he couldn't stand the 

atmosphere of Munich anymore. 

WESCHLER: How much of the Schwabing scene survived beyond 

1925? It sounds like everybody was leaving. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know. Munich after 1925 is absolutely 

like a foreign country to me. I came through twice, when 

I went skiing always. I met then Lutschi [Feuchtwanger] and 

Bruno Frank. They both invited me for dinner. That was 


WESCHLER: They stayed in Munich longer. 

FEUCHTWANGER: They stayed all the time, until the time 

of Hitler. Lutschi came into the concentration camp, but 

that is a later story. 

WESCHLER: All these people we have been talking about, 

the household of the sculptress [Lotte Pritzel] , all 

these kinds of Bohemian activities — did they seen to 

persist in Munich? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I think they stayed in Munich, but the 

two gentlemen who befriended her, they went to Switzerland 

because it turned out they were also Jewish. Nobody would 


have thought it. You know, we didn't think always, 

"Is this person a Jew or not?" in our circle. Mostly 

also before Hitler came, the Jews were accepted absolutely; 

they were assimilated as German, so nobody thought all the 

time about it. It turned out that so many people were 

Jewish, and nobody knew about it before. When they were 

not religious, you know. 

WESCHLER: Well, in the next interview we'll talk about the 

early years in Berlin, but right now I'd like to go back 

and talk about the books that we've suggested, talk about 

them in more detail. First of all, the obvious point 

is that Lion is not writing plays anymore; he's writing 

novels. How did that change come about? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I think I was the reason for it. I thought 

always.... He had recognized himself that Jud Suss 

didn't give what he wanted; he couldn't tell in a play what 

he wanted to say. It would take too much room, and he 

couldn't afford this shortening which a five-act play or 

so demands. But he didn't realize that so much. He 

only was unhappy after he had seen the play. The play was 

successful, but he said, "I think it was maybe the direction 

or the actors." So I said, "I think you should leave 

writing plays and should write a novel." So he said, 

"All right, I'll try." He began to write the novel which 

was later to become Thomas Wendt. It began as a novel. 


He read to rue the beginning, and I found it awful and he 
found it also awful. So he said, "I think I will write 
a play after all." Then he wrote an epic play; that 
was Thomas Wendt . But he said, "You cannot do that all the 
time. That is good for this kind of idea, but you cannot 
treat everything in this kind of I structure] ." So he 
said, "I think I will write a novel about Jud Siiss , what 
I wanted to explain." So he asked the publisher if he 
was interested in a novel, because it was the use to speak 
to the publisher beforehand. And the publisher said, "Of 
course, every novel you write is of interest to us." And he 
gave my husband a rather substantial advance. We needed 
that very much--always came something in the last moment 
or in the right moment. So my husband began to write, and 
after several weeks he said, "I think it's too long to 
write a novel. I could write a play in three months. How 
long does it take me to write a novel? I think I begin 
again with a play." Then I said, "Yes, that would be all 
right, but do you know we have already used the whole advance? 
We cannot pay it back." He said, "Yes, that's true." So 
he sat down a little bit invita Minerva - that ' s a Latin 
proverb meaning, "not with much mood" — and he began again 
to write. And all of a sudden he didn't stop anymore, and 
he wrote day and night. I remember there was a film ball, 
and he usually went there. It was a very beautiful occasion 


where you met everybody; it was very gay. But he said, 

"I think I will stay home and write." So I went alone 

there, and when I came home at three o'clock in the morning, 

here Lion said, "I have finished. " So on the day when 

the film ball was, I remember, the novel Jud Siiss was 

finished. I think he worked about two years on it. 

WESCHLER: How was the activity of writing a novel different 

than writing a play for him? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was something absolutely different. He 

had written a novel before, but he was so unhappy about 

his first novel [ Per tonerne Gott ] that he didn't want to 

think of it. That was also the reason why he didn't want 

to write another novel. 

WESCHLER: I mean, did he have a different working style 

than when he was writing a play? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, absolutely, because when he wrote the 

plays he went out in the evenings. He didn't change. 

Everywhere there was always something in Munich; either they 

came all to us or we came to the others. Everybody brought 

a bottle of wine or some butter (when they had it) or some 

bread. When we were very elegant, some ham. And some 

eggs also. Every night, I think, there was something. During 

the Fasching, a special occasion was Steinecke. Steinecke 

was in the Akademiestrasse . That was across from us; only 


the Akademie was between. Our street was Georgestrasse, 
and we had no visibility but the gardens of the Akademie. 
On the other side, where the entrance of the Akademie was, 
across the street lived Brecht in a room, and there was 
also a bookshop. The owner of the bookshop was ["Papa"] 
Steinecke. Also the Simplicissimus , this famous restaurant 
where Valentin was playing, was there. Before it was 
somewhere else, and it was like a long intestine, but this 
was a little better situation. Steinecke wcs between 
Brecht and Simplicissimus. This man was a bachelor and 
he liked all those people; they came and bought his book 
but never paid for it. He was so in the middle of Schwabing, 
WESCHLER: What was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Steinecke. The name sounds Prussian. We 
didn't ask what he was, and everybody liked him. He was 
very much for all the Bohemians. He had a Hinterstube , 
a back room, where he usually had the packing room for his 
books, and this was cleaned out every winter. And during 
carnival he had dancing there. It didn't cost anything. 
He invited everybody, and the most famous people--except 
Thomas Mann — everybody was there. Arnold Zweig came in a 
domino, they called it, as an Italian masquerade. It's a 
coat, a black coat and in white. He was a good designer 
(his wife was also a painter) , and all the persons of his 
novels were designed on his black coat, up and down, you 


know. It was like a duster, a big thing. So the costumes 
were all self-made. It's called the Nachtwanderer , the 
people who go around in the night, night wanderers. That 
was the title of all those doings. I came as a burglar 
once. I made up myself. I took a suit of my husband and 
made myself up like an Apache --that was a French underworld, 
I made a black eye, and all thing things that you usually 
use in a fireplace were hanging from my belt as burglar 
tools. It was very amusing, very gay. You could let your 
hair down, as you say; it was like that. Sometimes I went 
also — from Tunis where we were prisoners-of-war , I saved a 
shawl, an enormous black shawl which was all embroidered 
in silver. Not embroidered--it was silver plates; they 
were bent around so it was all like a fish, the shells of 
a fish. I wrapped that around myself, and I had only one 
strap so it wouldn't fall down, nothing else, and this 
did a great effect. It was really a beautiful thing, 
and I think from then on Lotte Pritzel called me "The 
Queen of the Night." Then I had a little veil over my 
eyes — it was a kind of mask — and I looked very demonic, or 
least I thought so. [laughter] But I had always to have 
so much evening clothes, you know, that [once] I wanted 
to let my hair down, so I came as a burglar. I liked that 
very much. 

So one night we went home, I don't know who it was — 


we were all hanging arm in arm, and behind us I saw a 
whole row also arm in arm. And all of a sudden I heard 
somebody say something which sounded familiar to me. And 
I said, "Is that the man of the beast?" And it was Arnold 
Zweig. He had been in the army as a sappeur , those who 
have to prepare the trenches. They had to prepare the 
trenches. They were ordinary soldiers. That was the 
lowest part of the army and also the most dangerous, 
because they had no arms. They had only a kind of 
[shovel] . 

WESCHLER: The advance troops. 

FEUCHT^V ANGER: Ja , ja. The others could go into the 
trenches which they had to prepare. So they were... 
WESCHLER: ...subject to fire all the time. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , they were under fire. That was the 
most dangerous, and they were the most contempted because 
they never shot. Arnold Zweig had very bad eyes: he 
couldn't shoot; he would never have seen what he was 
shooting at. He would have shot his own officers probably. 
Anyway, during the war he was in Belgium. At the beginning, 
he wrote a little short story which was in the Weltbiihne , 
which had before been the Schaubuhne . (Jacobsohn, who 
founded it, the publisher, said, "Now is no time anymore 
for Schaubuhne"--which means stage--"it is now the World 


Buhne, the stage of the world.") He became political, 
also pacifistic. And they had printed Zweig's short 
novel, which was very impressive. My husband and I 
liked it very much. But we didn't know Arnold Zweig then. 

I don't know how it came out, but I called back to 
this group in the middle of the night and said, "Is there 
the man of the beast?" And he said yes. So we stopped, 
and they csime to us, and in the middle of the night, and it 
was very dark and we were tired from dancing. We made 

The next morning, very early--we were still in bed — 
rang the bell, and that was Zweig coming. We took our robes 
and let him in. He brought me something which I had never 
seen, a little pocket, a little pouch with a zipper — I 
had never seen something like that; he got it from a relative 
in America — with Tabak in it. It was just after the war 
when nobody had tobacco to smoke. And he smoked a pipe. So, 
to greet us and to make a friendship with us, he brought this 
dearest thing what he had, the pouch without the tobacco, 
but with the first zipper that ever came to Germany, and he 
gave it to me. And to my husband he brought an old coin, 
an old Greek coin. That was the beginning of a lifelong 

WESCHLER: A zipper friendship. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, a zipper friendship. It was zipped. 



Then there was somebody else. There was an enormous man 
there, very strong, broad-shouldered; and every girl, every 
woman, who he just fell his eye on, he took her dancing, wild 
dancing. So he came also to me . I never came with my feet 
to the ground. He had me in his arras and swung me around and 
brisked me; I almost couldn't breathe anymore. Then he let 
me go and went to another. He didn't even look at my face. 
And this was Oskar Maria Graf. The Bavarian writer, a typical 
Bavarian writer, a great writer. He was also published 
in America and became an honorary doctor at a university. 
We never met really. We never spoke with each other; that 
was the only time. Later on, when we were here in America, 
he wrote letters to my husband; he also wrote about him and 
about his novels. He was a great admirer of Thomas Mann 
and of ray husband; they were both his idols. So they 
corresponded, but they never met here in America. And when 
my husband had died, he wrote me a letter saying that he was 
suffering from asthma and was going to Arizona and wants to 
meet me as the wife of Lion Feuchtwanger . He came here and 
visited me and we had a wonderful time. 
WESCHLER: Did he remonber dancing with you? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. I told you he didn't even look at me. I 
found a room for him which wasn't too expensive, and — oh, 
it was a funny thing. He came by car from Arizona with his 


wife, a very nice person. She was his second wife; his 
first wife died very early and was very unhappy then 
She was the half-sister of Manfred George; you probably 
know him from the Auf bau , the great Jewish-American news- 
paper. This was his first wife. Then happily he found another 
very nice person. We are still corresponding. And I found for 
them a little room, but it was in a nice place, on the ocean, 
on Ocean Drive. It was not more than a bed in it, but it 
was nice and clean. 

I told the consul general from Germany that "Oskar 
Maria Graf is here and you must do something about him." 
So friends of mine invited him for a lecture. He read 
out of his books, and I made a little introduction. And then 
the consul general had to go away, and his consul. Dr. 
Weinrowsky--she was a lady — she invited Oskar Maria Graf 
to Jack's at the Beach, this fish restaurant — and me, too, 
of course, because I introduced him. But all of a sudden 
he had a terrible asthma attack and it was only his wife 
who could come. I even sent him a doctor who could help 
hira so that it felt a little bit better, but the doctor said 
he couldn't go out to the restaurant although it was very 
near. But when we were eating there, we were very sad that 
this whole thing fell through, because it was intended for him; 
so I said to Dr. Weinrowsky, "I think we take some chicken 
and some wine, and we go now to the room of Oskar Maria 


Graf." His wife said after the doctor had been there he 
felt a little better. So we came — it was kind of a 
court; inside there was a yard and a balcony. From this 
balcony you went into his room. There were only two beds 
and nothing else; I think, one chair. In this chair 
Oskar Maria Graf was sitting, and he looked like death; he 
looked terrible. He hadn't eaten for a long time. We 
brought him the chicken, and he began to eat the chicken 
and drink some wine. He became so gay that he all of a sudden 
said, "I will read some of my poems to you." So we were 
sitting on his bed, because there were no chairs. Dr. 
Weinrowsky is very formal, you know, dignified, from North 
Germany where they don't know these moods and that kind of 
behavior as in Bavaria: sitting on a bed, you know — it just 
can't be done. But when he awoke all of a sudden and he was 
in such a good mood and reading from his poetry, it was for 
her the greatest experience in her life. The next time when 
I saw the consul general from Gennany — it was Mr. [Hans Rolf] 
Kiderlen — he said, "You know. Dr. Weinrowsky, she is not the 
same anymore since she went through...." [laughter] That 
was Oskar Maria Graf. And he didn't have the faintest 
memories that he had ever danced with me. And I told him 
that. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: We are almost at the end of the tape today, but 
I did want to ask a couple of other questions about the early 
novels of Lion, and we'll talk more about them next time. 


A good deal has been written about the way Lion wrote his 
novels in his later life, with the different shades of paper, 
the different versions. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, Jud Siiss he wrote by hand, in longhand, 
and he gave me the manuscript. And also the next novel, 
which appeared first, The Ugly Duchess . Both are written 
in longhand, and both are in the safe at USC, at the 
university. They belong to me. I have been offered for 
each of them $6,000. 

WESCHLER: Did he reword the writing extensively? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, he was a very slow writer. I wrote 
it from his handwriting into the typewriter. And I learned.. 
We had just got a cheap typewriter. 

WESCHLER: Already at that time you were doing that? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. I had to copy it always at night be- 
cause we could only heat one room with a little iron 
stove. It was a very, very cold winter. Even then my 
fingers were stiff. But I couldn't write on the typewriter 
in the same room where he was writing his book. So he 
wrote in longhand in the day, and I copied it at night with 
my stiff fingers. [laughterj 

WESCHLER: Did you have corrections and revisions and so 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, we had a lot of discussion all the 


53 5 

WESCHLER: Are there any parts of Jud Sviss which you take 
credit for? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, I wouldn't know that. I take only credit 
that I had the idea for him to write a novel about it. Because 
I told him, "You always complain that it didn't come out. 
Why don't you write a novel?" But that's my only help which 
I gave him. 

WESCHLER: One final question for the day: now, as we look 
back on his career, we think of Feuchtwanger as an historical 
novelist, as that being the genre which he excelled in. 
FEUCHTWANGER: In a way, but he also wrote modern novels. 
WESCHLER: Right. But the genre which is one of the ways 
in which he is best known is the historical novel. Do you 
think that as he was writing those first two novels, which 
were both historical novels, do you think that he saw his 
life already as lying particularly in that direction, or 
did that just develop? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was only that he was interested in 
those themes. He was interested in the man who paid with 
his life for the guilt of others, and also in a man who was 
so brilliant with so much lust for life, who then turned to 
let himself fall. Suss could have saved himself if he had 
converted to Christianity. He was not a religious man at 
all. He would have been saved. But he let himself fall 
because.... Also in the Bible there are those kinds of 

53 6 

ideas where it is better to sleep than to be awake, or 
better to be dead. And Indian philosophy had great 
influence on my husband in those days. 

WESCHLER: One very clearly has a sense of the difference 
between European power and Far Eastern inaction. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. But the title " Power " had nothing to 
do with this novel. His novel was called Jud Siiss . Only 
in America the publisher called it Power . Lion had nothing 
to do with that. 

WESCHLER: Well, why don't we stop for today. In the next 
session, I would like to talk more about Jud Siiss . Also, 
we have given the Ugly Duchess short shrift; she deserves 
more. Then we will begin to get into Berlin. 


JULY 24, 1975 

WESCHLER: We have some more stories of life in Munich. 
To begin with, you were telling me about some of the lectures 
that were given in Munich at the Gallery Caspari. 
FEUCHTWANGER: [Georg Caspari] had a branch of the gallery 
of Paul Cassirer in Berlin. Cassirer was not only the husband 
of the famous actress [Tilla] Durieux, but he was a famous 
man himself because he introduced the impressionists into 
Germany. They were absolutely unknown. He not only bought 
many of the famous impressionist pictures himself and had 
a wonderful gallery, a private gallery also, but he intro- 
duced the changing of the taste of painting; this was his 
merit. And he had a branch in Munich. The director and 
owner was Caspari, and he had this wonderful gallery in 
Munich where I saw for the first time a sculpture of [WilhelmJ 
Lehmbruck. For me it was a revelation; I never saw things 
like that before. I must say I have {discovered] him, for 
myself at least. There were always lectures there, by 
Thomas Mann or Heinrich Mann or my husband and once.... 
WESCHLER: At the gallery? 

FEUCHTWANGER: At the gallery. There were literary 
evenings. Once he invited Jakob Wassermann from Vienna. 
Originally his family had come from Furth, and he was born 

53 8 

there, where the Feuchtwangers were all born when they 
had to flee from Feuchtwangen, He read for the first time, 
before it was printed, a short story called "The Son" 
["Der Sohn"]. It made a great impression on me; it was 
a very interesting short story. Afterwards, he talked with 
my husband and told him that they were related, that he 
comes also from Furth. One of the sisters of long ago-- 
he was a descendant of her — married a man with the name of 
Wassermann who was a goldsmith, and he comes from this 
family. So they were related. My husband had never heard 
about that before. 

WESCHLER: Did they become friends after that? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, Wasserman went back to Vienna, and, 
you know, in those days there was not much connection. When 
somebody was in another city, there were no planes 6r so; 
it took a long time to go and everybody had his own friends, 
his own circle. Later in the immigration, they exchanged 
letters because Jakob Wassermann went to Switzerland, and 
he also died there. But there was not much personal re- 
lations anymore. 

WESCHLER: At these literary evenings, what kinds of things, 
for instance, did Thomas Mann read? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he read mostly from one of his novels, 
but I don't remember which novel it was. I think it was 
Konigliche Hohe^t ( Royal Highness ) . And Heinrich Mann wrote 

53 9 

a short story about his sister. It was called "The Sister," 
I think. My husband--! think he read from The Ugly Duchess . 
WESCHLER: What kinds of audience were there? Was this 
a relatively select audience? 

FEUCHTWANGER: A very select audience — lots of writers and 
painters, of course, because it was also a gallery. But 
the best names of the German painters. 

WESCHLER: Okay. We now also have a story about what it 
was like to get paid during the inflation. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . When ray husband I was about to write] 
this novel. The Ugly Duchess , which he has been asked to 
write for the book club, he was asked what kind of thene 
he would like to depict. Then he said he was always in- 
terested in ugly women; maybe it was already a kind of 
women's lib, because he was interested in what the ugly 
women were doing with their lives and how they succeeded 
and how their fate was. 

WESCHLER: Is this something about which he spoke with you 
often beforehand? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . He always said that he would not have 
written anything without asking me first if I agreed with 

WESCHLER: This theme of ugly women: who were some of the 

other women that he was interested in? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Later he wrote a play which was called The 


oil Islands I Die Petrol euro in seln] , and this was the same 
theme, only about a modern woman. 
WESCHLER: Okay. Well, continue with the story. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . And then there was a wonderful man by 
the name of [?] Adler, who was a lawyer and very much in- 
terested in literature and in writers. He was also the 
counselor of the literary guild, you could say, the writer's 
guild. He asked ray husband what he did with his book when 
he made a contract, and then he looked at the contract 
and found it very, very good and advantageous. But he 
said, "You have to be very careful with the money because 
when you get the money, it will only be sent to you, and 
until you get it as a check, it will be nothing worth anymore." 
So he said we had to [make it so] that the day it will be 
published the payment of the advance will be due. The 
advances were very high always in those days, a big part 
of the whole deal. So he said, "We have to go to Berlin, 
and I go with you; I do it on my own because I know that a 
writer cannot pay so much for a lawyer. We go together in 
a third-class sleeping car. We will have to bring the money 
back right away to Munich and bring it to the bank and 
buy some stocks or whatever is best." And that's what they 
did. They came back with big bags, enormous bags, in which 
there were all the bills. One mark was the same as a 
billion, or a billion was the same as before a gold mark. 


That's why they had so many billions. 

WESCHLER: They actually had bills that were a billion marks? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Bills, ja. The highest bill was one billion. 
But it was not worth more than one mark in peacetime. So 
they had to bring it back themselves in the sleeping 
car with big bags. I remember how I opened the door and 
the porter had I don't know how many big bags--they were 
enormous bags like bean bags or so. And then the porter 
had to bring them to the bank. 

WESCHLER: And did the inflation get worse after that? 
FEUCHTWANGER: After that, it couldn't get worse. After 
that it was converted into Rentenmarks. That means — I don't 
know what that means in translation; it's just that it was 
again one mark. And all this other money wasn't worth 
anymore. Just at the right moment my husband brought it 
to the bank, because [in those days] people could make wall- 
paper out of that money. It was a terrible time, mostly 
for people who were older and had no business anymore. 
WESCHLER: On fixed incomes. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Fixed incomes, ja, ja. 

WESCHLER: You have another story from that general period 
of what happened while Lion was in Berlin.... 
FEUCHTWANGER: To get the money. He was with this man 
Adler, who was just a great person and a friend of humanity. 
That same night was the first night of our friend Bruno 


Frank's play The Woman on the Beast { Das Weib auf dem Tiere] . 
It was a successful play. Afterwards, of course, we cele- 
brated at the house of the director and owner of the theater, 
Adolf Kaufmann, who was also a friend of Eisner. In the 
afternoon the first actress of the theater, a very young 
actress, and I and Caspar Neher and Bertolt Brecht, we 
four went to. . . . 

WESCHLER: What was the narae of the actress? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Maria Koppenhofer. She later became very 
famous, but there she was only a beginner. And we went 
to the Starnberger See for a swim and for rowing. We 
were there the whole day, in the open air, and it was a 
great day. Of course, we went back to Munich and took a 
shower and went very elegant into the first night of the 
theater. But we were all terrible thirsty. Maria Koppenhofer 
had a terrible sunburn on her back, and I had to powder it 
with calcium to relieve her from her burning. We went to 
the theater, and then when we came to the party of Mr. 
Kaufmann, I said, "I'm terrible thirsty, this whole day in 
the sun. Give me something cold to drink." And they gave 
me a big glass — I think it was a quarter of a liter or so — 
and I drank it in one swallow. It was wonderful, sweet and 
cold. But it was Schwed en punch — it was pure liquor, but I 
didn't know it; I had never even heard before about it. In 
those days it was the fashion to serve that at parties, but 


only in little glasses, not in such big glasses like a beer 
glass. So I was so dizzy, all of a sudden, that I didn't even 
realize that I was just drunk. I sat down and said, "I don't ! 
know what happened; it must be the heat or something." Then 
the man who made the sets, iLeoJ Pasetti — who was an aristo- 
crat, a very nice person and a great artist — he said, "You 
know, you have to drink a little bit," And on the other side, 
I think, was Caspar Neher, and he also said, "Yes, of course, 
that is the only thing that will help you." So Pasetti gave 
me a little glass of red liquor, and Caspar Neher gave me 
green liquor, and they always saw to it that I never took 
two of the same at once; I had always to change from one to 
the other. It didn't help very much, of course, but I wasn't 
conscious of that. Afterwards, it was such a beautiful night 
that we went into the English Garden for a walk--it was about 
midnight — but I was lucky that there were two, so one watched 
the other, so that nothing could happen to me. And they 
brought me home. 

I came home. I'm usually very orderly, but all my clothes 
the next day I found somewhere on the floor; in every room 
there was another piece. I was sleeping — I didn't wake up — 
and then the bell rang. I went to the door, and I realized 
that I was absolutely naked, I had nothing on. Outside there 
must have been somebody who was always ringing the bell. I 
was swaying behind the door, but fortunately I didn't open it: 


I only swayed, until this person outside was tired of waiting 
and left and put only a card into the mailbox. I took the 
card out, and then I realized what had happened. On this 
day, I had an appointment with a publisher who came from 
Vienna to speak about a luxury edition of The Ugly Duchess . 
This was a very famous publishing house which made very beau- 
tiful illustrated luxury editions [Delphin Verlag(?)]. When 
I was just looking at this card, I realized what I had missed; 
then there came Maria Koppenhofer, who wanted to see how I 
am, and also that I would powder her back again, which was 
burning. I opened the door for her because I realized it 
was she. I recognized her voice, and I gave her this card. 
She said, "You have to do something, you cannot — you have 
to do something." I said, "Yes, but I am still so dizzy I 
couldn't do anything." She said, "You have to. You take a 
shower; I will get a taxi for you, and you go into this 
hotel which is written on the visiting card. You will 
speak with this man." And that's what I did. 

But I still was not quite sober when I was at the hotel, 
and this man invited me in and offered me a glass of liquor, 
[laughter] Fortunately I didn't drink that, but I asked for 
a cigarette. I usually didn't smoke much, but I thought it 
would give me more poise, something to hang on to. So then he 
told me what he intended to do with the book — how he would make 
it — and he offered me a rather big sum in advance. I still 


couldn't speak very much, and so I didn't answer--just 
swayed a little bit in iny chair. Then the man thought it 
wasn't enough, and he immediately doubled the sum. So 
I realized I had to do something, and I said, "All right, 
let's sign it." Then we signed the contract, and I left. 
But this publication was never realized; the publishing 
house closed, and we had $3,000 without doing anything. My 
husband still had the rights to it. I laughter] 
WESCHLER: So there we have a moral tale about the virtues 
of drinking. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. [laughter] But maybe it's also the 
virtue of not telling anything, not talking. 
WESCHLEIR: Right, but that is not the virtue of this inter- 
view, [laughter] You also had mentioned, just in passing, 
that you were responsible for Koppenhof er ' s walk, which 
later became a very famous walk. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, she was a beautiful person, dark, and 
she had some Polish blood also. She was tall and wonderfully 
built, but she just made little steps on the stage. I said, 
"You cannot walk like that. You are tall, and you have 
to make tall steps, long steps, and not even lift your 
leg too much; it must be like sliding." I showed her how 
to do it, and she did it. Later on, in the reviews, there 
was always the talk about her sexy way of moving and walking. 
I also lent her sometimes my clothes, capes or things like 



WESCHLER: Well, we've talked a good deal about the con- 
dition under which The Ugly Duchess and Jud Siiss were both 
published, but today I want to talk about how they fared once 
they were published. Now, The Ugly Duchess was published 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was published first. Since it was in a 
literary club and the newspapers usually did not pay any 
attention to [these club publications], there were no critics, 
But this way, the first time — it was before Jud Suss --to 
treat a historical theme was so new that it drew lots 
of attention. In the Frankfurter Zeitung there was a very 
great critic who was well known, by the name of He il born; 
and to our surprise he wrote an enormous lauding and praising 
review. And then also others followed. This was, of 
course, very advantageous, and they had lots of subscribers 
after this. 

With Jud SiisLS, it was a great success but nothing 
spectacular. Then the founder and owner of the Viking Press 
in New York went to see with his wife her parents in Sweden. 
She was born in Sweden. There was a professor from Berlin 
there for a visit.* And he knew also the parents of Mrs. 
Huebsch. (His name was Ben Huebsch. ) This man told Mr. 
Huebsch that he knew he was a great publisher and told him, 
"I have read a great book, and I also spoke in lectures 

* In her notes Mrs. Feuchtwanger identifies this man as 
Professor Magnus, who was married to Freud's niece (Grace 
Magnus) . 


and in my classes about this book which is called Jud Suss, 
and I would really recoinraend you to read it." Huebsch 
read it and was very enthusiastic and immediately came to 
Berlin and spoke to my husband about publishing it. 

Then--but there was another publishing house just 
founded in London. It was founded by [Henry Mond] , Lord 
Melchett. His wife [Sonia Grahamj , who was a very beautiful 
Gentile woman from South Africa, wanted to do something 
except just being the wife of the very rich lord who owned 
the first chanical factory. So as a birthday present he 
told her that he would found, with Martin Secker--who was a 
friend of the house--a publishing house. This was then 
the Martin Seeker publishing house [Martin Seeker, Ltd.] . 
Lord Melchett was, of course, the son of the famous chemist 
factory owner, [Alfred] Mond. He had done so much for the 
English economy that the Queen Victoria had named him lord 
and given him a lordship, an inheritable lordship, so his 
son [then received it] . And that always brings the name 
of an estate: the lord has to be named after a big estate. 
So he got a big estate, the estate of Melchett, or the 
castle of Melchett, and his son was then the Lord Melchett. 
He and the Rothschilds founded Israel, in a way, because 
one of the chemists in the factory was Chaim Weizmann, who 
was later president of Israel. And Chaim Weizmann was asked 
by the English government to invent a counterpoison against 

54 8 

the poison gas of the Germans during the First World War. 

That was all during the First World War. Weizmann invented 

the right thing, and Lord [Arthur Jaraes] Balfour later on 

wanted to make hira also a lord, but Weizmann said, "I 

would rather that Israel would be a home state for the 

Jews." Mostly Jews who had to flee the pogroms in Russia. 

So instead of becoming a lord, Chaim Weizmann became 

president of Israel. We met him when we were in England, 

in the house, the castle of Lord Melchett. 

WESCHLER: Rushing ahead, just briefly, what was Weizmann 


FEUCHTWANGER: Weizmann was very interesting, a fascinating 

man, not very good looking. He looked Jewish, black beard. 

But when he spoke.... We were at a big dinner table at 

Lord Melchett 's castle. There was also a cousin of the 

queen and many of the parliament there. He was sitting across 

from me. My escort was the cousin of the queen. We had a 

lively conversation, but all of a sudden Weizmann spoke and 

everybody was quiet. Nobody spoke when Weizmann spoke, 

and he was not even the president then. He was just so 

fascinating a man that when he spoke then everybody listened. 

We were also many times together with him. Also when he was 

here, we were invited at the Hotel Miramar. He had a little 

house there. 

WESCHLER: What did he speak about at that time, do you 



FEUCHTWANGER: Funny thing: I remember he spoke about the 

economy and also that he found it so good that the Prince 

of Wales (who was later the Duke of Windsor) --he said, "It 

is good that he is interested in traveling and he does so 

much for the economy of England." He went around and he asked 

certain things which only England manufactured, and then 

people didn't have it, so he went to the manufacturer and 

said, "You should also take from our country what people 

want to use." So he did a lot for the economy. 

WESCHLER: So Weizmann was very much an Englishman. 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was very much English, absolutely. Until 

to the end even. When we spoke with him here.... For a 

while it was a very bad time for the Jews and Israel, for 

the Jews in Israel and England, because England didn't allow 

them to land in Israel on account of the Arabs, who they 

didn't want to offend. 

WESCHLER: In the mid-forties, this was. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. Anyway, but he said to my husband, 

"I'm still for England. I still feel as an Englishman." 

Although he was born in Poland or in Russia. 

WESCHLER: Well, let's get back to the story of the publishing 

of the books. So Lord Melchett and the head of Viking.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: My husband spoke to him, and Jud Siiss was then 

the first publishing in this new publishing house. It was 

also received very well. 


WESCHLER: It was published simultaneously by both houses. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, in America and England together. And it 
ha^ been received--! don't know so much what happened in 
America; only later on — in England with, well, sympathy; 
it was a good success, but not more. Then Arnold Bennett, 
who was a great novelist in those times — he and [H.G.] Wells 
together were the most read novelists--he read the book and 
was so enthusiastic, he wrote a glowing review in one of these 
magazines or periodicals, and the review itself made a sen- 
sation. From then on the book was accepted everywhere. The 
success was so great that it went back to Germany and influenced 
the German success and immediately also the American success. 
Because England in those days was very much influential in 
connection with books and literature. 

WESCHLER: There was also a movie made of it in England, 
wasn't there? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, a movie was made in England, by Gaumont- 
British. Conrad Veidt, who later came here and was a famous 
actor, played the Jud Siiss. And one actor who escaped from 
Berlin played the rabbi. He was a very famous actor in 
Berlin and he couldn't live without Berlin; he died of a 
broken heart. That was the last part that he played. 
WESCHLER: Do you remonber his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. Not right now. [Paul Graetz actually 
played the role of Landauer.] 


WESCHLER: Then later on there was a Nazi version of it. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. The Nazis had of course noticed this 
big success of the movie, and they thought that they 
would take advantage of it and also the success of the book. 
They made a movie and turned everything into the contrary. 
It was a very anti-Semitic movie, and the greatest actor, 
Werner Krauss, played I think four or five parts, each 
one more anti-Semitic than the other. After the war, it 
was of course forbidden by the new German state--it was 
forbidden and also it was proclaimed that all the copies 
had to be destroyed. That was the condition for many who 
had been under suspicion. Also Harlan, who was the director 
of this movie.... He had to come before the Persil — this 
was kind of like a soap: detergent court, they called it. 
Somebody had to clean himself of any suspicion. 
WESCHLER: Purging. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , but they called it detergent. Detergent 
Court. They had to prove that they didn't do any wrong during 
the Nazi time. And Harlan — everybody knew that he made that 
film. Veit Harlan was his name, and he played before in 
plays of my husband and was very much liberal before. He 
said he couldn't do anything else, because he had been 
asked to do it, so he had to do it. The actor who played 
Jud Siiss — [Ferdinand] Marian was his name — had to do it 
because Goebbels asked him directly to play this part. 


He played it and afterwards committed suicide. 

WESCHLER: This man who played Jud Siiss was not Jewish. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. Ach. Of course not. During the Nazi 

time, nobody was Jewish. 

WESCHLER: Did you ever see that movie? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, I didn't want to see it. But I have been 

told by [Erich Maria] Remarque, he told us that it was very 

well done, it was very--and this was the danger of it, you 

see. Werner Krauss was the greatest actor in those days. 

Werner Krauss afterwards was asked by Erich Pomraer, the 

great film producer--he went back to Germany for a visit and 

he saw Werner Krauss, and Krauss came to him and said, "I 

had to do it because if I hadn't done it, somebody else 

would have done it." And Erich Pommer said he just turned his 

back on him. He didn't want to speak to him. Werner Krauss 

played five parts, and each one was more anti-Semitic than 

the other. He played the rabbi, the uncle of Jud Siiss, and 

also other parts. It was not enough that one was unsympathetic; 

he had to play five different parts. And Marian played 

Jud Siiss. What Erich Maria Remarque told us was that he 

was in a way sympathetic. It seems that the actor did 

everything to make it not too anti-Semitic. After he had 

finished filming, then he committed suicide. He had been 

[menaced] with threats by Goebbels: he had to do it, but 

he was then so disgusted that he committed suicide. 


WESCHLER: Just parenthetically, for researchers, it should 
be noted that [Marcel] Ophuls's film The Sorrow and the 
Pity has a part of this film Jud Siiss in it. 

FEUCHTWANGER: His father [Max Ophuls] was a famous movie man 
already, the father of Marcel, and had the name of Oppen- 
heiraer, I think, and then came the name Ophuls out of it. 
WESCHLER: Anyway, his son, who made this movie The Sorrow 
and the Pity , does include scenes from the Nazi version 
in it. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I have also to tell you later maybe what 
happened with the movie, with the forbidden movie. Should 
I tell it right away? Because it happened here. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I told you that it was ordered to be destroyed, 
all the copies have been destroyed; Veit Harlan didn't get 
such a great prison term because he promised to do every- 
thing that it would really be destroyed. He went later to 
Switzerland where he died rather young. Here, about ten 
years ago maybe, I got a letter from Switzerland from two 
lawyers who wrote me that they had a copy of the film Jud 
Siiss , and if I pay $100,000, then I can have the copy. And 
if I don't pay it, then they would sell it to Egypt. So I 
gave this letter to my agent. Dr. Felix Guggenheim, and he 
said, "Write them. Don't say no right away. We want to 
know a little more what happens with than." So I wrote them 


that I would like to know more details. But they must have 
become suspicious that something happened and they didn't 
answer anymore. But isn't it amazing, this? 
WESCHLER: To your knowledge, though, it was not given to 

FEUCHTWANGER: It wouldn't help very much. It was in 
German. Of course, they could have made subtitles, but I 
have not heard anything about it. Anyway, they didn't 
follow up; they didn't write anymore. 

WESCHLER: Another follow-up story I heard was the one about 
the French. . . . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but I have to tell you something else 
about the film. Somebody sent me a newspaper from Germany, 
a German newspaper, and there it was said that as collateral 
for a bet, a copy of the film Jud Suss has been offered, 
in Stuttgart. So this letter I sent to the German govern- 
ment in Germany and said, "It has been promised that every 
copy would be destroyed. How come that this happened?" 
They wrote me back that they were very grateful; they 
didn't hear about it. By chance, somebody, just a person 
I didn't even know, sent me this clipping. They immediately 
took the copy into custody, and it will not be published 

WESCHLER: Do you know if it exists, though, for research 


FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know. I never heard about it. It 
shouldn't also. The German governraent forbid it and 
ordered it to be destroyed. But it must have existed because 
Ophuls made this film. 

WESCHLER: Well, apparently part of it exists. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . And there was another thing in France. 
When the Germans invaded, they ordered that this film should 
be shown everywhere in a very big way. The French, when 
they wanted to see a film, they had to see that. Everybody 
was very upset, all the people who were, of course, against 
the Germans. [After the war] it was also in the newspapers 
that a man who made a movie like this and who wrote the 
book before it, should not be allowed to publish in France. 
The funny thing was that everybody had forgotten that it had 
been published, of course, long before, twenty years or so. 
WESCHLER: So after the war people were against publishing 
Lion's work. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, immediately after the war, they said 
Feuchtwanger cannot be published anymore in France because 
he wrote this book which has been made into such a terrible 
movie. Then somebody wrote an open letter in the newspaper 
and said, "How can such nonsense be printed that Feuchtwanger 
was a Nazi? During the whole Hitler time he was in Russia." 
[laughter] And that was even worse in those times, because 
this was during the [House] Un-American Committee [years] . 


of course my husband was in Russia, but only for two months, 
not "during the whole Hitler time." 

WESCHLER: With friends like that, who needs enemies? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, that's true. Also in an encyclopedia 
[Twentieth Century Authors , H.W. Wilson Company, New York, 
1942] , it was written that he was two years in Russia, 
because he arrived in December 193 6 and left January 1937. 
That was not even two months, but because the two years 
were cited so it was always written "two years." Now, in 
the last publishing I have seen it is corrected: it says, 

"At the turn of the year, 1937 " 

WESCHLER: Well, when we get there we will talk about that 
trip, [pause in tape] 

Okay, we're right on the very edge of your leaving 
Munich and going to Berlin, and you mentioned off tape that 
in that period you also went to Yugoslavia. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Before we left Munich then, we wanted to 
make a trip from Munich to Yugoslavia. It was very cheap 
because in Austria, where we went first, and also in Yugoslavia, 
there was just then an inflation. For once we had the ad- 
vantage of an inflation. Until then we had lost only money. 
So we came to Yugoslavia, and in Trieste we took a small 
ship, a very beautiful little small ship. It was very nice 
to go because they docked at every interesting place. We 
could go out and see. So we came to a little place which 


was called DraQ. You had to go by bus, and all of a sudden 
you were in the middle of a snail miniature Venice — everything 
was only channels and little palaces also fron the same time 
as Venice, built in the Renaissance. Only a very small town 
but it was almost more beautiful than Venice itself, because 
there were no foreigners there and it was absolutely without 
any commercial enterprise. Very near to that was an old city — 
Salona, it was called--and it had old ruins from the Romans. 
We were shown a house which had central heating, and in it 
was the following way: in the cellar they had a big basin, 
and there they had stones and tiles and bricks. They made 
fire under these bricks, and they became very hot. Then 
they threw water on the bricks which, of course, created 
big foam and steam, and the steam went through pipes into 
the house where it was like a central heating. Of course, 
you had to have many slaves to do that. But still it was 
interesting that they had already invented the whole thing. 
Then we went farther to Cattaro. You don't see it from the 
ocean where we were in the ship because the entrance is so 
narrow, and the rocks, that you cannot see it from outside. 
But inside is then a part of the ocean. It looks like a 
lake. Then there was a road very high up, and very high 
up there was this town of Cattaro. A very interesting and 
also unusual part of nature that you couldn't see it at 
first. It was like a fairy tale, when you went straight into 


the rocks and came to a deep blue lake and then on top, 
on a hill, was a city. 

Then further on we ccime to Ragusa, which is now called 
(after the Yugoslavs had taken over from the Austrians) 
Diobrovnik. Ragusa is an old medieval town also and is still 
like it was. Around is a wall with high towers, and you 
go through the main street which has cobblestones. And 
you see from both sides into the houses, through archways, 
and it looks absolutely like Spain. There are courtyards 
with archways inside and mostly a little fountain or so. 
It is also like a fairy tale. It is very well preserved 
because they don't allow cars to go inside. I think the 
new city has been built around, behind this old city. Most 
of all, when you go through the city--or it is a town, you 
could say only--you come to the beach; it's not a real 
beach, it's mostly rocks, but platforms on the rocks so you 
can lay in the sun there and dive into the ocean. My husband 
and I, we went every day, swimming to an island; it took about 
an hour. After we were a week there and swam over every 
day, then a fisherman came over and said, "Why do you swim 
always here? Don't you know that there are lots of sharks?" 
So we said, "Until now the sharks haven't eaten us. So 
maybe they are not very eager for us." And we continued. 


Lacroma, I think, was this island. With some people 
we also made sometimes a race, who was the first. Of 
course, I was the first. Ilaughter] 
WESCHLER: And you even beat the sharks. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, the sharks couldn't reach me. I 
was too fast for than. [laughter] :; 

But we were also on a little island which was called 
Korcula, before we came to Ragusa, and this was very des- 
olated. No foreigners besides us. I wanted to lie in the 
sun, to take a sunbath, so I went into a kind of brush — 
a large part of the island was just brush. I was 
lying in the sun under the brush, and all of a sudden a man 
came. Of course I had my bathrobe with me, and I covered 
myself; but the man carae always nearer, and it was a little 
uncomfortable. Also I didn't speak Yugoslavian. 
WESCHLER: I imagine "no" is the same in every language. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. No. Not in Yugoslavian. "Nyet" is 
Russian, for instance; so something else is "no." Also 
"no" or "nyet" wouldn't do very good when somebody is 
real wild, [laughter] So anyway, I began to shout in German, 
and I shouted my husband's name, as if he would be there, 
and I shouted that he should go away and so, but he would 
not understand it. But it was intimidating to have a for- 
eigner shouting in [her] own language, so he ran away and 
never came back. In the evenings there was always a promenade 


where there was also an old antique wall; on one side 

were the girls and on the other side the boys. Once when we 

were with the girls walking, then I saw this man, but he 

didn't recognize me. [laughter] He was a young boy. 

WESCHLEIR: From the sound of it, your days of extreme 

poverty are over at this point. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. It was not so bad anymore. 

WESCHLER: The books are beginning to bring in an income. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. But it was more later when we 

were in Berlin, because my husband then had got very good 

contracts with Ullstein iVerlag] , the famous newspaper 

empire. The director of Ullstein [Emil Hertz] wanted to 

have my husband as an author. He had Erich Maria Remarque 

and my husband. So they paid mostly for advance for the 

Flavius Josephus . And this made us more wealthy. Then, 

of course, there finally came also, from all the countries 

of the world, royalties for Jud Suss ; and also immediately 

after Jud Siiss , they printed The Ugly Duchess also in the 

other countries. But the first good-luck streak was Ullstein, 

who wanted my husband as a house author. 

WESCHLER: One last question before we leave Munich — and 

the tape is about run out. In addition to [his] being a very 

important author, as I sit in this room I have to say that 

Lion was a very important bibliophile, a great collector of 

books. This story will also be the story of that book 


collection. What was it like in Munich? Was there much 
of a book collection? 

FEUCHTWANGER: In Munich we had no books at all because we 
came, as prisoners-of -war from Tunisia, and then immediate- 
ly my husband had to go into the army. Then came the in- 
flation: we were glad to get enough bread to eat, and we 
had no money for books. Heinrich Mann always said, "The whole 
library of Feuchtwanger consists of a paperback, one 
paperback." He said "reklamhef tchen" — that was even worse; 
it was what ten pfennigs could buy then, in an automat. 
Mostly they were classics only. 
WESCHLER: So there wasn't yet... 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. But in Berlin — also not right away, 
because we had first very great difficulties to get apart- 
ments in Berlin. There was a law that nobody could have 
an apartment who had not permission a long time before. 
So only newly built houses, or apartments which had been 
built on top of houses, new apartments on roof of houses, 
they were [available] --but they were very expensive. Even 
the most simple apartment was very expensive because there 
was a great need for it. So we got a little apartment on 
a roof. First we had only two rooms, and then the owner 
left us the whole apartment; that was then four rooms. 
So we didn't have much room for books either there. But 
then when more money came in, we decided to build a house in 


the best part, in the luost beautiful part of Berlin, in 
the Grunewald, which was a forest. Also very near where we 
had our house, there was a little lake where you could swim 
in sviraraer and go horseback riding around and also skating 
in winter. So then I immediately built shelves everywhere, 
and ray husband began to collect books. 

WESCHLER: Well, we'll look at Berlin more carefully next 


JULY 25, 1975 

WESCHLER: We are on the cusp between Munich and Berlin. 
One of the major things about that change was Lion's 
attending the performance of Edward II in Berlin. 
FEUCHIWANGER: Yes, that was before we moved. We were in 
northern Italy on the Lake of Garda; we were trying to get 
some rest because my husband was working hard and also we 
had lots of parties always. People came day and night to 
our house, and we had to be alone for once. All of a sudden, 
a telegram came of Jessner, the director-general of the State 
Theatre: "Please come. We cannot go along with Brecht." 
(He was there for the performance of Edward II . It was the 
second performance; the first was in Munich before.) Just 
that it was impossible like that. "Please come. We need 
you." We had, of course, to immediately come back from 
Fasano, on the Gardasee; that was a long trip in those 
days, only by train. 

When my husband arrived in Berlin at the theater, Jessner 
was already gone. He didn't want to have the whole thing 
anymore and went to another State Theatre, which was in 
Wiesbaden, you know, near the Rhine. There was another State 
Theatre there which belonged together, and so he said he has 
very important affairs to attend to there and cannot stay 


for the rehearsal. So he left an old and very dignified 
man there, a little "haramy" actor, who was his represent- 
ative [Karl Kiihne] . When my husband came in, this actor was 
absolutely torn apart from all that had happened, and he 
said, "Oh, we are so glad that you came. We just cannot 
handle this Mr. Brecht. It's impossible to speak with him. 
And the expression he has!" So my husband^ before he was in 
the theater, in the auditorium, he heard already Brecht 's 
voice, "Das ist ScheissJ" which means, "That's shit I " So 
that was the first thing he heard, and the old actor says, 
"You see." [laughter] So my husband entered and heard a 
little bit, and they began again. There was Jiirgen Fehling; 
he was a famous director (his nephew is a doctor here now). 
He was really a great, a very famous, and a very good di- 
rector, and he tried to smooth things over. My husband 
had no time to say "How are you?" because it was such 
a pressing affair. My husband only said, "Brecht, wouldn't 
it be better if you said 'It's stylized'?" So now they 
began again the same scene and Brecht shouted, "It's again 
stylizedl" [laughter] So of course the whole company broke 
up in laughter. Then what happened: my husband was not 
long there when Jiirgen Fehling went to the rim of the stage 
and said, "Gentlemen, it is a hard thing for me to do, to 
speak like this to tvro of the greatest poets of Germany, but I 
have to ask you to leave the theater." So they left the 


theater. But then Lion said, "I think I should go back- 
stage and at least say goodbye to the actors who do their 
best." He also found that Jiirgen Fehling hadn't under- 
stood the new way of Brecht and F euc h twang er, what they tried 
to do. So he went to Werner Krauss, who was a star but in par- 
ticular the star of this performance, and told him, "I wanted to 

tell you, before I leave, that there is a Latin proverb which 
he has to speak in Latin." He said, "The first line is 
all right, but the second line has another rhythm. Then he 
spoke the rhythm to him, how he should pronounce the whole 
verse. And then they left, Lion and Brecht. When they were 
already on the street, Brecht said, "Why did you tell Werner 
Krauss the wrong intonation?" And ray husband said, "If 
everything is wrong, the Latin has to be wrong, too." [laughter] 
They didn't come to the first performance — which was a great 
scandal, of course, [that] the two authors were not there in 
the theater. But they were so curious how the thing came out, 
so they went to the second performance. At the second per- 
formance when this part came, this passage with the Latin 
proverb, both giggled. So a gentleman who was sitting be- 
fore them turned around and said, "Gentlonen, if you don't 
understand the play, at least be quiet." [laughter] So 
much about the performance of Edward II in Berlin. 
WESCHLER: Was it as bad as it looked like it was going to be? 
FEUCHTWANGER: It was not the play which they had intended to 


make. It was the way that All the Shakespeare and all 
the classics had been played. They made it very well in 
this old-fashioned kind, but not in the way they wanted to 
do it. Stylized, [laughter] 
WESCHLER: How was it received? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The press was very good because it was 
something new, and Berlin was always very avant-gardish. Of 
course, there were two kinds of press because they had a 
fight between each other, the two critics, Alfred Kerr and 
Jhering. [Whenever] Alfred Kerr knew that Jhering would 
find it good, he had some very important things to say against 
it. But everybody knew that it was much more the fight 
between the two critics than something against the play. 
But it was never a great success with the public. They 
had not reached yet this kind of performance or this kind 
of taste which the two authors [required] . 

WESCHLER: How did the relationship between Brecht and Jessner 
develop after that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, Jessner was a great admirer of Brecht 
because Brecht was very avant-gardish and he wanted to be 
very modern. I don't know if this was known everywhere else, 
but in Germany he was the man who invented the stairs, be- 
cause he always made stairs on the stage. This was not done 
before. Maybe one step, or two step, but [he used] whole 
stairs where people went slowly down and even in the middle 


of the stairs sometimes stopped and played there; so it was 
great excitement. He made also a movie once [ Die Flamme] 
with [HennyJ Porten (she was a great movie actress in those 
days), and there were always the stairs of Jessner. Then 
later on it has been imitated everywhere in other countries, 
but he was the first one who made this kind of play with 

WESCHLER: So he and Brecht, notwithstanding their shaky 
beginning .... 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, Brecht was against everybody. He was 
also against Reinhardt. There was nobody who could do right. 
The only director who was right for Brecht was Erich Engel . 
But Erich Engel also prepared everything before with Brecht, 
so he was so imbued by Brecht that he couldn't do wrong. 
Also Brecht took over sometimes. But Brecht was always polite 
with Engel because they were good friends. You wouldn't 
believe that he could be so rough as he was at this rehearsal. 
Usually he wasn't like that. He was polite and even rather 
shy and modest. He looked modest — his dress was always 
his leather jacket, always the same leather jacket--and 
he was really absolutely unpretentious. With Erich Engel, 
he was on very good — they never had any words because they 
understood each other so well. Erich Engel also made the 
first performance of The Threepenny Opera . This was so 
beautiful — or beautiful is not the right word; so new — 


that people already applauded when the curtain opened. 

Because it was the first time that on top the whole ceiling 

was open and you could see all the strings coining down. 

This played a role also because on those strings were the 

old clothes which in The Threepenny Opera [belong to] 

the man who has a business for beggars [Jonathan Peachum] . 

And all the beggars' clothes — all that hangs down. It 

was so interesting and so f rappant and new that people 

applauded it already before a word had been spoken. 

WESCHLER: What year was that? Was that in the late twenties? 

Was that soon after Edward II ? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't recall exactly but you can- find that 

out. [1928] Yes, everything was soon after because we were 

only in Berlin from '25 to '32. Everything happened in a 

very short time. 

l^TESCHLER: Did you know Kurt Weill? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, very well. 

WESCHLER: Would you like to talk about him? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but first I think we should speak about 

what happened after the performance [of Edward II] in Berlin. 

We lived in the house of my husband's sister because nobody 

had money and he was a merchant, very rich. He was a sugar 

broker. He had two big Mercedes Benzes and a chauffeur and 

all that. 

WESCHLER: Who was that now? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Tha-t was the sister of loy husband. His oldest 
sister fFranziskaJ was married with this man. They were 
before in Konigsberg — no, in Posen. It was in the east of 
Germany, and after the First World War it went to Poland. 
They voted for Germany — they could stay in Poland or go to 
Germany. And he left his home--they had a big chocolate 
manufactury there — and he left everything there, except in 
his double-bottom valise he had some money. And he had to 

begin again with this. His sons had been persecuted by the 
Nazis, and all had to flee. 
WESCHLER: What was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: [Edward] Diamand. He voted for Germany and left 
everything there because he felt as a good German. We lived 
in their apartment. It was not a house; it was a big apart- 
ment in a big building. It was very funny because in the 
morning they had some good things to eat, goose liver paste and 
things like that, and Brecht never ate those things; he 
said always, "I haven't seen that before; I wouldn't eat that 
now." He was very conservative in his taste. I didn't like 
it so much because everything had too much onion; it was a 
little bit influenced from Poland, their kitchen. So we were 
several days there, and we had a very good time because we 
took big excursions with the car. 

Then we left for Riigen, the island of Riigen. It was 
already very bad, or still very bad with the money there. 


with inflation; there was nothing to eat mostly. [My 

in-lawsj always had food because they could afford the 

black market. But when we were in Riigen, it was again like 

poor people [laughter] until the money came from the State 

Theatre, you know, and this was not too much. But it was 

very cheap there in Riigen; only we had to live with the Fischers ; 

we couldn't stay in a hotel. Also the hotels were not very 

great shakes there. On the end of the island, it was very 

wild; there are those white rocks there. They were very high, 

the rocks above the ocean, the Baltic Sea, and all white, because 

it was all chalk. It's very interesting, and together with 

that, those big beaches, those enormous trees with big 

trunks. Very beautiful is this island, and it was very 

wild still and very uncivilized. We lived with Fischers . 

There was nothing else to eat but herring, but it was the 

most delicious thing. You wouldn't believe how good herring 

is when it just comes from the ocean. They prepared it 

every day a different kind; we lived with the Fischers 

there, and it was fantastic how good everything was. Herring 

morning, midday, and night, but it was always beautiful, 

first because we were always hungry and also because it was 

so good, so fresh. They called it green herring when it 

was just salted in the moment it came, and then you could 

eat it raw. The next morning you could eat it already. Any 

kind of preparation. 


Then, the wife of Brecht, Marianne, his first wife — 
we were going just from one peasant farm to the other to get 
some butter or some bread or something like that. We always 
had to go there to get the other things, except herring. 
It was very beautiful; it was paradisical. People were 
nice when they had something; and when they had nothing, they 
were also polite. Once, when we went into a big farm 
and there was an enormous flock of geese, the gander was wild 
and ran against us with outspread wings, and the other geese — 
it was really dangerous. People said that they jump on you 
and scratch you in the face and all that. Anyway, it was so 
funny at the same time that I stood there and laughed; I didn't 
know it was dangerous. Marianne: she was more cautious, she 
ran away. But I was surrounded by those geese, and I think 
if the farmer hadn't come out, I don't know what would have 
happened. Anyway, they didn't even bite me, but it was 
funny and dangerous (what they said) . And we got also seme 
butter. But another time I was bitten by a dog in the leg 
and that was very sad. It wasn't the leg — the leg would 
heal by itself — but my stockings were torn, and this was a 
bad thing because stockings were very rare. But anyway, it 
was always great fun. 
WESCHLER: What season was that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: That was siommer. We were also swimming, my 
husband and I. Brecht and his wife didn't swim; it was too 


cold for thera. We swanj and then we also took a boat. Once 
we went out with the fishermen, but Brecht became very green, 
and I was almost green; only my husband, he didn't feel 
seasick. (Marianne didn't come with us.) Only my husband 
was never seasick. But when I saw Brecht always becoming 
greener and greener, I said, "I think we should turn back." 
But I was very glad myself. 

Then sometimes on our walks--also Brecht and my 
husband came with us sometimes — we saw a little man going 
around. The only sensation of the place was to go to the 
train every day in the afternoon to see if there was some 
mail coming. We had never mail coming, but everybody was 
there, the peasants and just some people who were there 
for a short time. And also the newspapers came there, and 
that's why we went — to get the newspapers. There we saw 
a little man — he was not like a hunchback but almost, he 
was so bent over--and in every pocket he had a newspaper. 
He waited for the new newspapers, some more newspapers. 
Brecht said, "This man overvalues the newspaper like Karl 
Krauss." Karl Krauss was a great newspaperman, a biting 
essayist, and a great wit, and also a great writer in Vienna. 
He had an incessant fight with Jhering, who was for Brecht, 
so he was against Brecht. Brecht was between the two. So 
we both laughed about this man who overestimated the news- 
paper. Brecht had to leave before we left, and we brought 


hiiu to the station, and there this man was again. And I 

asked somebody on the station if they knew who that is, 

and they said, "Of course. That's Karl Krauss." [laughter] 

Afterwards Karl Krauss wrote in his periodical which was 

called Die Fackel ( The Torch ) , he wrote about his sojourn 

in Riigen, how beautiful that is, and that he always saw 

Brecht and Feuchtwanger there, and that "I must say their 

wives are much too good for those two." [laughter] So 

much about Karl Krauss. But later, Brecht, who didn't read 

very much usually, read his Fackel periodical and also 

some of his work that he did. Die letzten Tage der Menschheit , 

The Last Days of Mankind , and he found this very good. And 

he asked — I don't know if it was just diplomatic, but he 

really liked it, he wouldn't have been diplomatic alone — 

Karl Krauss if he could stage it, because it's a kind of 

play also. And it was an interesting performance; it had 

not much echo but it was interesting, some literary sensation. 

From then on there were only good reviews about Brecht in The 

Torch . 

V7ESCHLER: So Brecht himself directed or adapted the Krauss...? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He directed, maybe also adapted — I haven't 

seen it. It was in Berlin, and I think also by Reinhardt. 

Nobody cared much about it; it was just a literary experience. 

But those who understand something found it very good. It 

was very funny that Brecht would turn this man all around who 


was a terrible tyrant in Vienna. 

WESCHLER: Did you have any other relations with Karl 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, none besides that he thinks I was too good 
for Lion. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: What about Brecht's relation with his first wife? 
FEUCHTWANGER: In that time? We begin already to get there... 
We went back. That was before we lived in Berlin. We went 
back to Munich, and then it was pretty soon that Brecht 
left again for Berlin. Then, when he came back, he came 
already back with his second wife, but he wasn't married 
yet. Marianne wanted to divorce him. I spoke with her. 
(Usually I didn't mingle in those things; I think people 
should make that out thenselves.) But I told her once, I 
said, "I know how difficult it is with Brecht for you, 
to see all his affairs with other women and so, but you 
have to think that he is a genius." Then she said, "I'm 
sick and tired of genius. I want a man who loves me." And 
then she divorced him. She is still alive; she married a 
very good actor, [Theo] Lingen, and lives with him in Vienna. 
He is also a good movie actor. The daughter of her and 
Brecht was in the play Mother Courage ; she played the 
mute daughter Kattrin. Her name is Hiob. She had an enor- 
mous success and still is known as a very good actress. 
Sometimes I hear about her. 


WESCHLER: Where is she? 

FEUCHTWANGER: In Germany. But, you know, those ac- 
tresses are usually not in one place; they play in dif- 
ferent theaters. 

WESCHLER: Well, so you went from there back to.... 
FEUCHTWANGER: We went back to Munich, and then we de- 
cided also because Brecht all the time wrote, "You have to 
leave Munich. It has become a provincial town...." 
Because nobody dared to do anything; we were all afraid 
of the Nazis. Also we were persecuted by the Nazis — I think 
I told you about the taxes or so, yes, and how Bruno Walter 
had to leave because they threw rotten eggs on the stage. 
So we finally decided also to go to Berlin, and that was the 
end of our stay in Munich. I went sometimes back, only to 
stay overnight when I went skiing. I couldn't go directly 
to the mountains; I had to stay overnight there. Then I 
visited ray husband's brother Ludwig and his new wife (he 
was also divorced in the meantime) and also Bruno Frank 
and his wife. 

WESCHLER: Well, let's start talking about Berlin. You had 
mentioned briefly what your house in Berlin was like. Where 
was it? 

FEUCHTWANGER: At first, we had no house. It was only a 
built up on the roof; there was a little apartment built 
there [at Fehrbelliner Platz] . That was the only possibility 


to live there, because you had to have permission and a kind 
of document, a license, that you can have an apartment. And 
we — that was too short a time. Those who were born in 
Berlin or lived all of the time in Berlin came first, and we 
were just newcomers. So we had no choice but.... It was 
very expensive, more expensive than any luxury apartment 
because it has been built up new and they took advantage of 
that. But we were rather happy there. We then made a big 
trip from there to Paris and Spain. I remember that Brecht 
came to the station to say goodbye, and he was very sad that 
we were leaving because he had so many plans to work with 
Lion. It was also a little bit on account of that that 
Lion wanted to go away, because he wanted to work for himself 
Also, I brought him off the theater; I didn't think that 
his kind of theater was too interesting. For me, it was 
too conventional, his theater. When I saw those new things 
happening, I thought that Lion is not made for theater 
because I said I think his talent is the novel. 

So this apartment was very high up, and we had a big 
view over the suburbs. Also, directly underneath were 
tennis courts and the crematorium. It was directly under- 
neath. Directly underneath on the same street across were 
the tennis courts, and behind the tennis courts was the 
crematorium. You could see always the steam or the smoke 
coming out from when they just burned sonebody. 


WESCHLER: Where was this located, by the way? Which part 

of town? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was in the west, not far from where we 

later built a house in the Grunewald, which was the best, 

the most elegant, and also the most beautiful suburb. 

It was all forest and lakes there. But we liked it very 

much so high up; we could see so far. 

And then all of a sudden there came people from England. 
It was because my husband began to become famous in England, 
and there came the newspapermen there. It was something 
that was not heard of before, that somebody cones from 
England, from the London Times and the daily News , and 
whatever they called it, to interview somebody I in Gerroany] . 
It was the first, because the English were still — although 
it was already 1925-26 — angry with Germany from the war. 
That was the first. Also I think my husband was one of the 
first who has been printed abroad. When they came there, 
they were very astonished that we lived in this little 
bird dwelling [laughter] on the roof. They took photos, 
some of which I still have; by chance they were saved. 
Big photos which were then published in England. 

But then was another event. Then came from Russia 
people, also newspaper people: one was a famous writer 
from Russia. [Konstantin Aleksandrovich] Fed in was his 
name; he's a famous writer. He was very aristocratic looking 


and very reserved, blond and blue-eyed and tall and pale. 
He spoke German, and they had also planned to translate 
something together, but my husband couldn't get very warm 
with him, maybe because both were shy. When he had left, 
ray husband said, "I think he doesn't like me." But then 
we read in the newspaper that he spoke glowingly about 
my husband, his personality, about his visit and about 
his work. So you can wirklich make mistakes. 

I had a little Fiat; that was my first car. I had 
the little Fiat, and I brought the newspapermen to the 
radio station, which was a tower, a big tower, like the 
Eiffel Tower a little bit. I thought they would like that, 
but they got so dizzy. ... I was used frcra skiing to go 
on the high mountains, but I found out it wasn't a very good 
idea to bring them there. I almost lost their sympathy. 

But then we went back down, and it was interesting 
because there was an exhibition of very modern architects, 
[waiter] Gropius, and all those, and [Ludwig] Mies van 
der Rohe--all the modern architects had a big exhibition 
there. And for the first time I saw something like tele- 
vision there. The director of this exhibition [Dr. (?) 
Michel] was known to us by our sport coach. We did all 
kinds: I did acrobatics and things like that; ray husband 
did calisthenics; and also we made jogging around and things 
like that. He was also the coach of this director. The 


director had a very beautiful house in the middle of Berlin, 
with a lake and a beautiful park. We were invited there; 
they usually didn't invite anybody there, but that was all 
the coach who made this connection. And then he showed 
me something which nobody had seen at this exhibition: he 
showed me television, the first television. I didn't know 
what it was. I just absolutely couldn't understand it: 
I was standing before a little case, and it looked like a 
mirror first. And then, all of a sudden, I saw people 
moving there, and these were the people who were outside of 
the building. It was not the real television yet, but it 
was the beginning. Inside, in the building, I saw people 
who were outside. 

WESCHLER: There weren't any commercials yet. [laughter] 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was an absolutely new invention. 
It was absolutely new, and only very select people were 
allowed to see it in a little room. I don't know why it 
was hidden. Maybe they were afraid that scmebody could 
imitate it, steal the invention. 

Mies van der Rohe was the other architect, and [LaszloJ 
Mo holy-Nag y (he was also a famous painter) — those had a 
big exhibition there. I was always for the new things and 
was interested, and so I thought I should show it to the 
Russians. But they didn't understand it. They couldn't 
understand that somebody could be interested in this kind of 


building. But they were very nice, and we heard that they 
wrote also very nice about us; but since we couldn't read 
Russian, we didn't know it. Only about Fedin we had seme- 
body translate it for us. 

WESCHLER: Were there many Russians in Berlin at that time? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, no. Never. [And that was also] the 
only visit from England. English people didn't go to 
Germany; they still hated Germany from the First World War 
(which ended in 1918, and this was not even ten years after). 
There was still a great hate for the destruction with 
the Big Bertha. 

WESCHLER: The attacks on London. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. My husband was the first one who 
had been translated abroad — in fact, the very first one, right 
after the war in France. I think I told you about that, 
his prisoner-of-war play iDie Kr iegsgef angenen] , which was 
then translated and published in a newspaper. But this was 
something else; it was the big success of a novelist then. 
That they came was really something. It was also in the 
newspapers; usually they didn't bring just those personal 
things in the news in Germany. 

WESCHLER: What were some of the things that he was working 
on at that time in the early days in Berlin? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Most of the time he wrote Success . 
WESCHLER: Already at that time, very early on...? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. That was the only thing he did 

really, except the play with Brecht together, Kalkutta, 

4. Mai , and another play alone, Wird Hill Amnestiert? 

( Will Hill Be Amnestied? ) which h^d been performed at the 

State Theatre, just before Hitler. And then it was 

Success ; I think he wrote more than three years on Success . 

We came in '25 and he finished it in '28, and then it had to 

be printed. So it was most of the time, and when I was 

skiing in the Alps, then he sent me the proofs to correct. 

WESCHLER: You might tell that story on tape. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . When I was skiing, we usually were in 

a group and had a guide or a teacher. We made big tours 

on the high mountains. 

WESCHLER: Did Lion ski as well as you? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He had tried. When I began, we went together — 

it was during the war--to Austria, which was our ally. Here 

there was this famous man, Hannes Schneider, who was at 

first only a porter who brought the water to the ski huts 

and also the wood to make a fire, because it was high above 

the trees, in the snow where no trees were growing. He 

was discovered by the brother-in-law of Sigmund Freud, because 

he saw him skiing. Skiing was very new. It was done only 

in Sweden first, but only to go from one place to the other. 

In Sweden there are no high mountains, so it was only long 

cross-country. This was like in a car or something; it was 


faster going, faster than walking. In Switzerland, those 
people who were guides for the mountains in summer, they 
did some skiing, but they just went down skiing; and they 
usually fell down. There was no method or so: very fast 
go, and then falling. And this young peasant was a man who 
was thinking. Mr. Bernays — that was the brother-in-law 
of Sigraund Freud,* he was an American; he came there only for 
the beauty of the winter landscape--he was interested in 
him and told him to develop what he did for skiing. So he 
developed a method that you don't have to fall: you can 
ski whole mountains without falling a single time. Even very 
daring descents or so. It was called the Hannes Schneider 
method . 

We went to Sankt Anton, where he lived, and he was 
our teacher there. But there was no snow. Although it was 
January, there was almost no snow, only one meadow, a steep 
meadow, where the snow was ice. There we began to ski, and 
Hannes Schneider was there to supervise — he had also 
teachers — and he said, "I cannot teach skiing. Skiing is 
not skating, and we cannot ski on ice." But still he wanted 
to show us a little bit the method. And I did it all right. 
But my husband — the first time he wanted to go down, 
he fell. The ice was interrupted by a stone; he fell and 
hurt himself very badly on his backbone. Immediately he 

got up and didn't tell right away that it hurt very much, 

*Walter Bernays was in fact a third cousin of Freud's wife, 
not her brother. 


but then we found out he had to give up for the time being 
at least. So he never went back to skiing, because he had 
also his work to do. He didn't want to interrupt something 
for something he couldn't do very well. I also think it 
was because in sports he was more enduring than skillful. 
WESCHLER: You often went on these ski trips? 
FEUCHTWANGER: I went every year. That was always my 
birthday present, that I could go skiing. 
WESCHLER: You always went by yourself? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I went by myself . I wasn't long by 
myself there. But Hannes Schneider was very nice to my 
husband, and he told him that he shouldn't try to ski anymore 
because it could get worse. He should try to cure that 
out. He was a great admirer of my husband because he 
read The Ugly Duchess . It [takes place in] Tyrol, you know, 
his nearest homeland, and he knew the novel and was a great 
admirer of ray husband. 

Later on, Hannes Schneider, who was very tall and 
good looking --he looked like a Gothic saint from a church, 
brown and tall, and the ladies ran after him (that was 
always the case with ski teachers, but especially him), 
especially and mostly aristocratic ladies and so. He al- 
ways tried a little bit to begin to flirt with me, but I 
didn't like to flirt with a man of whan I knew that he 
was married. He had a very nice wife. 


WESCHLER: You only liked to flirt with those who you 
knew weren't married. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . I didn't want to disturb things like 
that; it wasn't worthwhile. It was very funny: it was a 
kind of friendship, and also sometimes irritating him, 
the friendship. Then he had a terrible accident: he 
fell down, also because it was so icy. He was bringing 
some water up to the ski hut. With a very rich American 
he went there. He had this thing on his back instead of a 
backpack, and it was copper and very difficult to transport 
over the narrow, very narrow trail. On the other side there 
was a little river, which was usually frozen in winter, but 
it was running a little bit. It was very high, a kind of 
canyon, a tall canyon, a very big canyon. I was on the 
other side, going to another ski hut with friends. We 
made fun. (There were no ski lifts; you had to walk every- 
where.) And he said he recognized my laughing and at that 
moment he fell, way down into the abyss. Maybe it was that 
his attention was taken away from this dangerous path because 
he heard me laughing. Anyway he told me that afterwards. 
He broke his thigh, which was very bad in those days, and 
bad for a skier because usually when scmebody broke a thigh 
the leg was always shorter then. I went back home from 
there, I went to Innsbruck--that was the next town where 
he was in the hospital — and I visited him. For him it was 


a great thing that I came there; he never forgot that. 
Because it was not for flirting; it was just for friendship. 
Then he told me that he was near death several days before 
because he had an embolism in his lung from this fall; 
It was a compound fracture, and he had an embolism in his 
lung. And just by chance — he was already given up — he 
vomited the whole thing, a kind of bleeding of the lung 
which could be very dangerous; but in this case it saved 
him because the embolism came out, this piece of dried 
blood which was in his lung, and so he was saved. We saw 
each other every year, and always there was a kind of ir- 
ritation that he couldn't get what he wanted. But on the 
other side he was very grateful; he never forgot that I vis- 
ited him when he was sick. 

WESCHLER: Meanwhile you were going to tell a story about 
the galley proofs of Success . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. Once it already had been printed, in 
•28 or so, there were the galley proofs of Success . And 
the secretary, who should do it, she just couldn't do it; 
she was not up to it. So my husband was very desperate 
because he wanted to write something else; he wrote some 
essays in those days, and he wanted not to be bothered with 
the proofs. But the secretary was not used to those things 
and he finally told her, "Send it to Marta at Sankt Anton." 
So every night after skiing and after we had dinner — I had 


dinner with the others — I went to my room and read the proofs. 
I wanted to do it right, so I couldn't go dancing like the 
others, and I got the worst reputation because they thought 
always I had a lover with me. I couldn't get that out of 
them. They never would have believed it. And Hannes Schneider 
was very upset; he didn't even look at me anymore. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: I suppose we should go back to Berlin a little 
bit more and talk about your life in those very early days 
in Berlin. I had asked you about Kurt Weill. Maybe you 
could tell us a little bit more about him. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Kurt Weill was a very young man still and he 
wasn't married yet, but he knew already Lotte Lenya. Also 
Brecht knew Lotte Lenya, and when my husband's play The 
Oil Islands was played at the State Theatre, Brecht and 
also Weill insisted that my husband would let her play in 
this first performance. It would be a great chance for her; 
she was a dancer before. My husband said, "Yes, it's all 
right." The ugly woman then was [played by] Maria Koppen- 
hofer; that I insisted because she was still young. There 
was a very famous, more famous, actress who wanted to play 
the part; her name was Lucie Hoflich and I admired her very 
much. But I thought we should give a chance to a young 
actress, and I insisted that the part be given to Maria 
Koppenhofer. The other should be a very beautiful girl, 
very exotic looking, and my husband said, "It's all right. 


but she is not a beauty and that is necessary." 

WESCHLER: Lotte Lenya . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Lotte Lenya. But Brecht insisted that that's 

just it: she has to be sexy but not so beautiful. So 

my husband gave in. And she was really very good. Kurt 

Weill wrote the incidental music for it. And also she sang 

some song s . 

WESCHLER: This was before she was famous. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, immediately she became famous then. Not 

after this play, but after The Threepenny Opera . 

WESCHLER: This was before The Threepenny Opera ? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was before. Then Brecht and Weill — 

Hanns Eisler, I think, composed also something. Was it 

Hanns Eisler who composed then Kalkutta, 4. Mai ? But there 

is a song which Sybille Binder, who played the wife of 

Warren Hastings, sings to the guitar; she sang "Surabaya 

Jhonny, " this famous ballad which Weill composed; she 

sang that in Kalkutta, 4. Mai . So there was always an 

interplay between the four, I would say — Brecht and Eisler 

and Weill and Feuchtwanger . 

WESCHLER: Well, let me turn this tape over. 

FEUCHTWANGER: But with Eisler, I'm not so sure. I will have 

to find out if Eisler was involved. I don't know if Eisler 

made the music; I think it was always Weill. 


JULY 25, 1975 

WESCHLER: We're talking about the plays. We've just 

been saying that in addition to working on Success 

in those early days in Berlin, Lion was also returning 

in a rather large degree to the medium of drama. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Not much — he had only two. One was a rework, 

a new adaptation with Brecht, of his Warren Hastings , 

which was then called Kalkutta, 4. Mai . Jessner was very 

much interested in it. 

WESCHLER: How did that come about? Whose idea was that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, Brecht, of course. Brecht said always 

"l think it's a pity that it isn't played anymore; it should 

be played again. It is such a real theater play. It's 

real theater." So then my husband: "Oh, I have forgotten 

about that; I don't want to be reminded." But Brecht didn't 

let him alone. 

And Lion wrote another play which I thought was very 
nice, and it has also been played; that was Wird Hill 
Amnestiert? ( Will Hill be Given Amnesty? ) . 
WESCHLER: What was that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was a comedy. It was played at the State 
Theatre, and I liked it very much, but it was not a great 
success. It was already near to the Hitler movement. So 


people were not so much for theater. People were — it was 
unruly already. I had it translated into English. I 
think if that would be — it has to be adapted for the time 
now, because something about America or England or so is 
not actual anymore. But I think it is Very funny. 
WESCHLER: What is the theme of the play? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The theme is very simple: a man became famous, 
a young Englishman, because he was victorious in a battle 
in India, I think. (I have to read it again.) He was 
victorious and did this against the will of those above 
him, his superiors. But he became famous on account of 
this battle. Then he had to go to jail, I think maybe 
it was because he did it against his superiors. It was a 
little bit like in Success . There was a woman who wanted 
to free him. Finally he comes free, and then he comes 
back and tells her that he was innocent because he didn't 
do the battle. He was not even victorious; it was just 
a legend. Then she is, of course, very upset about the 
whole thing; she said, "Now I have went through so many 
things" — she even slept with people, just to free him. 
She wanted to make him a scene, but he was so tired, he 
just Ifell] asleep. She stands there, full of love, 
because when she sees him asleep it comes back, the 
tenderness. That's the end of it. But as much as I 
remember, it is a very good plot. 


WESCHLER: So that was your favorite of those plays. 
FEUCHTWANGER: It was the only thing I really liked because 
I found it so new. I liked scsne scenes also in the other 
plays. I must say I liked the old Warren Hastings much 
better than I liked Kalkutta^ 4. Mai with Brecht, because 
Brecht in those days he was impressed with the so-called 
"happy end." He wrote a play Happy End , you ranember, and 
also Threepenny Opera has a happy end, very much a happy 
end, almost a caricature of a happy end. He made also this 
play Warren Hastings a happy end, but my husband had made 
it that the wife has to leave because the governor couldn't 
be governor and be her husband [at the same time], because 
she did something which was against his honor. And when he 
sits alone, when she has left, he has a great economical 
success, which was most important, because his enanies 
came from the Parliament to prove that he was a bad admin- 
istrator. Also there were many cruelties which he did, 
what in those days was absolutely natural, you know, the 
colonists; but he said, "I had to do it because they al- 
ways ask that I send more money." He said there was always 
the dilemma either to be humane or to send money. Anyway, 
when the ship with which his wife has to leave and go back 
to England lis about to depart], he said, "When I can leave 
here, I hope you can wait for me in England." That was the 
last word. Then he sits alone at his desk and says, "The 


same ship, the same ship." Because the same ship which 
brings his wife to England also brings his economical 
success, i big sura which came out of his administration. 
He says, "The same ship, the same ship." That's the end. 
It's very sentimental, but it's fantastic. I think it's 
a great end. In this way I, even, can defend sentimentality. 
WESCHLER: That was the end of which play? 
FEUCHTWANGER: That was the end of Warren Hastings . And 
the end of Kalkutta, 4. Mai was ray end, in a way. I told 
you once that when they didn't find out — Brecht wanted to 
have a happy ending. The Indian adversary of Hastings, 
who had almost brought his downfall in Warren Hastings , he 
has to be alleged that he had ccmraitted a crirae. He was 
a raaharaja, a very big and rich man, and [they needed] a 
very small little crime which would dishonor him. So the 
two were sitting there — we were still in this apartment 
high up on the roof. I carae just frora the market, and I 
told you when my housekeeper said she was so glad that I 
came back finally. 

WESCHLER: Right, because they had been fighting so much. 
FEUCHTWANGER: She heard than fighting, and said, "Oh, 
I am so glad that you came home. Mr. Brecht has just 
killed the poor doctor." I said, "But why do you think 
that?" She said, "You know, I heard them fight, and then 
all of a sudden I just heard the voice of Mr. Brecht — 


no Dr. Feuchtwanger . " So I went in and they were sitting 
there and laughing — because the fight was never personal; 
it was just discussion. And Brecht had a loud voice, and 
my husband had a low voice. So they were just laughing 
because they had ended their fight. Then Brecht asked 
me, "Maybe you have an idea, a brainstorm. We cannot 
advance. We are stuck." Then they asked me what they should 
do, because she accepted, the wife — that was the fault, 
that's why she had to leave in Ha st ing s — a beautiful jewelry 
from one of the tribes. And then it has been said that this 
tribe was not destroyed but another tribe, which was 
revolting. That came up from his enemies from England who 
came there from the Parliament; they said that it was the 
end of him when this came out, that his wife took the jewel- 
ry. But he didn't know about it: she did it clandestinely. 
She had a very bad conscience also. So they said, "What 
can we do?" And I said, "It's very simple. She should 
just say that she did it to give it to the poor. She took 
the jewels because there was so much famine and she 
wanted to help the poor. It was the only means--she had not 
the money--to take it from the one to give to the other." 
And they accepted that. Then Brecht said, "You know this 
idea is worth $500." Or $450, I think he said. And we 
laughed. But every time he saw me he said, "Did your 
husband give you the $450 yet?" [laughter] 


WESCHLER: So they collaborated on that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, and then it was the happy end, because 
Marianne could stay and he could send the money to England. 
WESCHLER: So, although it was your ending, you disapproved 
of having a happy ending. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I disapproved. I thought the first version 
was much better. 

WESCHLER: But you were a party to the destruction of the 
first version. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it's true, [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Perhaps you would like to talk about your [1926] 
trip to France and Spain. 

FEUCHTWANGER: We left Berlin for a big trip.^ We. always 
made long trips. We never left for a short time. We 
wanted to stay and know the country and not go back im- 
mediately. Brecht came with his wife to the station; I 
remember they called the station the Zoo Station because 
the zoo was very near. He was very sad that we left. 

Then we went direct to Paris. And in Paris it was 
enormously cheap because there was then the French inflation, 
It has been said that it was made by two brothers who 
speculated on the French franc and made enormous money 
with that. My husband always had the intention to write 
a novel about the brothers Fry, who made that. But finally 
he had no interest anymore. But in those days, when he 


saw the inflation in Paris, it was very much in his 
thoughts. The most impressive thing was that we went to 
see the Mdstinguett and.... 

WESCHLER: Was this your first time in Paris? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, the first time. And that was the 
Folies-Bergere. This was the original Folies-Bergere, 
and there was — who is this singer who sings, "Vive la 

WESCHLER: Je ne sais pas. 

FEUCHTWANGER: [laughter] He was here then a star— Maurice 
Chevalier. That was his first appearance, the first ap- 
pearance of Maurice Chevalier with his little straw hat 
and his cane; and Mistinguett, she was a famous singer in 
those times. La Mistinguett — that was all of what was 
famed in France there. She had also a big estate in the 
south of France where we later lived. In the Folies- 
Bergere, it was the first time I saw something like that; 
it was called "variety" in those days. Both were singing 
together, and it was a sensation, the first time that he 
came on the stage. She was already known, but he was 
absolutely new. From then on, they always went together, 
their numbers were together. 

WESCHLER: Did you have a feeling from the very start that 
he would be. . . ? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, we could see that. It was something 


which I never drearaed of, it was so sensational — the per- 
formance of those two. And I forgot everything else what 
happened. Also it was too much. I always said half would 
be more, because one destroyed the impression of the other. 
With my German provincial mind, I couldn't follow this 
quick French wit. Then when we came out — this was also 
when we arrived there — we took a taxi from the hotel, and 
it was so terrible when we saw those old elegant gentlemen 
opening the doors of the taxi; they were very old fam- 
ilies, aristocrats who lost all their money in the inflation, 
and the only thing was to take a tip from the foreigners 
when they opened the door of the taxi. The whole thing was 
not fun anymore for me, that it was so cheap, that you 
could buy everything — I bought dresses and so — because of 
this impression I had from this terrible downfall of rich 

WESCHLER: Do you have any other memories of Paris? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Of course. We saw everything, the 
Luxembourg [Gardens] .... 

WESCHLER: This is also Lion's first trip? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, we were only in France before from 
Switzerland when we went from Lausanne. You could cross 
the Lake Geneva; there was a spa, Evian-les-Bains , that was 
the only French town we knew, on the French border. We 
were not in France before. 


This is also important because in the Louvre we 
saw Goya for the first time, his etchings which made so 
much impression on my husband. And then when we were in 
Spain, in Madrid, in the Prado, we saw all his etchings, 
even more than his paintings. In th^ Prado all his great 
paintings are there, the most famous paintings, the Maja 
and the Maja Desnuda . But what was most impressing for us 
two were the etchings Desastres de la guerra ( Disasters 
of the War) and those grotesque [ Caprichos ] . 
WESCHLER: Had Lion been impressed by Goya before, or had 
he even encountered him? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, he only knew his name. He hasn't even 
seen any reproductions. What he knew about Goya was 
only because in Munich a director of the museum who was 
a friend of ours was in Spain very much. Every year he 
went to Spain because he had to do it for the museum, 
buying the paintings and so; and when he came back, he 
usually made a lecture about the paintings. I remember 
that the father-in-law of Thomas Maan, Professor [Alfred] 
Pringsheira, called this man who was our friend — August 
L. Meyer was his name — "the Gohameyer" because he pro- 
nounced Goya always like Goha. He was then in jail, this 
August L. Meyer, because that was already the beginning 
of the Hitler movement, the harassing of the intellectuals. 
Somebody who wanted his position in the museum denounced 


hira as being bribed by, I think, in Spain that he had 
made an expertise, they called it, which was not honest. 
Anyway he was in jail, and this was the Iinodel for the 
character of Dr. Martin] Kriiger afterwards, you know, in 
Success ; it was the impersonation of him. 

WESCHLER: Right. The characterization was based on him. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. Of course it was another person 
because Mr. Meyer was very small and very quick and Kriiger 
was a good-looking man. Around him is the whole Success . 
"The man Kriiger," he is always called in Success . That's 
why I wanted to mention it, because he always spoke about 
Goya and professor Pringsheim called him Gohameyer. [laughter] 

Then we made excursions also from Paris in the neigh- 
borhood and environs. We saw many churches — Notre Dame de 
Paris, of course — and all the galleries which you could 

Then we went on to Spain. We wanted also to go to 
Spain to swim in the ocean. It has the Atlantic Ocean 
and the Mediterranean Ocean. And it was very difficult. 
First we went to Hendaye, which was still France. 
That's one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. 
Very high waves, but very slow and even, so it's easy 
to swim there. You can swim underneath; it's never rough, 
so it never drags you like here. There's no backdtag or so. 
The next beach which is almost the neighbor of this beach 


is already in Spain. We then were in Biarritz, and it 
was most beautiful, too. My husband saved an English 
lady from drowning, because she was not up to those high 
waves. She began to shout and cry — she was already under- 
water when my husband swam fast and brought her back. 

Then we met there Arnolt Bronnen by chance, and another 
man who also lives here, still lives here — the nephew 
of the famous director in Berlin, Brahm. Otto Brahm was 
his name, and his nephew was Hans Brahm, and he was here 
a famous movie director. He is old now. He had 
great successes with the movies. One was about a 
madonna. Our Lady of Spain or something: children think 
they see the Lady in the clouds. It was a big miracle 
picture which was very famous in those days [The Miracle of 
Our Lady of Fatima] . 
WESCHLER: So you met him there.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , we met both of then. Arnolt Bronnen was 
our friend and also a friend of Brecht. He was older than 
Brecht and had a big success with Vatermord , which means 
The Assassination of the Father . The son who murders 
his father. That was the beginning of the new direction 
of plays. It's called the Neue Sachlichkeit , "the new 
facts," in a way. Jhering, the critic, always used this 
expression die neue Sachlichkeit , "the new facts." 
WESCHLER: What was he like? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Bronnen was in Munich several times; 
he lived [there] for a while. Also he came to the premiere 
of Edward II; you reraanber when I told you that Caspar 
Neher, who was drunk, wanted to break his cranium because 
he thought that Bronnen had said something against Brecht. 
You remember, I threw myself between than? 
WESCHLER: Right, right. 

FEUCHTWANGER: That was in our house, our apartment. And 
then the whole wine came into my decollete, [laughter] 
Nobody would have dared to go against Caspar Neher, who 
was such a giant, but I didn't know what to do, and I 
just jumped up and turned his nose around and took him off 
the direction of Bronnen, at least. And this was Bronnen. 

Also it was very difficult to get to the market. 
It was not very near the markets, where we lived in Munich. 
My help, she always asked me to use her bicycle. We 
couldn't afford a bicycle, but she always went to the 
farmers on Sunday and brought some food back — eggs and 
butter. So she made more money than she made in my house, 
of course. She lent me her bicycle, but I had never used 
a bicycle before. Bronnen said, "But that's easy. I help 
you." So Bronnen, who was very elegant and had a monocle — 
he was blond, and had blue eyes and looked very good and 
was a great friend of the ladies — he ran beside me on the 
bicycle through the Georgestrasse, where we lived, and taught 


me bicycling. All of a sudden, a little boy ran before me, 
so I jumped off the bicycle, and Bronnen had the bicycle in 
his hand (I was on the other side) . You know, if somebody 
would have seen it, Bronnen, who in Berlin was a friend of 
the great film actress [Lya de Putti] — he also was working 
for the UFA, the famous UFA lUniver sum -Film Aktien-Gesell- 
schaf t] — to see him running beside me would have been very 
funny. We met him there in France. My husband liked to 
go sometimes into the casino, but he didn't play anymore 
like he did in Monte Carlo. Bronnen and also Hans Brahm 
went with him sometimes. I was playing tennis. There was 
nobody who played tennis there. The tennis courts were 
very far from Biarritz, and I had to go with the tram. 
There was only a teacher there who was a kind of a coach; 
he was a college teacher during the year, but to make some 
money, he was a coach for tennis. I played with him, and 
of course it was wonderful. He was glad to have somebody 
to teach because he had no other students. He taught me 
also the new service. Until then, ladies always served 
from below, and he taught me the new service. It was very 
exciting. With a good teacher and a good player, you 
play better usually. Then Bronnen said, "Oh, I would like 
to play also. I used to play in Vienna." So I took him 
with me, and we played together. He was always for violence- 
he was very violent. I told you that he was prisoner of war 


in Italy, and he was so full of hate always. During the 
First World War, he was a prisoner of war in Italy. He 
was also wounded in his neck, and he had a raw, raspy '. 
voice. For the women, it was very seductive, but it came 
only from this wounding. He wanted always to play, to show 
me his manhood, to play like a real man. He threw the ball 
and hit the ball, and always it went into the net. You 
have to think when you play tennis; it's not just playing. 
But he said, "I cannot play with you. You want always to 
win." Then this professor, the coach, saw us playing, and 
afterwards he came up and told me, "You must not play with 
Mr. Brunere" — he called him that always — "He's spoiling 
your style. It's very bad for you." I said, "I don't 
care much for style. I just play for fun. And he is a 
friend of ours." So I let him win sometimes. 
WESCHLER: Whenever he was able to get it over the net, 
he was able to win. {laughter] 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. No — I threw my balls also in the 
net, so finally one more and he had won. [laughter] I 
just wanted to have fun. It's ridiculous to have to win 
all the time. 

WESCHLER: Well, then you went on from there to Spain. 
FEUCHTWANGER: From there we went to St. Jean-de-Luz on 
the border. And from there we went to Spain; that was the 
Basque country. It was very beautiful there. It was 


much less mondaine than Biarritz, which was very great 
fashion (all the rich people came there from America, 
from everywhere). Hendaye was the same landscape, only it 
was absolutely natural. We went into the inland to see 
the Basque people in the mountains and their dances and 
so. It was absolutely unspoiled. 

No — it was not like that: first from Paris we went 
to Madrid, and then we saw Madrid for a while. This was 
where we saw the Goya Caprichos and also what was very funny, 
the Alhambra, the big castle in Madrid. No — in Madrid is 
the Prado but this was in Granada. From Madrid we went to 
Granada and saw the Alhambra, the big castle. And this 
castle in a way was beautiful because it didn't look like 
a castle; it looked more like a fortress. Also this 
Granada, like Madrid, is in the middle of a kind of desert. 
In the winter it is green, everything, and in summer it is 
absolutely burned down. And in the middle of this dry 
country there is something which is fantastic — it looks 
like a miracle: all is green, lush green, with lots of 
water coming down in little rivulets and rivers. This is 
the hill of the Alhambra. This has been made by the Arabs. 
It was the great service which the Arabs did for Spain 
to find those fountains by digging in the earth. They 
were great specialists for finding water and bringing it 
WESCHLER: Of necessity. They had to be, coming from where 


they did. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, but this was absolutely their spe- 
ciality, also mathematics was their speciality and algebra 
and also the stars, astronomy. And this hill was just 
like a miracle in this dried-out country; all is lush and 
green, the bushes and trees. Before you come to the 
castle, it is already beautiful. You walk up. And then 
there was a little court before you went into the castle, 
and we were sitting there.... After we had seen the 
castle, there was a great disappointment inside. Because 
from outside it looked so big; it is in the form of 
the mountain. It is not a straight building, as you think 
is the Louvre or so, but it goes up and down like the 
mountain; it follows the line of the mountain. And this 
is so beautiful. And between there are all towers. But 
inside, when you first come inside, it's very disappointing, 
because I found the style--they call it the "horse iron" 
style: the arches are in the form of horse hoofs. 
WESCHLER: Horseshoe. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Horseshoe — that is the style of the arches 
of the Arabs. And this was very disappointing. It didn't 
look great like the Greek or Roman style or also the Gothic 
style with the columns; it was too coquette in a way. Too 
much filigree: you looked through everything. I liked the 
serious architecture. Then the first thing when you come 


there is the famous court of the lions, yard of the lions. 
I saw always pictures and photos before about the big 
lions who were sitting there--half-sitting with their 
forelegs straight. I thought they would be enormous lions, 
with a big fountain. But they were very tiny lions. 
WESCHLER: Little cats. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . Not so little, but still the whole thing 
lacked a grandeur, you know, a greatness. It was a real 
disappointment. Then, when we went through, we finally 
found one big court which was called the Myrtle Court. 
This is a big basin, almost like a swimming pool. But 
it was not a swimming pool; it was a real basin where there 
were flowers inside, water lilies or so. The proportion 
of this basin was so beautiful. It ' s a little bit like 
here also, the [J. Paul] Getty Museum, but much bigger. 
Only walls around, not so many little thin columns as in 
the other courtyard, always two columns because one was 
too little so they had to have always two small, thin 
columns. These were straight walls with these big long 
beautiful dimensions — proportions. And there, for the 
first time, I was happy with the Alhambra. 

Also from outside. We became tired from going around 
so much, so we went outside. At the entrance there was a 
place where you could sit on benches, and there were big 
white pigeons. And then I saw the funniest thing I ever 


saw. There was a male pigeon, who was not like you 
think — the very soft and kind pigeon, the bird of love, 
almost. This male pigeon always persecuted the female 
pigeons, picked on them and even sometimes came blood out 
of them. He ran after them, and the poor female pigeons, 
instead of flying away, were always running away, with the 
male pigeon following. It was very cruel. I never can 
separate Alhambra from this pigeon. I never thought that 
pigeons can be so awful, [laughter] 
WESCHLER: Did you go to Toledo also? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of course, we were in Toledo, and this 
was also a kind of inspiration for my husband for The Jewess 
of Toledo . It's very beautiful, Toledo. Also there were 
very few foreigners there; maybe it was not the season. 
We could really see. 

Also in Granada we went on another hill, across from 
the Alhambra. There was a hill, and when you went up — it 
was a kind of road--there were little houses on one side, 
and on the other side was a big abyss. Very white. And 
you could see into the houses: little rooms; usually the 
only thing that you saw was a Singer sewing machine. It 
was the only thing what reminded you of civilization. There 
were no cars, nothing else. An enormous amount of children. 
The children surrounded you and shouted until your ears 
hurt; they were beggars, just begging. You couldn't get 


rid of them; you couldn't even advance because they were 
all around you. I was chasing them away because we wanted 
to go farther. We gave them some little money, and we 
wanted to go farther. It was impossible; they were always 
around our feet. When I chased them away, a woman came 
out from one of the houses and cursed me. Terrible cursing. 
We knew a little Spanish: we always tried to learn the 
language before we went into another country; mostly we 
forgot it pretty soon. But we understood what she said, and 
it was just terrible. We found out that those were Gypsies, 
and they were known as putting curses on you. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. Also we were afraid to get fleas 
from the children. In those climates, there were lots of 
fleas; the grownups much less, but the children had the 
fleas. Also lice sometimes. But the houses were very clean, 
All was whitewashed — that was the law, to keep it clean — but 
the children looked, of course, like beggars. So we were 
afraid to get fleas and lice from them. 

WESCHLER: Clearly Lion was very much impressed by Spain: 
he was going to make Spain the locale for many works. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Very much. Also the population, the people, 
although not the higher-ups. We didn't know many of them, 
but we saw them in Biarritz, at the casino, playing, and 
we got a bad impression from them. They were very greedy 


and very unpolite. Some people are polite when they go on 
a trip, and some people are just the contrary. For 
instance, the English are much nicer when they go on trips. 
But they are very reluctant usually to make friends in their 
own country. When you know them, then they are very nice. 
But in other countries they are very polite. And the 
Spaniards are just the opposite. They behaved terribly in 
the casino; they took sometimes the money which somebody 
else won — they took it themselves — and they were very hated 
in the casino by the French. They were mostly people who had 
lots of money. They could be also a kind of Mafioso or 
something like that. They were just there to make money in 
the casino. 

WESCHLER: This was in the days before the Spanish Republic, 
wasn't it? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Not only in the days, it was — yes, it was 
before the Republic. There was still the king there. It 
was during the days of the war in North Africa, with 
Morocco, I think. Abd-el-Krim was the enemy. He was the 
leader of the Africans. They were such good soldiers, 
those Africans, that the Spanish people couldn't defeat 
them; they had to have the help of the French. With the 
help of the French, they could finally defeat Abd-el-Krim. 
They had also the Berbers, who were still a very savage 
tribe in the mountains. They were the big soldiers there. 
And we were just in the south of Spain, in a little town, 


when the war was over. Abd-el-Krim surrendered — not to 
the Spanish but to the French. He had no respect of the 
Spanish soldiers, or the military, but he respected the ' 
French. It was very funny. We were in a little hotel 
which was called the Alfonso Trese (Alfonso XIII was the 
king then) . There were two big tables; one big table was 
for the French, and the other table was for the Spanish, and 
they didn't speak to each other, the two victorious people. 
So that was the end of this war in Africa. 

WESCHLER: Was there a sense while you were there that the 
Republic was about to be founded? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not at all. It was just that the 
military was not very well developed. The army was known 
as very bad. Probably the soldiers didn't want to fight 
because they were not liberated; they were almost treated 
like serfs in those days. That's probably why they were 
bad soldiers, because when they fought against [Francisco] 
Franco, they were very good soldiers. So it was not the 
people: it was just that they didn't want to go to war. 
for the king. And this maybe was a kind of sign that the 
king was not popular. I remember when the king married, he 
married an English princess, [Victoria Eugenie of] Battenberg, 
and he came to Munich. I was still a child when I saw the 
wedding train. I think they were married there. I saw them 
sitting in a carriage, Alfonso XIII and his wife. 


the English princess. 

WESCHLER: Do you have any other manor ies of your trip 

in Spain? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I have one memory because I wanted to 

swim in the ocean. And we couldn't. Nobody was allowed 

to swim there. 


FEUCHTWANGER: It was too Catholic. And as we usually had 

from our trip when we made the hike through Italy, we had 

our swimsuits under our clothes. We wanted to swim when we 

made all these walks all through Spain. 

We went up to Ronda, where the famous toros , the bullfights, 
were in the middle of Spain in a little town. There was not — we 
didn't see a fight; we saw a fight in Madrid. But it was 
interesting to see the young toros being trained for the 
fight. Also the children on the streets in Ronda, they 
always were [dressed up] as toreros . One was the torero 
and the other was the toro. And on the streets they made 
street fights. This was very interesting because no for- 
eigners ever came there. 

Then we went also on the south coast, what is called 
the Golden Coast. We were just prepared to go into the 
ocean when then came a priest by. He stood there and 
looked and looked, and we didn't dare to swim, not to hurt 
his feelings, his Catholic feelings. So we finally came 


to Malaga, this town where they make this famous wine, 
and we asked where we could swim, where there would be 
at least some huts where you could change clothes or so. 
Nobody knew about it. Malciga, that was a big town, but also 
not known very much for civilization. In the middle of the 
town were high hills, very high hills, and very straight 
down to this lower part of the city. And on top of the 
hill we saw people fishing. They had their lines hanging 
down. But they didn't fish fishes; they fished birds. Ja . 
They were weighted, and they had a piece of bread or so. 
And when the birds went there to nip frcm the bread, then 
they brought them up. Instead of fish they ate the birds, 
[laughter] Also, the first time we ate there, it was very 
good: on the street you could eat little shrimps, tiny 
little shrimps. They fried them on the street, and you 
could eat them with the skin; it was very crispy and very 
good. So I remember that from Malaga. 

And then we went to Seville, and Seville is very 
famous, by the very beautiful churches there and also 
castles. Also there is this tabac , you know, where Carmen 
plays, where they make the cigars, we saw all that. And 
then in Seville, we saw a bullfight. We were long speaking 
about [whether] we should go there; we were both very 
much against it. But my husband said, "I think when you are 
iii. the country, you have to see what happens there, and we 


should see it." So finally we went there, and there was 
a great, one of the greatest bullfighters who ever lived, 
[JuanJ Beljnonte. It was Easter. They all came from the 
churches, and the whole town of Seville smelled beautifully 
of incense and scraething which they threw on the streets; 
it was a brush, a kind of herbs. The feet of the people 
crushed that, and the whole town smelled fantastic from 
incense and this kind of brush [rosemary and sage] . So we 
saw the big holy figures of Maria and all the saints, and 
the big flags and all. They had the holy people on big 
platforms; they carried them. They were sitting, different 
madonnas and so. It was very holy, and afterwards they 
went all to the bullfight. 

WESCHLER: Where this great, famous bullfighter was fighting. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. But you know it was Easter, and first 
they went to church, and everybody was kneeling when the 
holy monstrance came. They were all kneeling on the streets, 
and in the afternoon they went to the bullfight. 
WESCHLER: What did you think of the bullfight? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ach. I couldn't look at it. The terrible 
thing was not the bull; the terrible thing was the 
horses. That was the most terrible thing. Before the 
bull comes, the banderilleros fight with the bull. The 
bull is there, but this is before the bullfighter comes. 
On horses are the picadors . The banderilleros 


are jumping on the bull and putting their little flags with 

little daggers on the bull's back. This is bad enough 

because it hurts, but it's not dangerous. Then come the 

horses, the picadors with big spears. They really hurt 

the bull, because you hear when the spear goes through the 

skin of the belly. They pick the steer not to hurt him 

too much, because they have to leave him for the bullfighter, 

but the steer himself gets always more ferocious from the 

blood. His horns go into the belly of the horses, and 

this makes this terrible noise, you know, a muffled noise, just 

terrible, and the entrails come out. The horses drag the 

intestines through sand and still have to go on, and 

sometimes the horses fall down but mostly they could go to 

the end. And then they were dead, too, of course. But 

this was worse than the bullfight itself. 


JULY 28, 1975 

WESCHLER: Today we are going to start with some corrections 
of earlier material, and then we are going to proceed on to 
some of the other trips that Lion took. Let's start with 
a correction concerning your stories about Ibsen. 
FEUCHTVmNGER: Yes, when I was still a child, I was playing 
with boys at the Maxmiliansplatz — that was a park--and we 
shouted a lot and I was climbing on trees and jvimping around. 
And then a little old man with big white sideburns and a long 
white cane came to me and said, "A girl doesn't shout so 
loud." Then he left with his cane, turned around and left. 
Several days afterwards, in the magazine Die Jugend , I saw 
his picture when he is running over a meadow with two girls 
on every side. So I thought that he was also running around 
at least, even if he didn't shout. [laughter] And then I 
heard about that he was always sitting in the Cafe 
Maximilian that was in the Maximilianstrasse, across the 
street from the State Theatre. Behind an archway there was a 
coffee house, a coffee shop, which was called Cafe Maxmilian. 
And there Ibsen was sitting at the window and always making 
notes for his work. But when this happened, that he spoke 
with me, he didn't live anymore in Munich. He was just 
there for a short time . 


WESCHLER: But he had earlier lived in Munich? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Earlier he lived a long time in Munich, 
and he liked it very much, he always said. 
WESCHLER: Fine. Well, today we are going to begin 
anyway with Lion's trip to England, which is in the mid- 
twenties. To begin with, we are going to correct an 
earlier impression by saying that the trip to France and 
Spain which we described last week, at the previous session, 
actually took place after Lion's first trip to England. 
So you might begin by telling us the circumstances of 
that trip. 

FEUCHTWANGER: After his big success, which was introduced 
by Arnold Bennett. . . 
WESCHLER: Of Jud Suss. 

FEUCHTWANGER: ...about Jud Siiss , he has been invited by 
the English government to come to England. I don't know 
if that was also the PEN [Poets, Essayists, and Novelists] 
Club; I don't know if it existed already then. But anyway 
he was received in a triumphal way. He had to speak over 
the radio, and when he came out they had to have the 
mounted police protect him before the big crowds who 
wanted to tear his suit off him. 
WESCHLER: In enthusiasm? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. They were friends, of course. I 


heard him speak in Berlin over the radio; this was very 
new, of course, to hear somebody from afar. Later I told 
him it was so easy to understand him because his English 
sounded absolutely exactly like Bavarian. [laughter] 
His pronunciation. But anyway I could understand it, 
really. Then he was invited by the king to see the picture 
of the Ugly Duchess [Margareta Maultasch] , which already 
had been translated also. So he wanted to show him the 
picture which was hanging in the castle of Windsor. But 
my husband couldn't come because he had a terrible flu, 
and he couldn't follow this invitation. But [Ramsay] 
MacDonald came to see him in his hotel, which was also 
something unheard of, that the prime minister of England 
comes to the hotel to see somebody. 

WESCHLER: This must have been very unusual, a German 
author at that point in England. 

FEUCHTT'^ANGER: He was so celebrated then. It was really 
melting the ice between England and Germany. 
WESCHLER: Had there been many German authors previous to 
him who had gone? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, nobody was invited because they hated 
the Germans; they didn't even want to hear about the German 
writers. But this was such a success, so they invited him. 
The government invited him; of course, the newspapers were 


all full of it, because they had all those glowing critics, 
reviews. And he was also invited by the vice-king of 
India. This was a great affair, a great event. 
WESCHLER: This was Lord Reading. [Isaacs, Rufus Daniel, 
Viscount Erleigh, who was the first Marquis of Reading and 
was viceroy of India.] 

FEUCHTWANGER: Lord Reading, vice-king of India. And when 
somebody, when a couple arrived then, the liveried servants 
at the door, or ushers, opened two doors and shouted the 
name of the gentleman and his wife into the assembly. But 
Lion said that for him they opened only one door because 
he was alone. And then Lord Reading took him by the hand 
and said, "I wanted to show you something." And they went 
to a long corridor in a big hall, a very ornamental hall, 
and there was hanging Lord Reading's painting, his portrait, 
in his great. . . . 

WESCHLER: In all his pomp and splendor. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, in all his pomp and splendor as vice- 
king of India. And then he said to my husband, very slyly, 
"That's me. " 

WESCHLER: You had a word for "slyly" in German. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, vers chmitzt ; that means also bemused, 
or amused, or whatever you want. 

WESCHLER: That's a wonderful image of him. What were some 
of the other things that happened to Lion there? He must 


have met Martin Seeker during this trip. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, Martin Seeker was publisher; he sent 
the invitation in the name of the government. 
WESCHLER: I see. So it was at this time that he met him 
for the first time, or had he met him in Europe already? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, for the first time. In those days people 
didn't travel so much. Travel from Berlin to Munich or 
to London or vice versa was something unusual then in 
those days, especially for publishers and writers, who 
never had so much money in those days. 

WESCHLER: Was Lion the first German author who Martin 
Seeker had published? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was Lord Melchett who heard about 
the book. He wanted to give his wife a birthday present, 
and this was what he gave her. She didn't know what she 
wants to do with her time, so he gave her this present of 
a publishing house, and Martin Seeker was the publisher. It 
was a very great event to have this publishing house, 
because all those people which were behind him--and also 
Martin Seeker himself --were of a great family. Seeker in- 
vited us in his old castle, which was really old; it was 
a little bit decrepit already, and everything was seven- 
teenth-century. He had a big painting there, a portrait 
of an archbishop of England, and he said it was his grand- 
father. And then in the evening, before the chimney fire. 


the fireplace, my husband was sitting with Mrs. Seeker, 

and Mr. Seeker said he wants to show me his garden. It 

was almost dark already. It was dank; it was foggy. It 

was very eerie, the whole atmosphere. There were those 

weeping willows and a little brook, and we went along the 

brook, and it was very romantic. And in every letter, 

even now, he always mentions our promenade in the night 

under the weeping willows. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Incidentally, that was on the second trip to 

England, when you were with Lion. 


WESCHLER: I find it curious that you didn't go with him 

on many of these trips. Why was that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I went to all his trips, except when he was 

invited for official trips. Officially that was not done, 

that the wives were also invited. 

WESCHLER: So in those days the wives were not invited for 

official functions. 

FEUCHT^-JANGER: They were not invited. When [George Bernard] 

Shaw was invited somewhere, he didn't bring his wife, he 

never brought his wife. Nobody knew his wife. But my 

husband was invited in Shaw's house in London, or near 

London, and he was a long time there. They had a very good 

time, and it was also very interesting. Mr. Shaw was a 

vegetarian, and he knew that my husband was not, so there 


was some meat. Mrs. Shaw ate with my husband the meat, 
and Shaw alone ate the vegetarian dishes. Shaw was very 
enthusiastic about the American language and also lit- 
erature; he told Lion that English has been rejuvenated 
by film, because there are now so many new expressions 
from America. He said that the language profited greatly 
from America because it was much more natural and naive, 
in a way, than the old English, and he enjoyed that very 
much. Also they spoke about the terrible things in the 
orthography, that English orthography should be renewed. 
He told my husband that he will give his whole money in 
his will to create an English writing, an English orthog- 
raphy, which would be written like it is pronounced. He 
did that also, but it didn't help very much. 
WESCHLER: But he had already told Lion this at that time. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of his plan, ja. Also my husband was 
very amused, also even astonished, about his attitude about 
America, because he knew the English usually looked down 
their noses to America, But Shaw was always otherwise. He 
also asked my husband what he's getting for the essays or 
articles which he has been asked to write for English 
newspapers. When my husband said, "One shilling a word," 
then he said, "See. I get only half a shilling because I 
write too much." [laughter] 
WESCHLER: Did he meet [John] Galsworthy at this time also? 


FEUCHTWANGER: I think so, yes. Galsworthy, and Wells also- 
most of the writers. Then he said he was once very em- 
barrassed. In a big party or assembly, a reception, he 
has been asked which were his favorite English writers. 
And he said, "Kipling." There was a great silence: they 
couldn't understand that he found Kipling so great and 
was enthusiastic about him. Then later on, somebody asked 
him, "How could you find Kipling a great writer? Don't you 
know his political attitude?" My husband said, "I just 
didn't remark anything, because I only admired the great 
writer and I never thought about judging him as a poli- 
tician." Then when he came home, he read again Kipling, 
and then he found out what the English thought, that he was 
for colonialism and all that, but he read it mostly like 
fairy tales. I remonber on our trips in Italy when we 
were walking, we spoke about Kim , and we remembered the 
part where this old Buddhist priest couldn't keep pace 
with the little Kim when they were wandering together. 
But all of a sudden when they went near the Himalaya, the 
old priest was always ahead of the little Kim because he 
was now in his home place; he was used, like we were, 
more to climbing than to going straight. (But this is 
not meant symbolically.) [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Okay, we won't take it that way. Did he have 
any stories about Wells or Galsworthy from that trip? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Not many. You know, when you are only a 

short time with people, you don't get too intimate, so it 

was more or less formal. But they were very warm and very 

enthusiastic about his book and wanted him to come back 

again; and no sooner was he back, then all the journalists 

came from England to see him, and also me at this time, and 

to interview him. When they came to our little apartment 

on top of the roof, they were very amused that an author 

who had such great editions everywhere would live in such 

a small apartment, but they thought it ' s a kind of hobby, 

like when the English ride their very old Rolls Royce or 

something like that. 

WESCHLER: An eccentricity. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. And then they made beautiful photos 

of us; by chance some of the photos have been saved, and 

I have them still here. On our little balcony, it was 

full of flowers and they made those. 

WESCHLER: Maybe we can include than in this volume. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . And not long afterwards there came some 

Russian writers. There was first Fedin. Didn't I 

tell you about Fedin? 

WESCHLER: I'm not sure that you told it on the tapes, so 

maybe you should tell it again. 

FEUCHTWANGER: When Fedin was very reluctant — or how should 

I say? — rather cool, my husband thought afterwards, when 


he left, "It seems that Fedin doesn't like my books." 
But then, when Fedin went back to Russia, we got a trans- 
lation [of his report] about his sojourn in Berlin and 
also about the books of Feuchtwanger; he was very enthusiastic. 
It seems that Fedin was as shy as my husband was. That's 
why they couldn't get together. One has to be more out- 
going always. And then came the Russian journalists also 
to interview us. I took than with my car--I had the little 
Fiat then--to the radio tower. There was also an exhibition 
there. First we went up the tower, which was a little bit 
like the Paris Eiffel Tower, and one of the Russians got 
very dizzy and we had to go back fast. They were so amused, 
and also astonished, that a woman was driving a car; they 
had never seen a woman driving a car before. And also by 
chance I told them about skiing, that I just came back 
from skiing. So they said, "You are doing skiing?" They 
said, "That's also not known in our country. Wouldn't you 
come to teach our youth skiing? You could also drive a bus 
there. You would be paid very well." 
WESCHLER: But you said, "No, thank you"? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, I didn't. I was very flattered. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: Well, could you talk a little bit about what the 
PEN club was. You've mentioned that. 

FEUCHTWANGER: The PEN club was world famous. It is an 
association of poets, essayists, and novelists: that's 


P-E-N. It's famous all over the whole world. John 

Galsworthy was president, and Jules Romains — I don't 

remember the other presidents. I think Galsworthy founded 

it. When Galsworthy came to Berlin, there was a big 

reception of the PEN club. There was a newspaper which 

had pictures of Lion, and myself with a great picture hat 

with long ribbons, and Galsworthy on my other side; and 

it was written underneath, "Lion Feuchtwanger , Mrs. 

Feuchtwanger, and Galsworthy." And then: "Of the many 

beautiful women, Mrs. Feuchtwanger was the most beautiful." 

This I remember, of course. 

WESCHLER: And, for the record, I will say that I asked 

you to tell that story even though you didn't want to. There 

was another picture. 

FEUCHTWANGER: And there was a picture in another newspaper 

of Galsworthy and Fritz Kreisler, and underneath it 

was the line, "Galsworthy, the romancier , with Kreisler, 

the auto manufacturer." 

WESCHLER: So those kinds of gaffes happened even in Berlin, 

not just when these people came to the United States. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, that's true. [pause in tape] 

WESCHLER: Okay, and you have the story of the wife of Jack 


FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . Another visitor was Mrs. Charmian London. 

She was the widow of Jack London. She came to see us, and 


she told me, what was all new to me, that beside her bed 
she had a whole built-up of electric gadgets, that in her 
bed she could make her breakfast. I was not astonished 
about that, but mostly that the wife of Jack London hasn't 
a lot of servants--because in Berlin, in Germany, it was 
cheap to have servants to wait on you — that she had to make 
her own breakfast in bed. But there was another time 
when Sinclair Lewis came with his wife, Dorothy Thompson. 
She told me they had three autos, and this was another 
time to be astonished because three autos I thought was 
too much. But she said she has one for herself and one 
for Sinclair Lewis and one for her cook. She had a big 
estate, and probably it was necessary for the cook also to 
go into the next village to buy for the household, but 
I just couldn't believe that somebody could have three, 
[laughter] It was so different, the life in Germany and 

WESCHLER: No servants, but three cars. 

WESCHLER: As long as we broached on the name of Sinclair 
Lewis, why don't we talk about him a little bit. This was 
later, this was in 193 0, that he met you. Under what 
circumstances did he come? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was in Sweden to receive the Nobel Prize, 
and he came from Sweden to see my husband with Dorothy 


Thompson. My husband knew already Dorothy Thompson because 
she came to inter-view him before. VThen they married in 
England I in 1928J , he wanted ray husband as — what do you 
call that for a wedding?--a witness, ja, ja. But my 
husband couldn't; he was very sick at this time with his 
stomach. But when Sinclair Lewis came — that was before-- 
he told my husband that in his speech when he received the 
Nobel Prize, he said that he didn't deserve it, that Lion 
Feuchtwanger should have gotten it for his Jud Siiss . Then 
he told my husband that he read Success , and that after he 
read this book, he was so enthusiastic that he wanted to 
write this kind of novel, but in collaboration with Lion. 
But Lion told him that he could collaborate with Brecht 
on plays but he couldn't do that with a novel; he just 
couldn't write together with someone else a novel. Then 
Sinclair Lewis turned to me and said, "Don't worry, I 
will just plagiarize him." 
WESCHLER: And did he? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. Afterwards he wrote Ann Vickers , which has 
really not much resemblance with my husband's book Success . 
It is only that a woman wanted to free her lover who was 
in jail. So that was the only resemblance, but nothing 
else; there was nothing political like Success . 
WESCHLER: By this time Sinclair Lewis had already written 
the five novels for which he is considered famous in American 


literature, and in fact there is talk of how he was in 

decline after he wrote those novels. Did he seem vibrant 

at that time? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Very vibrant. I saw him also later here in 

America, and he was still very vibrant, although he drank 

a lot later on. 

WESCHLER: Was he drinking in Berlin at that time? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not when we were together. 

Then my husband was invited to Sweden, first to renmark 
and then to Sweden. In Denmark, the German ambassador gave 
a dinner for him; Lion escorted the wife of the ambassador 
to dinner, to the table, and she asked my husband if all 
the Jews are writing so sexy novels. My husband was very 
astonished that she could find his novel Jud Suss a sexy 
novel. Then he went to Sweden and was very much celebrated 
there, and one of the committee of the Nobel Prize told 
him, "We will see you very soon again because you will get 
the Nobel Prize for Jud Su s s . " We were still waiting, and 
we didn't get it. 

WESCHLER: Do you think that was a disappointment to Lion? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Of course it was, because he was so, he was 
really promised so--how should I say? — positively. Later 
on he heard that the German officer's club, the military 
club, protested against him getting the Nobel Prize. Also 
in those days no Jew had ever gotten the Nobel Prize in 


literature; they got it as scientists but never.... We 
also waited a long time for Jakob Wassermann to get it; 
everybody thought he would be the right man, but he never 
got it either. And the first Jew who got the Nobel Prize 
was the Russian who was against the Russian government, 
Boris Pasternak. He was the first Jewish writer, and every- 
body said it was more because he was against the government 
than as a novelist. He wrote Doctor Zhivago, ja, ja. 
That was the first Jewish writer who got the Nobel Prize. 
Others said that Anatole France should have gotten it, 
but then it ha s been told that he is Jewish, so they didn't 
give it to him. But he was not Jewish. It was not his 
real name, Anatole France; and everybody said he was Jewish, 
so he didn't get the Nobel Prize. But he wasn't Jewish. I 
do not know for sure, but I think he finally got it [in 1921]. 
WESCHLER: Was that something that was talked about a good 
deal, the anti-Semitism of the committee? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. But then an encyclopedia--! don't 
know if it was the Encyclo pedia Britannica — asked my husband 
to write about the Nobel Prize. But he didn't write about 
this anti-Jewish attitude; he wrote that many should have 
gotten the Nobel Prize [and didn't] , but that, as a whole, 
most of those who got it were worth it. 
WESCHLER: Deserved it. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Deserved it, ja. 


WESCHLER: But it was something that bothered Lion? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it didn't bother him because he knew that 

it had nothing to do with him as a writer, just with him 

as a Jew. I pause in tape] Later on we got a letter from 

Sweden that he should have gotten it again. It was a member 

also of the committee who was sure that he would get it. 

But then it was Herman Hesse who got it that year. And the 

man who wrote him first that my husband would get it wrote 

him also why he didn't get it, that it was a German writer 

who was against it. 

WESCHLER: Do we get the name of the German writer? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: You know the name of the German writer, but you 

are not going to tell us. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: I'm going to turn the tape off and you can tell 

me without the machine going. [pause in tape] Just a 

correction on the story, even though we aren't going to 

get the name of the author: it was the year that [Nikos] 

Kazantzakis got the Nobel Prize, not the year that Hesse 

got it.* 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. [pause in tape] 

WESCHLER: Okay. Returning to the trip that he took to 

Sweden and Denmark, you mentioned that he was sick at that 


'In fact, Kazantzakis was never awarded the Prize. 


FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he shouldn't have gone — the doctor 
didn't want him to go — but he has promised, and he never 
cancelled anything when he promised something. So he went 
very sick and suffered very much by his stomach, and when 
he came back he had to go to bed and stay a long time. The 
doctor said he was gravely ill. Ulcers. 

WESCHLER: These are still the ulcers that came from the argu- 
ments at the table when he was a kid. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, and also from the military. 
WESCHLER: From the military. Were they chronically bother- 
ing him in those years, or was it just this one outbreak? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was — all of a sudden it came, you 
never knew why, without any warning. 
WESCHLER: And this continued throughout his life? 

WESCHLER: At various sporadic intervals. Do you remember 
any other stories of his trip to Denmark and Sweden? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, I told you, I think, about this wife of 
the ambassador. [laughter] I don't know anything else, 
and I think it was enough. And also this story about the 
Nobel Prize that he was promised. 

Wait. I forgot all about that. I made a trip to 
America, I was alone in America with people whom I knew 
from skiing, friends of mine. 
WESCHLER: When was this? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Also in the twenties. I have to find out. 
But that was before, during the twenties, before my husband 
was in Sweden, between that and when we went to Spain or 
Italy. I don't remonber, but I have to find out. [Ap- 
proximately 1927-28] I know all this whole thing, just 
the different times I don't know, the dates. 
WESCHLER: We'll research them. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . And when I came back from America.... 
I was also in Cuba then. It was very interesting, the trip, 
because in those days Cuba was not very well known. It 
was still before [Fidel] Castro, of course. But we have 
to speak about this whole trip maybe separately. 
WESCHLER: Well, why don't we talk about it right now? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Right now? That also? [laughter] Well, 
I went to New York. That was one of the greatest events 
of my life, when I got up at five o'clock in the morning 
and saw through the fog, which was just lifting, the towers, 
you know, the skyline. That was something which I never 
had dreamed of. I had never heard about it before. I 
was all alone on deck and saw it all by myself, the skyline 
beginning to golden by the sun. Then I was picked up on the 
pier, and my friend who picked me up told me that when he 
came to America, he had a very funny experience. He came 
from Vienna; he was a chanist at the Rockefeller Institute. 
He was always very Anglophile, as whole Vienna was Anglophile. 


Germany was more for French — they all learned French — 

but when you were a little snobbish in Austria you learned 

English. And not to have too much Viennese accent, he went 

for a year to England. So he thought, "Now I'm coming to 

America and I'll show them how to pronounce English." But 

when he left the pier he took a taxi, told him where to go, 

and the [driver] turned around and said, "Oistrach?" 

[laughter] "Oistrach?" he said; not even "Austrian." 

WESCHLER: What was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: His name was Harry Sobotka. He was the nephew 

of my husband's publisher, of the Drei Masken Verlag, or 

the cousin, I think. I don't remember. 

WESCHLER: Why were you in America? What were you doing? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I was invited. The publisher of my husband, 

Huebsch, invited me also. I was invited by many people. 

WESCHLER: Why did Lion not come with you? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was not invited. [laughter] I was 

invited from those people with whom I was skiing. So that 

was a strictly private invitation for myself. 

WESCHLER: Just as he got his private invitations, you got 


FEUCHTWANGER: No, with him it was not private; it was 

very much official. But for me it was private because it 

was skiing. I had also my friend in Germany who also 

invited me to Trier, where also my husband was not invited. 


who was the friend from skiing who I told you about, who 
bandaged me when I broke the rib. 
WESCHLER: No, you never told about that. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I have never told you about that? That's 
another story because that's a friend who is still my 
friend in Germany, my best friend. But what should we do 

WESCHLER: Let's start with the story of the bandaged rib, 
then we'll come back and get the others. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. When I was skiing in Sankt Anton, 
where the famous Hannes Schneider was my teacher, I 
always made a trip alone on Sunday, because I didn't like 
to be always with the other people. The whole week I 
was with others, and I wanted to be alone. So Hannes 
Schneider told me to go to the ski hut--that is not so far 
and also not a difficult tour — and I went there. After 
I had lunch there, I came back. It was really not very 
steep or so, but it was sometimes frozen. It was a very 
narrow path: on one side there was a deep abyss, and on 
the other side it was straight up. So my ski ran against 
a piece of ice, and I made a salto --a somersault--and 
fell down into the abyss. I would have slipped down--I 
don't know; I would have never been found--but there was 
a little piece of wood coming out (probably it was a piece 
of a fence, and it was snowed over) but one piece looked 


out of the snow), and this piece stopped my falling, my fall. 
But I was still with my head down and my skis up, so I had 
to turn around — and I was falling on my belly, of course. I 
had to turn around, and it was very terrible painful because 
I was with my rib on this little piece of wood, on the little 
pole. Then when I had turned around, I could climb up again 
to the pass. When I came home, I had a very bad night. 
WESCHLER: I don't blame you. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I couldn't breathe. I met a gentleman with 
whom I was skiing sometimes; he was a count from Belgium, a 
very good skier, and used to all kinds of difficulties 
because he was also a scout in Africa. He told me, "You 
have to be careful. After all what you tell me, you have 
broken a rib, and you should go to the doctor. " I told him 
I had an aversion to this doctor, because I think he is not 
very fair to the ladies. Maybe it was just a prejudice, 
but anyway I didn't want to go to this doctor. So he said, 
"Then the only thing is to bandage it with a big tape, a 
very broad tape, but you can only get it at the doctor. 
There is nobody else who has it, and you have to go to the 
doctor for the tape. Then you have to have somebody who will 
bandage you, and very tightly." So I went to the doctor, 
got the tape, and I met a girl who was sometimes with me 
skiing. She was a beginner, more or less, but we were 
together at the Waldhausel (that's a little hut also 
which is not so high up) , and we were as usually 


sitting and making conversation. I told her about 

my [accident] and she said, "I come with you and bandage 

you." From then on, this bandage was for the whole life. 

WESCHLER: What was her name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Maria Angelica Kuntz, and she lives in 

Bavaria now. She was from Trier; her grandfather was the 

lord mayor of Trier. She was the one--didn't I tell you 

about this girl who helped me with the building of the 


WESCHLER: You haven't told us yet, but when we get there 

you can tell it on tape. 

FEUCHTWANGER: That was the one, ja, ja. 

WESCHLER: Okay, let's get back to America, since we picked 

up that story. 

FEUCHTWANGER: That was one of the skiing stories, and the 

others were also with skiing friends. I made always good 

friends when I was skiing, better friends than I ever had 

in the cities, usually, because in the city I was always 

not so much in the limelight, because my husband was there, 

while in skiing I was alone. [laughter] And then frcxn 

New York we went to Cuba, and in Cuba there was a big club 

very near Havana--Marianao, I think it was called. It 

was very exclusive; you had to pay to go to the beach. 

My friends were known there; they had friends in Cuba, 

so I could go to this club. And there was a big tower. 

63 4 

an enormous tower; it was, I think, six or eight stories 
high. Since I was alone I didn't know what to do, just 
swimming or sunning; I thought I should climb up the 
tower and make a dive from the tower. So I went up and 
at the first story — I went always higher and higher, and I 
thought that was still not high enough, until I was really 
on the top of this tower. And then I thought, "Now I am 
here, I might as well also jump." So I went out but then I 
was already sorry for it because this board was very 
narrow and also it whipped--it had a lot of whiplash — 
and you had to go very far out, because if you dive and 
are too near the tower you can hit your head against the 
tower. And I couldn't go back. I wanted to go back but 
I couldn't turn because I began to get so dizzy: underneath 
was the ocean flimmering with the light on the water, and 
I just couldn't turn around. It was also so narrow. So I 
began to jump--there was nothing else to do . I dove. I 
ranembered what my teacher in Berlin told me how to dive. 
I did it very consciously, and I really came down the right 
way. I came up again (after a while, because you went very 
deep down when you jumped so from such height) . And on 
the beach there were all kinds of people, who came together 
when I came back and said, "How could you do this? That's 
dangerous. You could have exploded to smithereens." 
[laughter] But I said, "Now it's too late. I'm here." 


I laughter] 

WESCHLER: Well, thank God it wasn't too late. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. And then a big thunderstorm came, 
all of a sudden, like there is in the tropics. Also on 
our way to Cuba we had such a thunderstorm. We had 
a thunderstorm and water hoses--how do you call it? — 
waterspouts dancing around our ship. It looked terrible, 
but it was also very interesting. The captain was always 
shaking his head and the nuns--there were some nuns on the 
ship--were kneeling down and praying because they were 
afraid. We were lying in those deck chairs, and we became 
very wet because that is also water. One came over the 
ship, but it was not a big one. At least we were only wet. 
And the funny thing is that about five minutes later the 
sun came out, and in not much longer we were already dry 
again because it was so hot. It was just a good shower. But 
it looked terrible when those spouts danced, like dancing, 
around us. So we had all kind of adventures already be- 
fore Cuba. 

WESCHLER: What season was that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was summer, late summer, October or so. 
WESCHLER: What was life like in Cuba in your memory of it? 
FEUCHTWANGER: It was very interesting. I couldn't really 
tell what the life was like because I was invited, of course, 
and in big hotels, it's everywhere the same. But it was 


wonderful to walk around and see the population. Most of 
all what I found was that the young people looked all so 
beautiful. The girls as well as the young men looked very 
beautiful. But not very strong: very thin, and they had 
also lots of Asiatic blood, I think, there. What was most 
remarkable was that — now I could also find out when it 
was — it was during the prohibition, and the Americans went 
to Cuba to drink. You could see than, and then they were 
so drunk usually — that was the impression what the Cubans 
had of Amer ica--that on their way when they were found on 
the streets, they were brought to the ship. And we could 
see them lining the whole street. The whole road to the 
ship, you could see the drunken Americans lying there. That 
was American civilization. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Do you think there was a good deal of anti- 
Americanism already then? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, I didn't feel anything, not at all. Why 
should it? Because it was not communistic then. It was a 
dictatorship there. 
WESCHLER: Were the people...? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I didn't know. Since I didn't speak Spanish, 
so I didn't know what it's about, I thought that life, I 
thought it was so beautiful. Also I didn't care about 
eating or so; I like to eat fruit and that's what I did. 
Maybe I shouldn't have done it, but I didn't know, so I 


ate fruit there. Later they said, "You shouldn't eat fruit 
in those parts." But since I didn't know it, I didn't 
get sick. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: So, from Cuba you went where on that trip? 
FEUCHTWANGER: I went back again home. 
WESCHLER: How long a trip was that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: About 5 month, two months maybe. And then 
when I came back.... On the ship back, there was a terrible 
storm, and everybody was seasick. I wasn't very sure if 
I wouldn't also be seasick, but since I felt best on the 
upper deck, so I went up. I didn't eat anything, and I 
only played shuffleboard or tennis. But deck tennis: 
that's a little bit otherwise than real tennis. I forgot. 
I was playing tennis and I forgot. I was very good at this 
deck tennis (but that doesn't mean that you are good on 
every tennis) and also shuffleboard. I usually won, and it 
was exciting and gay. Then a gentleman came to me--he was 
not so young anymore--and said, "How do you do it that you 
are not seasick?" I said, "I just forgot about it playing 
tennis. I felt a little like that, that it could be." So 
he said, "I try that too." And then we played always 
together. He was the director of the Mt. Sinai Hospital 
in New York [Dr. Sigismund Goldwater] . He was a doctor, and 
he asked me what I_ did against seasickness. [laughter] He 
said it was the best I could do; he also wasn't seasick then, 

63 8 

Everybody was seasick, even the newspaper — there was no 
newspaper — and the musicians: they were all seasick. The 
only two people who were not seasick until I told this doctor 
my cure was a little old rabbi and I. He was too old to 
get seasick. 

WESCHLER: I was going to ask, what was his secret? 
FEUCHTV?ANGER: Maybe he prayed. [laughter] Anyway we 
two were invited by the commander, by the captain of the 
ship. We had wonderful dinners and suppers always with 
caviar and the best thing which you could get, because 
we were all alone; nobody else ate. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: It really sounds like Ship of Fools . 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja, almost, but there were no fools 
there; they were all sick. [laughter] 

And then when we came back, I found the car. This 
was the surprise with the car. It was a little Fiat, a 
Fiat 9, I think. It was very small but sporty-looking; 
it was an imitation of Rolls Royce. It had the same shape, 
the same hood as the Rolls Royce, very long in comparison to 
the whole size. So it was very chic. I didn't want to 
have a big car in the beginning, so I was very glad it 
was a small car. Only Brecht drove it out first, and he 
did some damage. But not very much. 
WESCHLER: Now, Lion had got the car as a present? 
FEUCHTWANGER: For me, yes, a present, to welcome. So I 

63 9 

was riding. Already before I had made my examination 
with Elizabeth Hauptmann, who was the secretary of Brecht. 
I was then fixing the apartment which we had because at 
first we had only two rooms, and then we got four rooms. . . . 
WESCHLER: In the same building? 

FEUCHTWANGER: In the same building. And we wanted a central 
heating, at least for the room. Before, we had in every 
room a little oven with wood. And then we had central 
heating in the kitchen; from the kitchen was a heater and 
boiler. Everything was broken up with the pipes and so, 
and my friend who I told you about, she helped me. We 
could not go into the kitchen--we had no possibility to 
cook--so we ate only bananas most of the time. My friend 
[Kuntz] came from Trier to help me with the work, and that 
was when I learned how to drive. And it was so expensive, 
it was 100 marks, about what $100 is now. So Elizabeth 
Hauptmann and I, we could do that together, so everybody 
paid only fifty marks. But because I had the workmen there, 
I never could go to the lessons, and she has profited all by 
herself. She picked me up only at the end of the lesson 
for five minutes. I just drove for five minutes; that was 
all. And I had to make the examination. I didn't know how 
to drive backwards or to turn aound, but fortunately I 
didn't have to do that, because when I was making the exam- 
ination in a big Mercedes-Benz with six gears outside on the 


right side. And I usually always killed the motor, but 
I was lucky on this day and I didn't kill it when I had 
the examination. I was really protected by some good 
spir it . 

But after I learned, I killed the motor in the middle 
of Berlin in the most, the greatest traffic. It was raining, 
and Berlin was known for its very slippery roads. Before 
me was a bicycle, a young boy on a bicycle, and a bus. It 
was so slippery that this bus turned over, the bicycle boy 
fell down, and I. . . . 


JULY 28, 1975 

WESCHLER: Well, Marta Feuchtwanger is wreaking havoc 
here on Berlin's traffic patterns, and we better find out 
what happens. So we've got a bus turned over, a bicyclist 
on his side, and your teacher.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. But this was — no, this was the 
second teacher. The first teacher was before I made 
the examination. With him, I always killed the motor, and 
the poor man had to go out and rev it up, crank it over 
by hand. It was not automatic. 

WESCHLER: Was anybody hurt when that bus toppled over? 
FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know. No — that was the next... no. 
This went too fast: it's not the right way to [tell the 
story] . First came the examination. First it was not 
the bus or so; I just killed the motor in the middle of the 
traffic, and the poor teacher had to go out and rev it up. 
He was not very friendly, of course, with me on account of 
that. And I also was not used to this traffic. I came 
from this little town of Munich that was not like the 
Berliner traffic. Anyway, I think I had to make the 
examination because I wanted to go to America and wanted 
first to have my driver's license. Unfortunately, when 
I had to drive, at the same time during the driving, I 


have been asked the oral examination. I was already so 
nervous from the driving that I had--but I didn't show my 
nervousness; I was good always to hide that. He asked me 
about what are you doing when the tank is burning? And 
then I said, "I take off my skirt" — you see, in German 
the word for coat and the word for skirt is the same 
[ Rock] ) — "and put it over the flame." So, of course, all 
the others who were with me in the car, they just burst 
out, you know, they broke up, because I said I take off 
my skirt. [laughter] And the instructor was very indig- 
nant about this behavior, and also he didn't like my whole 
approach. But I didn't make any mistake and he was tired 
of the puns I made, so he just said, "Next one." So I 
went through without knowing; I came through. 

And then my teacher told me that a funny thing happened 
to the daughter of Mr. Jessner — that's the director of the 
State Theatre. She made the same thing on the same place 
where I had to pass over — that was what they called the 
Knee. There is a place where so many streets come together, 
so they call it the Knee. And this is a very difficult 
approach. When Miss Jessner went through, a policeman 
who was standing there — there were no traffic lights or 
stop signs or something, only a policeman--stopped the 
car and asked her, "Are you coming by here very often?" 
She was very flattered and said, "Yes, yes." And he 


said, "So then I take another position." [laughter] How 
do you say that? 

WESCHLER: That's fine. "I'm going to look for another place." 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . And that was just where I made my 
examination. But I was lucky. I went through. 

But then Miiller eisert, who was a friend of Brecht, 
wanted to show me how really to drive. I said, "You 
know I don't really know. I got my driver's license, but 
I just don't dare to go alone with my little car." He 
said, "Oh, that's nothing. You come with me and I show 
you." So I went with him, and he said, "You just drive 
off. I tell you turn around, turn left, turn right, and you 
do it like that." I did it like that but [he was so fast] — 
he said, "To the right, to the left," and I wasn't fast 
enough, and another car came, and we just collided. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . But I was in the middle of the street, 
where I had to turn right. I was not on the right side; 
I was in the middle. So it was no way to do that. It was 
my fault, of course. But Mullereisert went out and said, 
"Are you insured?" And the others said, "Yes, we are insured." 
He said, "And we are also insured. That's no problem." 
[laughter] From then on, I didn't want him anymore as 
a teacher. I said, "That's too fast, you know — turn left, 
turn right. It's just too fast, you know." I was not used 


to this Berlin! sh tempo; I was from Munich where everything 
is slow. So I had to find a garage. In the house there 
was no garage; so I had to go for about five minutes to 
go to a garage. I could only get a garage with three other 
people. One of those people never went inside enough so I 
couldn't go through. I couldn't get to my place because he 
was halfway out. And there was a chauffeur of a private 
party; he always tried to get this other car out of my way. 
Then I had always to go bias inside. It was good that my 
car was so small, but it was just — I learned really to drive 
just going in and out of this garage. When the chauffeur 
tried to get this car out of my way, I told him, "Couldn't 
you show me how to drive? I really cannot drive." And he 
said, "With the greatest pleasure." He took his motor 
apart and told his boss that the motor doesn't work, be- 
cause he wanted to teach me how to drive. [laughter] So 
his boss had to take a taxi. And his chauffeur taught me 
to drive. And that's what happened when we were in the 
rain and the bus fell over. I was in this little car with 
the chauffeur beside me who was very quiet. He just said, 
"Oh, don't lose your nerve, just, just, stay...." I was 
so frightened that I put my knees up to my nose, or my nose 
down to my knees. I didn't want to see anything. I just was 
braking; that was all. I said, "No, I don't want to go on 
anymore. You go home with me now." And he drove me home. 


But he said everybody would have lost his nerve — he said 

so because he wanted to make me more secure — who is not 

used to it, when a bus is falling over and a boy is lying 

before you with his bicycle. 

WESCHLER: And you don't know whether anybody was hurt in 


FEUCHTWANGER: No, I don't know, I never heard it: there 

was nothing in the newspapers. So maybe the bus was empty, 

I don't know; I just didn't see anything. It was also in 

a driving rain. Since nothing was in the newspapers, so 

it must have been nothing serious. 

Then I went behind the house where I lived and did my 
driving alone. I drove forward; I drove backward; I turned 
around; until I knew how to drive. I did it by myself. 
That was the only way to do it. 

Then I had to drive my husband to the eye doctor. I 
was already rather secure of myself. When we went home, we 
had to stop because a policsnan made a sign; he brought his 
hands forward. And I stopped. At the same moment, from 
the right side came a big Mercedes-Benz. It was so big that 
with his fender he came over my fender. I couldn't even 
come out anymore. He began to shout with me and said, 
"Natiirlich , of course--a woman, a wonan driver. Look at her, 
what she did to mel Those women drivers, they are just 
crazy what they are doing." Then the policeman came and said. 


"I have seen everything. The lady was stopping because I 

made her a sign to stop, and you came over here with your big 

car, and it's all your fault. And I will report you." 

He wanted to report him. So--and then we went on. My car, 

ray fender was broken or pushed in, but nothing happened 

to me. 

And then, a day later, a policeman was at our door 
and said he wants to interview me — and my husband, because 
my husband was with me. In those days, a woman had nothing to 
say, you know; it was only the husband. So he asked my 
husband, but my husband said, "I don't know anything about 
driving. You have to ask my wife. She was driving." So 
he asked me and said, "Yes, I know that you were driving, 
but I want a witness. I need a witness because the other took 
all the people around him as witnesses. So we have to have 
a witness too. It doesn't matter what he says, just a 
witness." Then he said, "We know that you were innocent and he 
should be fined." I said, "Please don't be too serious with 
him. He is just a chauffeur, and he loses his job when he 
is fined. So let's let it go. He didn't do much damage. My 
insurance pays for it. So let's get over with it." He 
said, "This is very kind of you, and I will report that." 
But then he went to my husband and said, "But you know, 
I tell you something: I know your wife for a long time. I 
see her driving. She drives like crazy. She is very secure. 


but when she turns around the corner, one wheel is always 
in the air." (Since there was no prohibition, you could 
drive as fast as you wanted. There was no fine about 
that.) So he said, "But I think she should have a bigger 
car, a real car, not this little tiny thing. You should 
buy her a real car, and then she could drive for real, 
like she wants to drive." 

So my husband bought rae a big Buick. And then with 
this Buick we went to Italy. 
WESCHLER: Okay, before we go to Italy. . . . 
FEUCHTWANGER: That was the whole story. First I have 
the American trip, because after the trip came the little 
car; and then, because the policeman told my husband to buy 
me a big car, I got a big car. Also we had more money then 
because my husband had already made contracts for other 
novels with the publishers. 

WESCHLER: Before we go on to Italy, I did want to make 
one footnote for future historians concerning your driving, 
which is that at age eighty-five, here in California, not 
only do you continue to drive.... 
FEUCHTWANGER: Not yet eighty-five. 
WESCHLER: Sorry. Eighty-four. 

FEUCHTWANGER: You don't make me older! [laughter] 
WESCHLER: At the sprightly age of eighty-four, not only 
do you drive, but you chauffeur everybody else around. 


You pick up people, take them to places and everything, so 
I don't think we should degrade your driving skills too 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but I have to tell you more. Then my 
husband had to have his license. I wanted him to have a 
license, too. 

WESCHLER: He didn't know how to drive yet at this time? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, he never drove before, because we had 
no car before, and then we had only the little Fiat. But 
on this little Fiat he could not learn to drive because 
it was too difficult. A bigger car was easier to drive in 
those days. It was just the beginning that you could 
automatically start a car. He could never have done it 
with [cranking] . 

When he had his lessons, he had the same teacher as I 
had. Finally the teacher said, "I can't stand it anymore. 
He is just not talented for driving." He was so absent- 
minded always, he always thinks that the car does everything 
by itself. So he gave him to another teacher who was one 
of his — he was a higher teacher and the others were his 
lower teachers. So about half a year it took until Lion could 
get his license. Always, every day, he took a lesson. And 
then I thought finally it was just protection. He would 
never have gotten it in the right way; there must have 
been somebody protecting him. 


So he finally got his license, and then we drove 
together. It was still the little Fiat, and he was sitting 
at the [wheel] and never wanted to brake. It was not very 
difficult to drive in those days because you could do 
whatever you wanted. Only nothing should happen. But 
the only thing, which was really strict, was that you had 
to stop when a bus or a car was stopping: you had to stop 
for people to go in and out. My husband never stopped, 
and I told him, "Why didn't you stop?" He said, "It's 
so difficult to get the car into gear again, so I would 
rather not stop." I was so angry when he said that, that 
I said, "So now you go alone. You will learn it better 
when you are alone, because you don't do what i tell you." 
So I went out of the car and [walked] home — it was not 
far from our house--and let hira be alone, let him drive 
alone. I thought he's rather secure because there was 
not much traffic in this surrounding. But he went into 
a bigger street where the streetcar went through; he had 
just crossed the street when the tram came. And in the 
middle of the rail, the car stopped.... And the tram 
stopped also. So the man, the conductor of the tram, 
went out and said, "Little man, you have to push these 
buttons. [laughter] Then the car will run again." 
[laughter] Then my husband did push then. He came home, 
and he said, "I think I don't drive anymore. That's 


the last time I drive." 

Anyway, we made some excursions sometimes, little trips 
in the neighborhood, the little lakes around Berlin, which 
has a very beautiful environment. Once we came [to a section 
where] it was not difficult to drive, so I told my husband, 
"Now you drive a little bit." So he drove, and all of a 
sudden we came to a factory. It was the end of the day, and 
all the factory, all the laborers and the girls came out. 
We were just surrounded by people, and my husband didn't 
know what to do. I took with my two hands the driving wheel 
and wanted to drive it to the curb, you know, because I knew 
my husband wouldn't stop. So I drove it to the curb, and 
then a policeman came and said, "Who of you has a driver's 
license?" So we both showed him our driver's licenses, so 
he couldn't say anything. He said, "I saw the lady doing 
something on the wheel. That's not right." But we 
had both our driving license. Then I said to the policeman, 
"I think I drive now myself." So we left this place, 
and he didn't do anything to us because what could he do? — 
nothing happened, and we had both the driver's license. 
But when we went back and my husband was again on the 
wheel, there came some cows across the street, so my 
husband went straight into the cow. [laughter] She 
turned around--of course, he didn't give much gas so the 
car stopped anyway; he killed the engine. And the cow 
just looked around with big eyes, very sad. But then I.... 


WESCHLER: You had actually hit the cow? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, but nothing happened, not even the > 

fender, because he already.... 

WESCHLER: I'm not worried about your car, I'm worried about 

the cow! 

FEUCHTWANGER: The cow just turned around and looked with 

very sad eyes at my husband. [laughter] You could say 

"reproaching" but maybe that's too much for a cow. [laughter] 

So then for a long time we didn't drive anymore, and 
then we went to Italy with the new car. And we went to 
Switzerland; we had to go through Switzerland. It was 
very difficult driving because we went by the Bergstrasse, 
it's called, it's along the Rhine. (It's called Mountain 
Street, Bergstrasse.) And this is very narrow, and people — 
it was a Sunday — drove like crazy. I was not very slow 
in driving usually, but I was really scared to drive there 
because so much happened always. In Germany, they are not 
very good drivers; they are very ruthless drivers there. 
WESCHLER: Well, you're not.... So far, the way you de- 
scribe your own driving, I don't think you're in any position 
to talk. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . [laughter] But when it was on a street 
like that, I was careful. Anyway I had never a fine, and it 
never happened anything to me. When we were stopping at 
a place, my husband said, "You know what we will do? We 


drive through the Bergstrasse tomorrow — we finish that — 
and then we go to Switzerland." (In Switzerland there 
were prescript ions--what do you call that? — a law that you 
couldn't drive more than twenty miles per hour or something, 
you know, the whole Switzerland. And my husband said, 
"We want to go to Italy, and we want to go as quick as 
possible through Switzerland." But I said, "We cannot go 
so quick. We cannot go in one day through Switzerland with 
this law not to drive so fast." He said, "But I think it's 
better to get a fine than to stay in Switzerland, where the 
hotels are so expensive that a fine couldn't be as much 
as the hotels are. I like to go to Italy." So we went 
half through Switzerland, and then we stayed overnight on a 
very high village, before we went over the Simplon Pass to 
Italy. The next day I said, "We go very early in the morn- 
ing, so there will be no traffic over the Simplon." The 
streets were absolutely empty and very straight, the road, 
so I told my husband, "How about driving again, a little bit, 
so you wouldn't forget everything?" He drove slowly straight 
on, and when we came to the Simplon, to the beginning — it 
was still not very steep--! said, "Now I think I take over." 
And we came to a fountain, so I said, "I think I stop there 
because we have to look for the water. There is no water 
later on." Until we came to this fountain, there was al- 
ways a motorcycle behind us, always whooping. I said. 


"This poor man, when I drive so slowly which is the law — 
he has a very hard time to drive so slow, too. I think 
I drive a little faster." He couldn't pass me; it was too 
narrow. So I drove a little faster not to be always in 
his way. So then I stopped at the fountain. Then this man 
on the motorcycle stopped, too, and he said, in his 
Schwyzerdiitsch, which I almost couldn't understand, "It's 
good that I found you, that I caught you here, because 
I could never reach you. You drove too fast, and it's 
against the law." But I said, "My dear man, I did it only 
because you were whooping all the time that I am too slow. " 
And he said, "I didn't whoop that you were too slow; 
I whooped that you were too fast." Then he said, "And, you 
know, I was driving behind you for a long time, and as 
long as your husband drove, that was right, he is a good 
driver, but you drive like mad." [laughter] And then he 
said, "And that costs twenty frankli." Twenty frankli 
[dialect for "francs"] is rather a lot of money, because 
that was gold money. Then I said, "That's too much. I 
don't pay that, because you chased me all the time. I 
did it only for you; I didn't want to go so fast." And he 
said, "All right, if you don't pay it, then there will be 
a trial." I said, "All right, there will be a trial. 
We go to Italy now." So he took our name, our address in 
Berlin, and we went to Italy. 


We were very happy in Italy. It wasn't so expensive 
as Switzerland. It was very difficult going over the 
Simplon, because it was more narrow than it is now and when 
a bus came down, you had to find a place where you could 
pull over. You had to go backwards around the turns; it 
was really difficult. And you could see other cars lying 
down who had fallen down. After a while, when we were in 
Italy on one of the North Italian lakes, we got a letter 
from Lion's secretary in Berlin, "What happened? Did 
your wife kill somebody with the car? There was a trial in 
Switzerland against her." Then she sent us the whole 
paper. In the paper it said that I was too fast and fined 
five frankli or so. It was only five instead of twenty. 
So that was all the trial: nothing happened to me, and I 
didn't kill anybody. 

WESCHLER: And you are still here to tell the tale, 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . So that was ray husband's driving. Did 
I tell you the story of Roda Roda in a Berlin newspaper? 
Roda Roda ' s famous anecdote. He wrote books with anecdotes; 
he was a famous storyteller. And he wrote, "Lion Feuchtwanger 
got a new car, and he drove through the Kronprinzen Allee, 
and all of a sudden he ran against a tree. He went out 
of the car and said, 'All right. But what shall I do when 
there is no tree to stop the car?'" [laughter] That was 
my husband's driving. 


WESCHLER: Well, listen, yours isn't that much better. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I was never fined, and never happened 

anything . 

WESCHLER: Okay. Well, we have you in Italy now. The 

last time you were in Italy, you were walking, but now 

you're driving. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, the last time, but the second time we 

were driving in a Buick, in a big Buick, and that was 

something else. 

WESCHLER: Why don't you tell us a little bit about that 

trip? Where did you go? 

FEUCHTWANGER: We were first on the Italian lakes, and then 

we went to Rome again. We wanted to go fast to the south, 

to swim. Then finally we came to the south of Rome, where 

the brother of Jakob Gimpel, Bronislaw Gimpel, has a house — 

Terracina, it is called. And it was very beautiful. We 

were also on lakes where we could bathe, take a bath and 

go swimming, near the Castel Gandolfo where the pope is 

always in summer. We were on a lake which is a volcanic 

lake which is so deep nobody knows how deep it is, and very 

blue. There we swam. And also in the inside of the Apennines, 

in every lake we saw we took a swim. 

Then we came to Terracina and stayed overnight. I 
stayed to change the oil in the car in the morning — because 
every thousand miles, you change the oil — and also to 


lubricate. In the meantime we were always making walks; 

every time we did that we saw the things which there are 

to see, you know, the museums or whatever it was, the 

churches. When we came back, they said the car is ready. 

I took the gauge out, and I saw that the oil was all 

black. So I said, "But you didn't change the oil. Maybe 

you just lubricated it." "Oh, yes, we changed the oil." 

They showed me the oil, a big jug of oil, and said, "Look 

here, we took that out." And then I said, "This is not 

oil of ray car; that's the oil of a tanker, of a big car, 

of a truck, but not of my car. My oil still is black, 

and it should be light when it's fresh." So finally they 

were polite and nice enough to change the oil really. But 

from then on I always stayed there to watch over them. The 

next morning when we wanted to leave, all the tires were 

down, all four tires. Somebody picked them down, so they could 

be repaired, of course, and we had to wait. But that was 

because I insisted to get fresh oil. [sigh] That was one 

of those things. 

WESCHLER: What was Italy like? This is already with Mussolini 

in power at this time. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but you didn't feel that. From one 

hotel to the other, you know, it didn't.... The only one 

thing was when we were in a coffee house, there came an 

officer to sit with us. He wanted to speak with somebody 


who was not Italian — and we spoke Italian--to tell how 
life is. He told the old story, "Two Italians are anti- 
Fascist, and three are Fascist," That is because when 
there are three you never know who would denounce. But 
when there were two, everybody would know, of course, 
when there was a denunciation who it was. That was the 
feeling of the Italian people. I never had the feeling 
that the Italians were fascistic, the people. There were 
only the young people, who were, of course, pampered by 
Mussolini; and they sang those songs--you know, "Gio- 
vinezza." But nobody was fascistic in Italy what I have 

WESCHLER: In a way that you felt that they were in 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, in Germany they were Nazis, of course, 
WESCHLER: And in Italy you didn't feel that. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Nobody was fascistic, nobody we knew. 
WESCHLER: Did they live in great fear, do you think, 
day to day, at that point? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Not the people, of course, but those who 
were officials and so, because they had to be fascistic, 
and those who were not fascistic had a very hard time. 
Another time, when we were on the lake of Corao or the 
Gardasee, the publisher of ray husband came from Florence 
to see him, and the translator of my husband came 


from Venice to see hira. 

WESCHLER: The Italian translator. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, the Italian translator. And the 

Italian publisher came from Florence. He told my husband 

that he should go and see Mussolini, like Emil Ludwig 

did. And ray husband said, "What shall I say to Mussolini? 

I cannot go there and say, 'How are you? I am against 

Fascism.'" [laughter] So that was the end of the proposal, 

WESCHLER: Emil Ludwig had gone to see Mussolini? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. Emil Ludwig was a great admirer of 

individualism. He was for Mussolini. He said Mussolini 

did right to invade Eritrea and Abyssinia because it was 

so backward and he made it a little bit more modern, but 

not everybody was of the same opinion. He was also for 

[Antonio] Salazar very much. He was for great — he was 

interested in great figures. 

WESCHLER: For Franco also? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't think so; I don't know. I don't 

know about Franco; I know only about Salazar. 

WESCHLER: Well, what else did you do in Italy? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Then we went to Amalfi, where we first were, 

our first swim in the ocean, you know. 

WESCHLER: This is now winter in Italy? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was summer. Before when we were the 

first time there, it was our first swim in the ocean, you 


know, when we first came to Amalfi, when we were hiking 

there. This time we went into the beautiful hotel which 

the last time we were looking at only from outside, the 

hotel Cappuccini [Convento] . That is one of the most 

famous hotels in the world because it was once a beautiful 

monastery. It hangs on a cliff very high up on the hill. 

A very steep road goes up; you couldn't even go with a car 

up. When somebody couldn't walk, they were carried by a 

kind of--like in China, you know, something.... 

WESCHLER: A cart or a carriage. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, they had to be carried.... Sanfte , 

it's called in German. ["Sedan chair"] And they had 

to be carried up by two or four people, whatever it was. 

The garage was underneath, in a cave in the rock. It 

was very difficult to go in; it was a very narrow entrance, 

and when you were in, you had to go right to the right, 

because straight were the horses — you had to be careful 

not to run into the horses. I had always to go backwards 

inside, because outside was the street and you couldn't 

go backwards outside. It was the road, the main road 

there; so you had to go backwards inside so you could go 

outside forward. It was very difficult. Inside it was dark, 

and the horses were inside. 

WESCHLER: Was a Buick an unusual sight in Europe at that 



FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, absolutely. It was so that people 
were always standing around and looking at the car. 
Sometimes you almost couldn't leave the hotel because 200 
young people were around looking at the car. And at the 
female who was driving: that was also something new. 
WESCHLER: So where did you go from Amalfi? 
FEUCHTWANGER: From Amalfi — we were staying for a while 
there; we intended to stay there for the season, to swim 
there. And this is very beautiful. The hotel has a cloister. 
Once it was raining, and my husband said, "You see, I would 
like to have once a house with a cloister like that, because 
it's so beautiful to go around, also in the sun, to medi- 
tate." And this is what we have here, such a cloister 
in this house. 

WESCHLER: In the house here in Pacific Palisades. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , right, and it was always his dream to 
have something like that once. The dinner was always on 
a terrace with grapes hanging around and everything--oranges-- 
everything growing there. The terrace was also almost hanging 
in the air. 

And then we had visitors there. From Munich came a 
young lady to see us there. She was a young girl still. 
We were swimming together all the time. She was very acrobatic 
and I wanted to imitate her, but I was not trained in acro- 
batics. But I did that later: I did the same things that 


man, and I don't want to tell so much about it because she 
was still a young girl. 

Then by chance we met this doctor, a cousin of my 
mother. I told you about this genius, this young doctor, the 
anatomist who became then the director of the hospital in 
Munich and everybody said he must be baptized or converted. 
[Siegfried Oberndorfer] We met him there with his wife by chance, 
We didn't know of each other. He said that my mother is 
very sick in Munich and that when we go back to Germany, 
we should go over Munich and see her. He took care of her. 
Then we got a telegram to.... He left earlier. I drove 
him many times high in the mountains and so while my husband 
was working, and then he went back earlier by train with his 

Then I got a telegram that my mother is very sick and I 
should try to get there as soon as possible. So we went, 
you know, in a tempo through Italy. That was really daring, 
very fast and very long every day. Then we had to go over 
the Brenner pass, and there it was ice and snow. In the 
middle of the night--it was already night; it was very early 
night because it was winter--one of my tires blew out 
on a very steep part at the pass. I had to go out and change 
the tire. It was so cold that I couldn't even have feeling 
in it. I gave my husband the flashlight so I could see a 
little bit, for the screws. And then the flashlight gave out. 


It was not a very good flashlight, bought in Italy. And in 
the dark I had to change.... My nails were all black, not 
black from dirt but I pinched myself and everything what 
happened, I don't know. But anyway, my hands were all 
wounded and almost frozen, my fingers, but I finally got 
the wheel on. But when we were not long on our way a car 
from behind ran into us. We had a big valise on the rear, 
because we were in grand hotels sometimes in the north of 
Italy, and [Lion] wanted me always to have every night another 
gown. So we had a big valise where we could hang those 
gowns, so as not to pack so much, take so much time. For- 
tunately we had this big valise, because when the other car 
ran into us, this big valise was pushed in but nothing happened 
to us. In the other car they said the brakes gave out and 
they couldn't do anything about it. We were afraid in the 
night with those people--it was a truck or so. We didn't 
say anything and just went on, but our insurance paid 
everything, of course. In those days it wasn't too bad. 
WESCHLER: If nothing else, this interview is really going 
to give people in the future an interesting view of driving 
in the early days. God, it's really thrilling! 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja. Then we went to Mittenwald; it is on 
the top, on the other side of --no, before we came to 
Mittenwald, there was Seefeld. You know probably that in 
Austria they drove on the left side in those days. Part 


of the road was Austrian and part was Germany. First we 
had chains on our tires, and then I took the chains off 
because the snow had already melted. There was some ice, 
and on ice the chains are no good; they are even worse. So 
I took the chains off again. I did it all myself. Then 
we went to our direction to Bavaria. Suddenly a car came 
against us on the left side, on the wrong side, because he 
must have been from Austria and forgot that that was the 
wrong side in Germany. He came with full speed against us. 
What should you do? I thought if I go now to the left, 
to the other side, maybe he at the same realizes that he is 
on the wrong side and goes also to this side. You know, in 
a second you have to think about it. So there was a little 
trench on the right side, and I went into the trench with 
my right wheels. When he has passed--! went out fast, be- 
cause I would have turned over--my husband turned around and 
said, "He's still skidding around," From one side to the 
other. He couldn't stop, it was so icy. And he was be- 
wildered, of course; also he did the wrong thing. My car, 
when I was back on the road, didn't stop because it slid 
to the other side of the road where there was an abyss. 
My car was already half out, but the rear wheels were hanging 
on one of those stones where there is indicated the kilo- 
meters, you know, the miles. There the car was hanging. 
And a priest came, just walking by — it was daytime fortunately- 


he crossed himself because he thought now we are gone. So 
I went out and looked how the car was, the position of the 
car, and I tried to go slowly back. And I really came again 
to the road. But that was something. And just because there 
was a man who was on the wrong side. But what should I do? 
What would you do? 

WESCHLER: This is your interview, so we won't ask the inter- 
viewer what he would do. 

FEUCHTWANGER: [laughter] And then we came to Mittenwald. 
Then we were really a little sick from this driving, so 
my husband stayed there, and I went on alone to Munich to 
see my mother. We always had an open car. I had those big 
gloves which went to the elbow, you know, leather gloves, 
and a leather hood. So I drove in this icy weather; but it 
was beautiful, very dry cold. 

Finally I came to Munich, to the hospital where my 
[mother's] cousin was the director, and my mother was lying 
there. When I went in, I almost got a stroke. I came out 
from this cold air and then in there, there was central 
heating. It was the difference between the cold which I 
inhaled all along the way and, very fast--my breath stopped, 
I couldn't breathe anymore. I was leaning against the wall, 
just waiting until it was better. Then it was over. It 
was just for a moment, but it was really a moment of very 
great fright--panic. I just couldn ' t--the lungs were 


paralyzed, didn't expand--for the warm air they had to expand 

or so. 

WESCHLER: What happened to your mother? 

FEUCHTWANGER: She died then. I was there about a week. 

My husband went then on with another lady, I think, who was 

also going to Berlin, and I stayed there for the funeral. 

WESCHLER: Had your father already died? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he had died before. 

WESCHLER: VJhen did he die? 

FEUCHTWANGER: In the twenties. I don't know; we didn't 

even know about it because we were in Berlin, and it was 

so fast that we couldn't know. My mother wrote us that my 

father — he became a little childish; he was senile. He was 

retired, but he was never sick. My mother told him that he 

had to do something. She said, "You go now and get the milk 

for us." You know, at the next dairy. He went out and came 

back. She told us, "He didn't know what to ask. He just 

said, 'Give me the white stuff.'" So he was not very much 

in his mind. Then he said, "I have something in my throat. 

Take it out." So my mother said, "Yes, when you have something 

in your throat, maybe you have tonsillitis. We have to have 

the doctor." And she called the doctor. The doctor came and 

said, "We have to go immediately to the hospital. It was a 

stroke." He couldn't swallow anymore. And the next day he 

died. It was so fast and without. ... He was so angry when 


the ambulance men came to carry him down. He didn't want to 
be carried down. He was angry with the people; he said, 
"I can go by myself." 

WESCHLER: What were your relations like with your parents 
during the time that you were in Munich? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, they were very good from the moment on 
when I was married. My relations were very good. I remember 
only that my mother said, "Now I know what you had to go 
through with your father." And my father came very often 
and said, "Now I know what you had to go through with your 
mother." So they came always to me then, which was very good. 
There was only one thing that my father didn't like, that 
my husband had to take over as Vormund [his guardian] . He 
had to take over because my father was not competent anymore. 
My mother and my husband took over. My mother took over 
juristically and my husband had to take over the financial 
side. My father was very unhappy about that because he was 
still conscious; he only didn't understand what to do with 
the inflation. He had still a business, and he had to give 
up the business because he sold the merchandise as he bought 
it. But it was [the prices of] a year before, and only the 
normal percentage, so he lost all the money. My husband 
[barely] saved so much that they could just live. 
WESCHLER: Well, I think we're coming to the end of this 
tape. We've done an awful lot of traveling in these two tapes. 


the last two sessions. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, but the whole Berlin was always traveling. 

I think every year we went traveling. 

WESCHLER: Well, for the next session you might try and think 

about things that happened in Berlin, what life in Berlin 

was like during that period, and we'll begin to come slowly 

to 1932-33. 


JULY 30, 1975 

WESCHLER: We've been talking in the last two sessions about 
all the trips you took during your time in Berlin. Today, 
and maybe the next session also, we're going to be talking 
mainly about what it was like in Berlin, the different kinds 
of things that happened. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, in Berlin we didn't live very much. In 
Berlin, we were always either traveling, or my husband and 
I, we were sick. 

The first thing after we came from Spain was that my 
husband had an appendectomy. But it was not known yet in 
those days. It was not so easy to find out, because also he 
had stomach cramps. I called a doctor whom I knew--we had not 
a real doctor; I knew him only very f leetingly--and he came 
in the night and gave my husband opium. Then the pains were 
a little better, but not much. But mostly then he told me 
also to give him an enema, and then his fever went down en- 
tirely after that. But then the fever came back again, and 
I called the doctor. The doctor had said he would come in 
the morning again, and when I spoke with his wife, she said 
he has a patient in jail, very far from Berlin, and she 
cannot reach him. He had not come back yet. But he said 
that if he is not better I should bring my husband into 


his hospital where he is used to have his patients. So I 
brought my husband there with my little car. We were waiting 
and waiting there, and my husband's fever began to get al- 
ways higher and higher, and I became scared. Finally I 
called Professor [A.W.] Meyer, who was a famous surgeon whom 
I knew because I went to him when I had my knee sprained 
once from skiing and he treated me then. And he immediately 
let all his patients alone and waiting, and came immediately 
to this hospital. He told me when he came in already that 
he saw what had happened because my husband looked so feverish. 
He said all what we did was even dangerous to do. I shouldn't 
have given him an enema; he shouldn't have gotten opium. He 
has to be taken out from this hospital because he cannot 
operate there; he has seen the facilities, and it's too 
old-fashioned, he said. We have to go into his little hospital, 
which was only an apartment, only an operation room in an 
apartment, but very special, and also with special nurses. 
He said, "I cannot bring him with the car. He has to go by 
ambulance." Then when he was there, he immediately operated 
on him, and he allowed me to stay in the next room. Then 
after a while he c^me out with the appendix which was still 
steaming from heat, from the fever, and it had ruptured. He 
said it is very dangerous still, and an hour later would have 
been too late because the tissues around were already infected. 
In those days there was no penicillin or antibiotics, and so 


it was very often deadly, fatal. When I saw Lion being 
rolled out of the operation room on a stretcher, unconscious, 
deadly pale, and spattered with blood, I told myself: if he 
recovers I shall let him live his life, let him do whatever 
he wants even if it means sacrifice and hurt to me. 

He had the best nurse Professor Meyer could hire and 
could recommend, but she snored at night. (She was an elderly 
woman.) So I told Professor Meyer, "This is impossible. We 
can't have that." [And he said], "Well, you are always there 
anyway, so you stay here at night, and she only in daytime." 
So I was at night there, was allowed to stay in the room, 
which had never happened before, you know. But he was a 
great admirer of my husband, so he made this exception. 

In the morning, when I came down, I forgot that.... It 
was a terrible thunderstorm at night, and I forgot all about 
my car, which was an open sports car. We never closed it; 
it was rather complicated to close. In the morning, I went 
down to go home to bring some pajamas for my husband, 
and what was necessary for him, and I saw the car covered. 
There was a note inside and it said, "I was here the whole 
night and went around the block, and I closed your car 
because it would have been all wet with this terrible rain." 
Signed Bertolt Brecht. So he must have heard from Doctor 
Mullereisert , who was his friend and an assistant of Pro- 
fessor Meyer, what happened, because I had no time to tell 
anybody. So it was the only possibility. And that he went 
the whole night around the block was really moving. 


WESCHLER: How did Lion recover? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, Lion took a rather long time, and then he 
was very weak still and anemic. The professor told him to 
go into a sanatorium, to build up strength, that his health 
should be built up. That was in the Grunewald, this suburb 
which was so elegant. It was the first time that I remember 
that we could afford it. We were not used to so much money 
because my husband got always money from Jud Suss (which 
was called Power in America); from everywhere came money, 
and we were not used to it. We were still in this little 
apartment. So for us that was not such a great luxury be- 
cause we could afford it now. 

When he was a little better, [Samuel] Fischer, the 
famous, great publisher--he lived not far from there-- 
heard about my husband's sickness, and he came to see him. 
My husband, for the first time, could go around in his room, 
and Mr. Fischer, who was an elderly man, went with him, 
going around in his room (there was a terrace also) . And 
he said, "I never could get over it that you didn't send 
your novel Jud Siiss first to me. After all, I am the first, 
the best publisher in Germany." And then my husband: "But 
I did send it to yiu. You sent it back without even opening 
the manuscript." So this was too late, but later on he 
published then other things from my husband. 

Then the doctor told also that my husband has to 
have a masseur. Later he indicated it would be better also.. 


I always said, "Massage is only good for the masseur. It's 

not so good for the one who is massaged, because it needs 

more effort to...." Then I told that also to Professor 

Meyer, and he said, "Yes, you are right. Maybe you should 

have a coach." And he sent my husband to a coach, after he 

already was cured, was better. This coach was also the 

coach of the great industrialist [Otto] Kahn. He [Kahn] 

was a very great man; he traveled a lot around, and he said 

he wants his coach with him, so we lost our coach. But 

this coach, who was very nice and very efficient and also-- 

they were always trained also in medicine--sent us a friend 

of his. This was a fantastic man, very liberal, and he built 

my husband really up. Lion was always a very good walker 

and hiker and also mountaineer, but he made him a little 

less stiff also: what is important is that the muscles, 

when you walk too much or hike too much, they get stiff. 

He also built up my husband's body. Then we made the jogging, 

the first time around the little lake there which was in 

our neighborhood. We just could look down into the valley, 

and a little to the left was a lake and also an old Renaissance 

castle. And this man, he.... 

WESCHLER: This was in the new house? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was in the new house, ja. 

WESCHLER: Well, why don't you tell about this man first, and 

then we'll talk about the house in a second. What was 


the coach's name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Karl Schroeder. And he did always jogging 

with my husband and also with me. But with me he made 

other things: I did acrobatics, handstands and cartwheels 

and things like that. Also what he did was mostly for 

skiing, that I wouldn't make this mistake anymore to hurt 

myself so much. 

WESCHLER: You told me that he was Jewish, this coach? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, no, not Jewish. There were no Jewish 

coaches. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Oh, that was not him. He was just liberal. 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was very liberal, yes. During the Nazi 

time, he was always in Germany, but he found a way to 

send always letters--! don't know how. He went sometimes 

probably over the border or somewhere, because he couldn't 

write, of course, with his name on the [envelope]. He 

always found means to write us, and complained very much 

about the Hitler regime. But we never saw him again. I 

think he died later. He was still a young man. 

WESCHLER: Do those letters still exist? Do you still 

have them? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't think so, because we lost everything 

in France. He wrote the letters to France, and when we 

left France, we had only our backpacks. [laughter] So that 

was all lost in France. 


WESCHLER: Okay. I wanted to talk a bit, just in a rather 
random fashion, about some of the people who were your 
friends in Berlin. You mentioned Brecht, and we might tell 
some stories about Brecht. The other day, off the tape, 
you were telling me about Brecht's studio, and you might tell 
us about that. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Where he lived, it was in one studio. He 
always liked to live very high up. Below the roof. And 
there where he lived and slept, it was all painted black-- 
the whole furniture, everything was black. But he was 
not there much, because his wife had another studio which 
was wonderfully.... She had very much taste, and also 
beautiful furniture from her family in Vienna. She was 
from a very wealthy family who had a big department store. 
WESCHLER: Which wife was this? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The second wife--Helen Weigel, the famous 
actress. She was very communistic, much more than Brecht 
ever was, I think. She was the one--I told you when he 
came the first time to Munich with her, that she made the 
impression already to be a communist. She was from Vienna 
and brought with her this beautiful furniture, old Bieder- 
meier furniture from Vienna. So her studio was a rather 
big studio, and very light, with beautiful things, and they 
had also lots of parties there. Not big parties, but parties 
to eat. Mostly the parties were just after dinner, with 


wine and some sandwiches and so. But she invited us al- 
ways to eat; she was a great cook. It was a tradition that 
every Christmas we were there at their house. Also here, 
when he came later here, that was the same: always 
Christmas. Once there was a French writer there and also 
Kurt Weill, and it was a real Christmas dinner with first 
mirror carp--very big, very broad, with no scales, and 
very juicy. Afterwards it was, of course, the Cans , the 
goose, the German goose. It was no Christmas without a 
goose. With chestnuts. She did all that beautif ully--but 
she had a maid always, because she had two children. Once 
we came just before the dinner, and we saw Brecht sewing. 
It was very funny. He [told us] he had just bought a car 
and he wanted a little flag on the fender, and this must 
be black. So he sewed himself a black thing with a little 
wire so that he could fix it on the fender. And then, all of 
a sudden, we heard him shout, "Oh, I don't like that, to pick 
the father classic into the behind!" This was his little 
boy who took a needle and picked him into the behind. But 
he said, "I don't like that the papa classic would be picked 
into the papa behind!" [laughter] ["Das hab ich gern, den 
papa Klassiker in der Arsch stecken."] 

And then I remember also when we were there once that 
Brecht spoke about making a new kind of play. My husband 
was writing his novels and was not available anymore, so 


he asked his secretary. Miss Hauptmann. She was half 
American and could read English. And he asked her to look 
into the English literature if there wouldn't be something 
which he could adapt because he liked this knockabout 
humor very much, which is mostly in England. (That was to him 
the greatest thing--this kind of English humor.) And in 
those days there was just a big success of The Beggar ' s 
Opera by [John] Gay. So she had that coming from England. 
She read it, and she said that she thought that would be a 
good idea to make that into something German. She translated 
it into German, and then he made The Threepenny Opera . 
[ Die Dreigroschenoper ] 

WESCHLER: Gay was not known in Germany? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. Nothing was known, you know. That was 
all a province. Germany was a province; it was not a big 
country. It was all--everything was in Germany, you know. 
Even it took us such a long time until even the impressionists 
from France came to Germany, or their art, that they knew 
about that. [And that would not have happened] if it were 
not for Paul Cassirer, who I told you about. So one day 
Brecht was standin on the door jamb with his guitar and 
singing for Weill a Bavarian melody which he heard as a 
child. He sang it with his shrill voice and.... I re- 
member, it was after I was in America and I brought some 
records back there with jazz. That was just new then. 


jazz, and it was not known in Germany, and it made a big 

impression on Kurt Weill, who was very much influenced 

by jazz. And Kurt Weill was sitting at the upright piano 

and accompanying, improvising for Brecht for this song which 

was "Mackie Messer." 

WESCHLER: That's based on a Bavarian folk song? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I heard it before, but it was changed 

because Weill jazzed it up. Brecht sang that, and that 

became then "Mackie Messer." So when it was finished, they 

had no title. And Brecht came to my husband and asked him 

whether he would advise the title Luden Opera , because 

"Beggar's Opera" [equals] "Luden Opera," Lude is a kind of 

bum--not a bum, more or less a criminal. A criminal bum, 

let's say. And my husband said he thinks it sounds terrible, 

He said, "What about Threepenny Opera ?" So Brecht said, 

"Oh, that's great!" And so the title was from my husband. 

One title was by me.... 

WESCHLER: Drums in the Night is yours, and Threepenny 

Opera is ... . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , this was my husband. It was Dreigros - 

chenoper. Grosche:i is a Berlin expression for a penny, 

for a pfennig. Only used in Berlin. 

WESCHLER: Almost like "three-bit opera," if you know that 

slang word. It was then premiered in Berlin. 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was premiered in Berlin [on August 31, 


1928] , and it was a great sensation. Already when the 
curtain parted, there was an enormous ovation, because it 
was absolutely new what Erich Engel, who was the director, 
made. Of course Engel didn't do anything without Brecht; 
they were working together. Brecht influenced everybody 
who was--his whole surrounding was influenced by him. It 
was mostly also Caspar Neher who made the settings. The 
first settings were never to the taste of Brecht; he always 
said, "That's no good; you have to make better." And true, 
the second time it was the real thing. So he influenced 
everybody, and most sets were by Neher, and Erich Engel 
directed it. The ceiling: there was no ceiling. It was 
absolutely new, you know, and this was in a theater which 
was rather conventional before. There was no ceiling; you 
could see the whole ropes hanging down. On those ropes, all 
the paraphernalia which are used behind the stage were 
openly [displayed] , and the clothes of the beggars, which 
are hanging there because the beginning [involves Peachum] , 
the man who owns the beggars and gives them their clothes, 
and also what they need to take with them, their canes or 
crutches. It was all hanging there. That was so new and 
so astonishing that they didn't stop the applause. 
WESCHLER: Was Lotte Lenya in the original production? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I think she was already, ja, ja. I 
think she sang Jenny, and that was her first great success. 


WESCHLER: You had been friends with her all along also, 

ever since she had been in your husband's play. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, she was, ja, ja. 

WESCHLER: What was she like? 

FEUCHTWANGER: She was very interesting. She was not at 

all glamorous or so; she was not even pretty. But she was 

enormously sexy. She was a dancer before and her movements-- 

and also she had a big mouth--everything was sexy on her. One 

forgot that she was not pretty or not beautiful because 

she was fascinating. Also she was very clever and had humor. 

She was a very interesting person. And is still. Also what 

she writes--for instance, she writes about Brecht sometimes, 

little glosses. They are always so witty: she writes words 

about his laughter or something like that, very short things 

but very clever. 

WESCHLER: The play itself was a big success. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Big success. But it was not only a success.... 

WESCHLER: Popular as well as artistic? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Both, yes, enormous success, yes, and made a 

lot of money for Brecht which helped him also in the beginning 

of his emigration. Later on it — and it was also over. It 

has been played in America in the thirties.* Brecht came 

there in the thirties. But it fell through--it was not a 

success . 

I was here once at UCLA at a panel with Albert Maltz 

*In fact, these recollections refer to the 1935 American 
production of Brecht' s The Mother . 


and also the director of the theater department, [James] 
Kerans. We were [talking] about Brecht. Of course, people 
asked all these things, and they asked me about Brecht and his 
women, what I have to talk about that. So I said, "Brecht 
liked many women, but only one at a time." [laughter] 
Which wasn't true, but I didn't want to make so much sen- 
sation, [laughter] And then came Albert Maltz, and he spoke 
against Brecht. You cannot imagine. He said that Brecht 
was terrible when he came, and Maltz from his point of view 
was right. When Brecht came to New York--they made a great 
effort for him. The Theater [Union] was then, you know. 
I don't remember now the director--yes , Harold Clurman was the 
director of the Theater Union and the instigator. And it was a 
great effort, also financial, to let Brecht come. They paid 
for the trip, and the whole thing was very.... 
WESCHLER: What year was this? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know. We were still in France. 
WESCHLER: The late thirties, or the late twenties? 
FEUCHTWANGER: About '36 or something like that. I don't 
remember. I know only that it happened. [19 35] Brecht 
came to the rehearsal, and he behaved like he behaved in 
Berlin, but they were not used to that in America. When 
he said several times, "Shit," so the friendship was over, 
[laughter] Because also that was not like in Berlin where 
nobody had risked anything because it was the state who paid 


for it. This was their money which was very difficult to get, 

and they made real great efforts for him. You have to speak 

about it with [Mordecai] Gorelik, maybe he knows about it; 

he lives here in Huntington Beach, I think. I will go next 

week probably. Maybe we can speak once with him. Maltz 

also said that Brecht said he doesn't stand for this; he 

doesn't want this and they should stop it; he doesn't want 

the performance and they do it against his will. I don't 

know if he stayed there during the first evening, but I 

only know it was an enormous scandal because he was so [rude] . 

But everybody was right. He was right because he never 

wanted to sell his things; he rather would lose money, have no 

success, if it wouldn't have been so as he wanted it. But 

the others were also right because they had this terrible 

effort, and also they didn't deserve such a treatment. But 

Brecht was absolutely ruthless when it had something to do 

with his art. He was not ruthless in private life, but this-- 

that was just a fanatic. 

WESCHLER: Do you remember any other premieres of works of 

his in Berlin? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I remember also Happy End , which was a 

terrible scandal. 

WESCHLER: In what way? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ah, it was very funny, but it was not 

one of his biggest things. He also didn't even recognize 

it himself. It was not signed by himself; it was 

signed, "Written by Elizabeth Hauptmann," his secretary, 


because he felt himself that it was not so good. But I 
don't remember to have seen any other play in Berlin. Yes, 
I saw one, which was called — but it was in a very small 
theater-- The Mother , I think, after a story from somebody 
else. From Gorky. And, of course. The Measures T aken [ Die 
Massnahme] , at a great theater. Die Volksbuh'ne . And then 
was Kuhle Wampe . This movie has been played there. It was 
one of the last things in Berlin before Hitler came. And 
it is still famous, this film. 

WESCHLER: How would you evaluate Brecht's reputation in 
Berlin just before he had to leave? Was he the top play- 
wright in Berlin at the time? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Of course The Threepenny Opera made him 
famous there, but it was too short a time to live up to 
it, to have any outside success. He was not so much known 
in Berlin. Also the people were very much divided. Some 
didn't like what he wrote at all, and some were absolutely 
for him. 

WESCHLER: Was Kerr against him the entire time? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, always. Ja, ja. 

WESCHLER: Okay, some other people to talk about: Heinrich 
Mann was in Berlin at this time also. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Heinrich Mann--we didn't see him very often. 
You know, Berlin in those days was for us a very big city. 
We lived in the outskirts and Heinrich lived--! don't even 


know where he lived. He had always only one room, a private 
room or so. When he came to Berlin he was very much in 
love with a cabaret artist [Trude Hesterberg] . He was 
always with her; he didn't go with others. He was not 
seen anywhere else, always sitting there where she--and 
this has also to do with The Blue Angel . That was the story 
of The Blue Angel. Once he wanted to see us. (He always 
wrote postcards; he didn't even telephone.) He wrote a 
postcard, "Can I come on this-and-this day?" So my husband 
wrote back that we would be very happy to see him. Then 
he didn't come. We prepared a very elaborate tea, because 
he liked to drink tea in the afternoon. He didn't want to 
go out in the evening because he was always at this cabaret. 
But nobody came. The next day came another card, "My cab 
driver didn't find it. How about meeting each other in a 
coffee house?" That was the end of it. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: I've seen a remarkable photograph of a birthday 
party for him. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that was a big thing. It was his six- 
tieth birthday party. But there was neither his brother 
nor any of his family there. But it was a big, great affair 
in the Herrenhaus Academy (that is a state building) . And 
there were many French people there. He was very well known 
in France. On the table where we were sitting, on my right 
side was cultural attache of the French Embassy [Julien 


Luchaire] , and on the other side was my husband. I have a 
picture where Lion is speaking; he is standing. And [Carl] 
Zuckmayer was also there, and his wife [Alice], but you see 
him only from the back. It's a round table. 
WESCHLER: The rivalry from a distance between Thomas and 
Heinrich continued in Berlin? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It seemed so, ja. Because then he left 
his wife [Maria Kanova] and divorced her and was in Berlin. 
This divorcing I never could understand. I think it was 
friends who brought them apart. Because his wife--I didn't 
know if she was unfaithful, but somebody told him that she 
was unfaithful. There were people who just wanted to sep- 
arate them. And then he finally believed it probably and 
left for Berlin. 

t>rESCHLER: How would you evaluate the comparative reputations 
of Heinrich Mann and Thomas Mann in Berlin in the twenties? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, Thomas Mann was just a name, but not a 
person, you know. It was a name. It was a man who had 
one--only one novel was famous in Germany; that was Budden - 
brooks --and he got the Nobel Prize. That was all: nobody 
knew more about him. 

WESCHLER: The Magic Mountain was not as important in 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was not as successful as in America. It 
was successful but only Buddenbrooks was really the book 


of [his fame] . I remember that I was even present when 
somebody said, "Your best book was really Buddenbrooks . " 
You could see that he was stung when he heard that. 
WESCHLER: By contrast, Heinrich Mann's reputation was.... 
FEUCHTWANGER: Heinrich Mann was enormously famous. He 
had--first, already he had written books which were great 
successes and brought also much money. He even supported 
Thomas Mann for a while. And then he wrote a book that 
was called The S ub j e c t , Per Untertan . The subject of 
that was a man who is an industrial man, very philistine 
and at the same time very--not sexy but interested in sex in 
a small way, in a not-clean way. This book was forbidden 
during the kaiser and only came out after the revolution. It 
was an enormous success. It was, I think, the first book in 
Germany which was very satirical; his name was Carl Stern- 
heim. He was very famous also in Germany for his plays, 
which had very much similarity with the Untertan . I 
never found out who influenced whom, those two. Sternheim 
was rather curious. He wrote a play, Don Juan, about Don 
Giovanni, which was in verses and very pathetical and 
imitation-classical, and it had no success at all--people even 
laughed. Then he found out that if he would do the same thing 
intentionally, then it would be great. And that was finally 
his great success. Instead of being a serious classic play- 
wright, he did the same thing in a little bit caricature, and 


then it was his greatest success--satirical . 
WESCHLER: Another person to talk about is Arnold Zweig. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Arnold Zweig was a great writer and a great-- 
what shall I say? He could tell tales. 
WESCHLER: Raconteur. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Raconteur, that was the word. 
WESCHLER: I'll even give you French words, [laughter] 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. That's a very difficult — also in 
German it is used, this word. In this way he could also 
write books, you know. It was like talking; it was not 
stylized at all. It was rather verbose sometimes, but the 
persons were always so interesting, and he had the gift to 
make people alive. And also he had to say something. His 
greatest success was then The Case of Sergeant Grischa . 
This was a great book. The good thing was also that he was 
so open-minded about other people who wrote. For instance, 
he wasn't jealous about my husband's success, which was much 
bigger than his success. He shared that with him. This also 
was a little bit for my husband--he spoiled him. So my 
husband always thought when he speaks about his success 
everybody would enioy that. But people didn't enjoy that 
at all, and the Thomas Manns always spoke about him that he 
is always speaking about his successes. He was so naive that 
he thought because Brecht and Arnold Zweig, his best 
friends, enjoyed his successes.... He could tell them now 


this book is in this language, translated in another lan- 
guage at the same time, and he was always himself so surprised 
about his success that he took it as if it would have been 
for another person. He was not vain or so. He just was 
surprised that he who had so long waited for a success and 
also written for so long, that all of a sudden he fell into 
success . 

WESCHLER: Did Arnold Zweig live near you? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was not so near but we could [get there] 
by car, or even take another kind of vehicle--the subway, 
or the buses and all kinds. It was very difficult to go 
there. Even with the car it was rather long. But you could 
walk there, make a cut through the open landscape, and there 
it was maybe in three-quarters of an hour that we could be 
at his house. Sometimes he came walking to our house to 
pick us up and bring us to his house; we drank tea there, 
and when we went back he always accompanied us halfway back 
also. We always walked to one of the houses of each other. 
On our way we always had the most interesting conversation. 
He told the plot of his novels and [was] very fascinating 
when he spoke about it. 

WESCHLER: You had mentioned one novel in particular he 
was talking about. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, one novel which was De Vriendt [ Goes 
Home] [De Vriendt Kehrt heim] . it was sensational almost. 


I ;. 

the plot, and gripping. But when the book came out, it 
was a little disappointing. It still had a success, a 
certain success, but not as much as Sergeant Grischna . 
Later on he had those novels which were, several novels, 
Erziehung vor Verdun ( Education Before Verdun ) and The 
Making of a King , I think it's called [ Einsetzung eines 
Konigs ] --two novels. And he wrote part of it already in 
exile. He had very bad eyes, and he brought the manuscript 
to Sanary where we lived; he also dictated there part of it. 
And then I read the proofs for him sometimes, because he 
couldn't read very much what he wrote. Sometimes the 
sentences or so didn't end the way they should have. I'm 
not a great grammatic either, but whe-- read his [work], 
I told Zweig, "I cannot let that throug;.. That's not German; 
you have to make that otherwise." So he was sometimes 
angry, but finally he knew that I was right. It was always 
a good friendship. 

WESCHLER: Speaking of blindness, you had told me some 
interesting stories about James Joyce. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, James Joyce we met in Paris. That was in 
the twenties. We were just walking on the Champs-Elysees-- 
we did that daily (you had to do that: that's Paris) — 
and somebody jumped up from an open-air restaurant cafe which 
is on the Champs-Elysees--Fouchettes , I think it was called. 
That was my husband's publisher from America, Ben Huebsch. 


We knew that; we met him there before. But he was sitting 

there with James Joyce, who was a good friend of his. 

But Joyce was already blind. Then they sang together. 

Joyce had drunk a little bit, even in daytime some champagne, 

and so he would shout; he sang Wagner operas loudly. Both 

were music critics once (so was Shaw) . So we were sitting 

there and talking, and he was very amiable. But, of course, 

he didn't see; he couldn't see us. 

WESCHLER: Had Lion read Joyce? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, of course. 

WESCHLER: In English or in translation? 

FEUCHTWANGER: In English, never--if it wasn't Russian, of 

course. Lion never read in translation. 

WESCHLER: And was he impressed, or what did he think of 


FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he was very much impressed. It was 

also--Joyce had great influence then. But my husband was 

not so much influenced, because the influence on Joyce and 

on my husband were the same: it was [Sigmund] Freud, in a 

way, ja. 

WESCHLER: Joyce would be the first to deny that, but... 


WESCHLER: ...but it was probably quite true. Was Joyce 

very influential in general in German letters? Was he 

read by Germans? 


FEUCHTWANGER: No, he was not much known in Germany. He 
was more known in America, I think, although he was for- 
bidden there. But in Germany he wasn't much known. Zweig 
was very much influenced by Freud. Also they were friends, 
and there is a great correspondence between Freud and Arnold 
Zweig. My husband was also inf luenced--everybody was in- 
fluenced, I think, even without knowing it. But sometimes 
my husband [maintained] that many things which they say are 
Freud had happened before; for instance, Dostoevski was very 
much like Freud in his writing. 

WESCHLER: Sure. Well, Freud is the first to point that out. 
Freud is always pointing to previous artists. He's the one 
who named it an "Oedipus complex," which in itself is [an 
act of homage] . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja, that's true. But that was before 
Freud said that that my husband had found it in his way. 
WESCHLER: Had Lion ever met Freud? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, they never met. You know, as I told you, 
Europe was a big continent, and when somebody was in Austria, 
he was not so much known--or it was just that they didn't 
meet. The Austria is were a little bit like the French: 
they didn't go away from their country. They were very con- 
temptible against Berlin and against Munich, so you couldn't 
see those people who were from Austria, except when you 
went to Austria yourself. And we came only much later to 



WESCHLER: But Freud had a good reputation in Berlin? He 
was well known, of course. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes. Ja, ja. But only by sophisticated 
people. He was not popular or so. His writings were not 
popular, but every writer knew about him. 

WESCHLER: Well, I wanted to get back to your house. We've 
talked a good deal about things that went on in it, but we 
haven't really talked about it, how it got built and so forth. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was very funny. When I found this house, 
there were only the walls finished but nothing else, and then 
we changed a lot. 
WESCHLER: Now where was it? 

FEUCHT^^/ANGER: It was in the Grunewald. The street was 
Gustav Mahler Strasse. There were only six houses on this 
street. It was mostly woods. It was built into the woods 
and forest. This street was later changed by the Nazis to 
Max Reger street, because Gustav Mahler was Jewish. I 
didn't have anything against Max Reger, who was a good 
Bavarian composer--he ' s still considered rather good--but 
they could have al^o named another street like that. This 
whole part of Berlin was, they called it the music quarter 
because there was [Ludwig] Spohr and [Franz Joseph] Haydn, and 
many, many musicians had the names of streets there. And 
[Edvard] Grieg, for instance. This house was thought for a 


family house, but we had no children, so we could use the 
upper story--there were three stories--for gymnastics. In 
the open, it was a roof garden: we made a roof garden out of 
it, with a hot and cold shower and also some couches and things 
like that, just for making all the gymnastics and sunbathing. 

Before we bought the house, we had no furniture, and 
I didn't like the furniture which I saw there in the fur- 
niture shops. So I went to the other side of Berlin, which 
is now in East Germany--it was the poor part of Berlin; 
it was really a kind of slum--and I found there the old junk 
shops and looked there for furniture. I saw that they had 
very interesting furniture there because people who wanted 
to have modern furniture got rid of their "junk" there. 
Those were all Biedermeier (that was around 1800, the begin- 
ning of the last century) . This was a very beautiful style 
of furniture, although every country had a different [style]. 
There was a Viennese Biedermeier, the Bavarian Biedermeier, 
the Berlin Biedermeier, and the Danish Biedermeier. The 
Danish Biedermeier was mostly mahogany, and the Bavarian 
and the Viennese were more maple (but another kind of maple 
which is much harder than here; it's very beautiful, more 
like walnut) . And the Viennese Biedermeier was too much 
ornamented; I didn't like that too much. It was with those 
lyres, you know, when all the backs of the chairs had lyres. 
And Munich was very beautiful, very simple. People had not 


so much money to make it so ornate. And then the most 
beautiful was the Danish. And I found there--I would say, 
"Don't you have some furniture, more than that?" And then 
the people would say, "Oh, yes. We have it in the cellar." 
So we had to go in the cellar, sometimes two stories down 
into the earth. There was no light except candlelight, and 
you fell over the whole thing, it was so dark. It was really 
eerie there. And also some were moldy sometimes. It was 
very moldy there. Sometimes you could not buy those things 
because they were not good anymore; they were rotten almost. 
But I found the most beautiful things there. Also mahogany 
beds and double beds and divans, Madame Recamier divans 
from old castles. When people wanted new furniture, they 
threw those out. Also I found a beautiful Persian rug there, 
very beautiful, very valuable later. 

One of those dealers was a very nice man, very simple. 
He was a Seventh-Day Adventist, and he never asked much 
money for those things. He was just glad when somebody had 
sense for those things. He didn't want to make much money, 
he was so pious, but [he was] also very liberal. One day 
he asked me when I oaid him, and I wrote my name somewhere-- 
you didn't pay a check, you paid only cash, but I gave him 
my address--and so he said, "Oh, Feuchtwanger . . . . " 


AUGUST 1, 197 5 

WESCHLER: When we left off last time, we were in the middle 
of a story about an antique furniture dealer, a Seventh- 
Day Adventist, from whom you were buying some Biedermeier 
furniture . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, and also he had beautiful Persian rugs, 
which he bought usually at auctions. He was very glad to 
have them; he was not even very eager to sell them. He 
was an Adventist, and he was not for richness. He was a 
very simple man, and very kind. You don't find them like 
that anymore. So when I told him the address where I lived, 
because I bought lots of those Persian rugs and furniture, 
then he recognized my name and said, "Oh, is that Mr. Lion 
Feuchtwanger who wrote the novel Jud Siiss ?" I said yes. He 
said, "You know the Jews in the east...." That was in east 
Berlin; before the war that was a kind of slum, and the poor 
Jews who had to flee from the Russian pogroms were settled 
there mostly, in the poor part of Berlin. He knew a 
lot of them because his shop was also in the slums. So 
he said, "You know, the Jews in my environment, in my 
neighborhood, they are very unhappy about the book. They 
say Feuchtwanger is an anti-Semite, because he speaks about 
the rich Jew, the one who was in the government with a bad 
duke in Wurttemberg. " So they thought he is an anti-Semite. 


He asked me if that is true. Then I told him it couldn't 
be true because my husband is a Jew himself. Although 
there happen some instances of anti-Semite Jews, too, that is 
a rarity. It's not the average Jew. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: Well, you were telling me at the end of last 
session, off of the tape, about a particular chair from 
that group. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I discovered a chair which I found very 
beautiful. It was Biedermeier, with those simple lines which 
began with the Biedermeier time after the rococo and around 
1800, the beginning of the nineteenth century. This chair 
was called an ear-chair, because on both sides of the back 
were like ears, so you could lean your head to the side. And 
Brecht was always sitting in this chair when he was working 
with my husband, and he was so enthusiastic about it. 
"Couldn't you find a similar chair for me?" I tried, but 
it was the only one I found, and he always said, "Oh, if 
I only had such a chair." So finally I said, "For God's 
sake, take it with you!" [laughter] And when I came back 
to Berlin, after I had been invited by Willy Brandt's govern- 
ment, I was, of course, at the theater of the Berliner Ensemble, 
in the office of Brecht, where he was sitting and making his 
plays and his direction. And there was this chair. I was 
sitting in this chair, and I realized that not only was 
I very proud that he wrote so much in this chair, so much 


of his work, but also I realized that it was the only thing 
which was left from our house, our furniture and our for- 
tune and everything. So in a way I had this sentimental 
observation, [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Well, before we started today you had had some 
memories back to the early days of the Munich revolution, 
which we now want to record, particularly about Bruno 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . Bruno Frank helped Kurt Eisner when he 
spoke the first time to a big meeting or demonstration in 
the open air where usually the famous Oktoberfest was taking 
place. He spoke glowingly. But there were no loudspeakers 
in those days, so he had to shout very much, and he had 
not a very strong voice. So Bruno Frank, who had a sonorous 
voice, spoke after him and had much acclaim. He said, "We 
want to have a dignified revolution. We don't want any 
blood, and we don't want any violence. And you have to help 
us to do that, [to assure] that this takes place like 
that." And also Toller spoke in the same line. 
WESCHLER: Was that met with popular enthusiasm? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Absolutely, both of them, even more than Eisner, 
who was admired but he was--he didn't look so much. But 
Frank was a wonderful appearance, you know, and Toller looked 
like a real poet, very pale, with black, wavy hair. He 
was a very interesting looking man. Both had much success 


with women. But this was not the case at this time. 

Anyway, after that, Frank and Toller helped the govern- 
ment as good as they could. I think Toller wrote speeches, 
and Frank was at the department of the food stamps , so that 
there would be in a way a just distribution. And so 
also those people who were not revolutionaries would 
get their food. And once there came a man in: he was 
beautifully dressed in a large robe, and it turned out that 
it was Nuncius [Eugenic] Pacelli, the papal nuncio--the 
ambassador, it is called. He was also the archbishop of 
Munich, and his palace was very near to this royal palace 
where Frank was sitting in his department. He came to Frank 
and said in a very shy voice, "May I have the butter stamps 
still as I had before?" And this man was later the Pope 
Pius [XII] . 

WESCHLER: He was so shy because he was.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was afraid that he was persona non grata 
with the revolution because the clergy and the church 
blessed the soldiers who went to war; they were very much 
on the side of the emperor. Nobody would have been on the 
side of the revolutionaries, who wanted peace. 
VJESCHLER: Do you have any other memories of Pope Pius in 
Munich during those days? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, we left Munich then. So I don't know so 


much about it. 

V7ESCHLER: Was he there during the war, do you know? 
FEUCHTWAtlGER: He was there during the war, and he blessed 
the soldiers who went to war to kill the other soldiers. 
And that was no virtue in our mind. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: Okay. You also have a story about you yourself 
needing a pass. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, that was a little later. But during 
the revolution, there was another thing: There was a 
man [Ernst von Bassermann] who was a cousin of the famous 
actor [Albert] Bassermann who came here because he couldn't 
stand the Nazis (he was non-Jewish, and it wasn't necessary 
for him to leave Germany) . This man was a professor of 
philosophy and very rich and had a beautiful palace in the 
suburbs of Munich. He was very smitten with me--I don't 
know why. I think I looked so sinful. He was very pious, 
and this always attracted the pious people. I often noticed 
that in the countryside, the pastor and the priest always 
wanted to speak with me. For them I was just a kind of 
symbol of sin. [laughter] He was at every first night 
in the theater wh^^re we also were, and we always spoke with 
each other. He was an enormous man, and he was a widower. 
I think I was the only woman who played any role in his life 
after the death of his wife. So he invited us very often 
to dinner. He had a very wonderful cook, a male cook, and 


also the most beautiful wines, because he himself had 
vineyards on the Rhine. He invited us also after the 
revolution, and he said, "You know, I was very much afraid., 
(He was a collector of watches, watches and clocks, the 
most famous collection in those times of watches and clocks 
old watches which looked like eggs, and another clock 
which was even eerie. When you went in, he had it hanging 
in a rather dark room. And on the pendulum, there was 
one eye; it was going from one side to the other. It was 
very eerie, because you always felt the eye is watching 
you or following you. It was beautiful. He liked always 
to bring me in this room because I found this so exciting, 
[laughter] It was called "The Eye of God," this clock. 
That's the name; it was a famous name.) So during the 
revolution he invited us and said, "You know, I was very 
much afraid that they would ravage my house and plunder it 
and maybe even destroy things. And they came also to my 
house because they went to all those villas of rich people. 
But they just asked for money and if they could get some- 
thing to eat. Then they left. I gave them some wine," he 
said, "and then they left." He was so astonished that he 
wasn't killed and not everything was destroyed. 
WESCHLER: What was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Von Bassermann- Jordan . He was a nobleman. 
And Bassermann was the famous actor. 


WESCHLER: I see. Well, you still have to tell the story 
about the pass. 

FEUCHTWANGER: And the other story. Did I tell the other 
story of Rilke? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Muhsam was a kind of chief of police, during 
the Rate regie rung . He was a very good friend of Rainer 
Maria Rilke and a great admirer of him, and he was also.... 
Even when they always preached not to plunder, there 
could happen something: soldiers could drink or so. So he 
sent one of his soldiers to the apartment where Rainer Maria 
Rilke lived, and put a sign on his door, where it says, 
"It's not allowed to plunder in the house of Rainer Maria 
Rilke." And nobody plundered. You know, that's the way 
they made revolution in Munich. 
WESCHLER: This was a revolution with class. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: You still have to tell us the story of the pass. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, that was also during the Rateregierung . 
There was curfew, and nobody was allowed to be on the street 
after eight o' clock--also to avoid murder or whatever, you 
know, rape. But we were invited by a man who was a black 
marketeer. We were always so hungry we would have even ac- 
cepted an invitation from the Mafia. So we went there with 
a little bit of a bad conscience, because he made his money 


first in the war, as a war profiteer, and then he was a 

revolution profiteer. Still, we went there. And this night 

he also invited us again, and we couldn't go out. So 

my husband went to the Wittelsbach Palais, the same house 

where Frank before was, and asked for a pass. Then he got 

a written document, a little piece of paper where it said, 

"Possessor of this has the right for free intercourse, 

signed, the Cheese Distribution." 

WESCHLER: A very handy thing to have. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, we were very glad, and it helped. We 

were stopped. We had a taxi to go to this man, and we were 

stopped. And then my husband showed the soldier this pass, 

and then it was just right. 

WESCHLER: What was the German word for "free intercourse"? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was "das Recht auf freien Verkehr," 

[which] also means free movement; but it also meant the same 

thing, you know. [laughter] But it wasn't meant like that: 

it just came out. They didn't know better German. They 

were simple people. 

WESCHLER: Well, what do you expect? They were just the 

Cheese Department. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, that was signed "the Cheese Department." 

And those were workmen or so who gave those out. 

WESCHLER: Well, let's leave that revolution and come back 

to Berlin. One thing you told me off the tape, but which 


I'd like you to tell for the tape, is the story of the 
actual building of your house. You told me that was very 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was very difficult because it was a time 
of unemployment. That's why there were so very few workmen 
there, because it was not allowed to make overtime, so that 
there would be the work more distributed. But usually it 
was used by the contractors to make only buildings with 
which they made a lot of money, very big things. Because 
there was no overtime, they didn't want to take more 
workmen because they had to pay for the insurance. They 
had to pay for every workman. So they saved money if they 
had few workmen. 

WESCHLER: You mean an unemployment insurance that they had 
to pay for their workmen? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was health insurance, ja, ja. This 
meant they didn't make so much profit when they had too 
many workmen, so the few workmen had to go to work. And 
since it wasn't allowed to make overtime, nothing was 
finished. And in this time there was a little theater built 
in the most important street, the Kurfursten Damm, a new 
theater for Reinhardt, Die Komodie, the Comedy. This was 
a lot of money, of course, to build a theater, and all that 
went together to bring it off. So the same contractor who 
built my house also built this theater, and when the house 


was almost finished, he had always less workmen. And they 
could just do what they wanted, you know. You had no rights, 
You couldn't go to court for that because they were in 
their law; they had the right not to have more workmen 
and had the right not to make overtime. So he sent his 
workmen always about, let's say, five o'clock to my house, 
and they left at six o'clock. And then he charged me for 
the whole day, because I had to sign the day, you know, the 
date. They were only one hour out there, and I had to pay 
for the whole day. We had also a suit afterwards. And 
we won the suit, because we could prove--we had so many 
witnesses--that they came only in the afternoon for one 
hour. But nothing was finished. My husband went abroad 
not to be disturbed too much by the noise and the workmen 
and the painting. You couldn't also move around in the 
house, because you would get paint on you. He wanted to 
come back and continue his work--it was about the time of 
Josephus , just when he had finished Success --but it just 
was impossible to work for him. 

WESCHLER: You told me that one of your friends was par- 
ticularly good at dealing with them. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, my friend who I met when I broke my 

WESCHLER: What was her name again? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Maria Angelica Kuntz. And she came to see 


me. She was my only really savior, because I couldn't shout 
with those workmen as she did. Anyway I was also afraid 
because there were already many Nazis around. You never 
knew if one was not a follower of the Nazis and they would 
have burned the whole house or something like that. Every- 
body was afraid, before the Nazis came to power already. 
They killed all the Communists they could get; there were 
no Communists on the street in the evening. They were all 
murdered by the Nazis long before the Nazis took over. 
When we came from our apartment to supervise the building, 
they were always lying under the pine trees and sleeping. 
Either they came at five o'clock, or they were sleeping. 
They did just what they wanted. And I didn't dare to 
challenge them. So she came and, like a sergeant, she went 
up and down the room with her hands in her pocket in her 
suit. She shouted with them really like a sergeant. And 
they just obeyed her. That was very f amiliar--that was 
like the Nazis, you know, this shouting--and they felt 
really that it was their part to play, that they do what 
the one who shouts tells them. 

WESCHLER: So they responded to this woman sergeant. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, absolutely, ja. 

WESCHLER: You also told me that after that, as a result of 
all your work, you went to Yugoslavia for a trip? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I was so overtired because I worked the 


whole night through; I helped also with painting and all 
that so it would only go faster. And then came the 
gardener. The garden was only forest before. We had to 
make a garden out of the forest. We had even, what was 
very sad, to cut some pine trees, but there wouldn't have 
been any garden otherwise. But every pine tree which had 
to be cut was a wound in my heart. But with the garden 
making and so, I just was so overtired I couldn't sleep 
anymore. My nerves were worn out. So I decided to go and 
have a little rest outside of Berlin, and I went to Yugo- 
slavia because that's the only time that there was still 
some sunshine and I could swim in the ocean. It was the 
end of October, I think, yes. Everywhere it was bad 
weather, and there it's usually a very beautiful fall, and 
it was very cheap. With third-class you could go there, 
even sleeping on the third-class berths. And when I was 
there .... 

WESCHLER: You went by yourself? 

FEUCHTWANGER : I was all by myself. Really sleeping, and I 
lived in a private house so I could cook myself my meals 
in the kitchen. And this private house was the most beauti- 
ful thing. I wanted to go first in the hotel where we were 
before, my husband and I, but this hotel was shut down. It 
was no business anymore. 
WESCHLER: What town was this? 


FEUCHTWANGER: That was Ragusa first, and now it's Dubrovnik. 
I cooked there my meals. The house was even much more beauti- 
ful than the hotel, lying on a cliff directly down into 
the ocean with a big, flat rock where you could lie in the 
sun. There was no sand beach: it was just rocks, but flat 
rocks so you could sun. From there I was always swimming 
to the other side of the island of--I don't remember now the 
name but it will come [Lacroma] . Anyway I was swimming and 
running around and making mountain climbing--hill climbing, 
you would say--and I really felt that I got my strength back. 

Then, when I wanted to go back, on the same day something 
happened which never happened before: the Bank of England 
had a failure, and they devalued the shilling in a most 
resolute way. All the English people who were there--they 
also came in the fall because they knew it's warmer than 
in England-- j ust from one day to the other they had no money 
anymore, because nobody wanted to take their English money. 
Nobody had changed the money before they left; they always 
changed the shilling--it was much more profitable to change 
in the country. Yugoslavia was very cheap; it was a very 
primitive country then. So they couldn't pay their hotels; 
they couldn't buy anything to eat, not even their ticket 
back. I saw them when I was at the bank also to change 
money to get my ticket. I saw them there, and I was ad- 
miring how they behaved. You know, like there was nothing 


changed: they were as polite as before; they didn't show 

any disconsolation or fright or whatever it was--just absolutely 

astounding how they behaved. Finally probably the English 

counsel helped them come out, but the first day it was such 

a disaster. And the Bank of England was considered like the 

Rock of Gibraltar. It was a proverb to say, "This is secure 

as the Bank of England." 

WESCHLER: You were in Yugoslavia and that was fairly near 

Italy: did you have any contacts with Italians? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, when I went back, there was an Italian 

lieutenant from the army with me in the same compartment, 

and we spoke about the political events in those days. He 

said, "We have Fascism, and I can tell you it is something 

terrible. I am still in the army; I have no other means 

to live. And we are always afraid." Then he said, "You 

know, two people who are together are anti-Fascist, but 

three are Fascist because no one knows if the other wouldn't 

be a denouncer." And then he said, "The worse thing is that 

we cannot go out of the country. When you go out of the 

country, everything will be impounded, your fortune and 

everything, or co-^ f iscated. You cannot come back anymore, 

because it's too dangerous, when you were out once, what 

would happen to you." 

And this probably saved my life, because when I was out 
of the country — when Hitler came to power, I was skiing in 


Austria, in Tyrol--I wanted to go back at first, to save as 
much as I could. But then I read very soon that my husband 
was known in America to speak against Hitler--it was in all 
the newspapers--and that he was condemned to death. So 
if I had come back to Germany, they probably would have made 
me prisoner as a kind of hostage to get my husband, who 
would surely have come and tried to get me out. So I didn't 
go back to Germany. I heard also that it was the only thing 
to do, because all the people would have immediately been 
taken prisoner. 

Then happened something else. I was not living in a 
hotel, because every day in the morning already I was up 
in the mountains and I was only in my room to sleep, and why 
should I pay a grand hotel's big prices? Also the food was 
not so much for my taste because I was more or less a 
vegetarian. So I lived in a very nice building, in a little 
house, and the man [who owned it] turned out later was 
the only Nazi in the whole village. Leni Riefenstahl lived 
also in this house. She was there to make a snow movie. 
I am also one of the spectators; I have been taken as a 
spectator in this snow movie. 
WESCHLER: As an extra, you mean? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, no, I was just there standing and they 
took me. Because I knew all the people who made this movie. 
WESCHLER: Did you, by the way, meet Leni Riefenstahl? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, of course, but she began right away 
to be so enthusiastic about Hitler that you couldn't speak 
with her. That was before Hitler came. 

WESCHLER: Could you talk about that a little bit, because 
that's a controversy now about her. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. Her eyes turned always to heaven 
when she spoke about Hitler; she was just hysterical about 
Hitler. And also she was at the same.... I always took 
lessons: we had a kind of class for skiing, and I was mostly 
in the second class. They always sent me to the first class, 
but there were only men in it, and that was too much for 
me. I couldn't always follow them, you know. So I liked to 
be the best one in the second class rather than the last one 
in the first. And Hannes Schneider always said, "You are 
good enough; you have to go with me in the first class." 
And all those young students and so, I just--if there had 
been other girls, that would be something else, but I was 
the only girl. They were very nice with me, but I didn't 
like that, that the others had to wait until I come down 
slowly or something. So I was in the second class, and I 
was a good skier there, and the teacher very much liked 
me. He was a peasant, you know, a very witty man, a man 
down to earth. And there was also Leni Riefenstahl with me. 
She made this movie, so she had always to make some kind 
of practice skiing. But she was terrible cowardly. She just 


couldn't follow us, although for many years she was skiing and 
I was more or less a novice. So when we made a descent, a 
rather steep hill or something, then the teacher [Herr 
Spiess] always told me, "Ach, we go ahead. You take care 
of Leni. She cannot follow us, so you wait for her." You 
could not let anybody alone on a hill or on a mountain. 
So I always had to wait until she slowly came down, very 
carefully. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Did she know you were Jewish? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know. Nobody took me as a Jew, but 
nobody spoke about it. I just didn't know. 
WESCHLER: Was she anti-Semitic? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, she never spoke about it. She mostly 
had no time because her teeth chattered when she went, 
[laughter] But on the other hand she was great in making 
the movie. I knew the photographer who was one of the prize 
skiers there, a champion. He was the photographer of the 
movie, and he told me that what she can stand through, nobody, 
not even a man can do it. It was terrible cold; there were 
snowstorms and blizzards. She never complained, and she 
always was there. She always went through and never excused 
herself. Of course, when there were difficult things to 
ski, there was a man who did it for her in her clothes or 
something. But she really had the sense of duty to what 
she did. She had also great successes, but I never believed 


that she made the movies, because I knew the people who 
made the movies. Also they said that she made The Olympiad 
[ Olympische Spiele 1936 ] and all those things, but I don't be- 
lieve that, because I knew the people who made the movies. 
WESCHLER: You mean who photographed them or...? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, photographed them and the whole 
thing, you know, to make them and to write the movies. One 
was even a Jew who made The White Hell of Pitz Palu, for 
instance. That was a Jew, a Viennese Jew who made it. I 
knew him also. 

WESCHLER: Do you know his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Not now, but I think maybe it will come back 
some day. Gomperz, I think, Gomperz . It's a Jewish name. 
And another one was Bela Balasz, an Hungarian name. But 
I think I will find out the names. Anyway, and then Balasz 
made the movies with the name of Fank. I read his name 
not so long ago here in a movie periodical. Not Frank but 
Fank. Then the man who was I think also a kind of photog- 
rapher was [Hans] Schneeberger . He was a little man, but 
he was so fast you didn't see him when he came by, when he 
passed you. I always called him "the snow devil" and I 
said, "Didn't it smell some sulfur when he just came by?" 
[laughter] Because he was little and black and just fast 
like lightning. And those were the people who made the 
movies, but not she. 


WESCHLER: Was she well known as a moviemaker at that time? 

FEUCHTWANGER: She is credited as having made this Olympia 


WESCHLER: Right, I'm saying at the time that she was making 

this movie .... 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, she didn't do anything. On the contrary, 

Hannes Schneider sometimes complained about her, that it 

so difficult because she doesn't dare to do anything. He 

said, "She will be a ski champion in the movies, and she 

is such a coward." 

WESCHLER: Was she well known in Germany at that time for 

the movies that she was making? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Before? No, not at all. Only through the 

snow movies. And she had a beautiful face. But I found her 

head a little bit too big for her body. The body was a 

little weak. She should have been a head taller: then she 

would have been better. But a beautiful face, a very 

classical face. 

WESCHLER: Do you happen to remember the name of the movie 

that she was filming then? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The Wonder of the Ski , or something; Die 

Wunder des Schneeschuhs , I think it was, ja, ja. It was 

the first ski movie ever made. Hannes Schneider was the 

instigator, and he was behind the whole thing. He didn't 

write the movie, of course, but he was with the director. 


[Luis] Trenker was also always there. He's a very famous 
man; I still read about him. They didn't know that Trenker 
had an American wife, a young beautiful girl. She was very 
nice. We were skiing together very often. He wrote letters 
to Hitler full of admiration and things like that, I 
remember. Afterwards he was considered anti-Nazi. Maybe 
he was; maybe later he became anti-Nazi. I don't know. But 
in those times he was very much for Hitler. It was before 
Hitler came to power. 

WESCHLER: How was Leni Riefenstahl, outside of her admi- 
ration for Hitler, just as a person to be with? 
FEUCHTWANGER: She was considered very stupid. I couldn't 
say it, because I didn't speak much with her. I just had to 
take care of her. The teacher always called me Keppli, 
because Keppli is the name for a Basque beret, and I had such 
a cap. (In [Tyrol dialect] , Keppli is a little word for 
Kappe . ) So he said, "Oh, Keppli, you take care of Leni. 
She can never follow us, and I have to go ahead with the 
others." But we never spoke about it, because she was 
so scared. She just was careful not to fall or something. 
But when you ski--I always say a woman mustn't be afraid 
of falling. [laughter] I always say that. But it didn't 
help. But it was all what — I didn't speak very much with 
her. Hannes Schneider, who was a good friend of her 
(because he needed her and she needed him; she was the only 


actress who could ski also in those times) he only told 
me that. He was a peasant, an unschooled man, but he was 
very intelligent, almost a genius. He always said, "Oh. 
she's so stupid. And also boring." But that's all what 
I know about her. 

And then I wanted to tell you that this man who 
[owned the house].... That was just when Hitler came to 
power; I was skiing there, and I was living in his house. He 
was always beating his wife (that was the Nazi, the pride 
of the Nazis in this village) . His wife had money, and he 
bought the house with the money of his wife. He was a 
drunkard, and everybody had contempt for him in the village. 
They were all against him. They were very much--they were 
nationalist Austrian, you know--against the Germans. One 
evening he came home and brought a newspaper from the border, 
from Wiirttemberg, which was the border of Austria. He 
brought a newspaper home, and there it said, "We are waiting 
here on the border for Frau Lion Feuchtwanger . We know that 
she is skiing there. He maligned us in America, maligned 
the Nazis in America. She is living here, and we are just 
waiting for her. When she comes back to her house in Berlin, 
we will show her how to work, that she would learn to work." 
They \would put me, they say, in a working camp. "We will 
show her not to live anymore in grand hotels, and to learn 
to work." And then he said, "You see, they write about 


grand hotels, and you live here in my house. You sit here 
in my kitchen and cook your spinach, and they say you have 
to learn how to work and not to live anymore in grand hotels. 
So the Nazis are also liars." So he was the first convert, 

WESCHLER: Well, you're very lucky he was a convert. My 
God, he could have turned you in. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, he couldn't in Austria; he couldn't do 
anything. On the contrary, he warned me not to go back. If 
he hadn't brought this newspaper, maybe even with the warning 
of this anti-Fascist Italian, I would have gone back to save 
something. As many did. For instance, Erika Mann also went 
back, but she was not in danger because her father didn't 
say those things my husband said. For instance. Lion spoke 
about the book Me in Kampf , My Struggle ; he said there are (I 
don't remember) so many words in this book, and there are as 
many mistakes against German grammar in this book. 
WESCHLER: Mann said that? 

FEUCHTWANGER: [No, Lion.] That was also written in the 
newspaper. Of course, it came immediately to Germany: 
he ridiculed the Fiihrer, "The Leader." So that was the 
greatest danger. I didn't know that he said those things, 
of course; I only heard it later when my husband brought 
the newspaper from America. 
V7ESCHLER: Well, we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. 


and I want to get back to Berlin. Then we'll reach this 
point again. I had some questions still about your time 
in Berlin, and in particular about the library you were 
building up. We've talked about the fact that you did not 
have a large library in Munich. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, in Munich we had come from our wandering 
in the world, in Italy and in Africa, and my husband had to 
go to the army, and then we lost everything to the inflation. 
I had rather good money which I inherited, but this all 
went down the drain by the inflation. And also before, 
already in the war, everything was expensive. What we had and 
what my husband earned went for living and for the apart- 
ment. So we had not enough money to buy books in those 
days. Heinrich Mann always said, "The only book Lion 
Feuchtwanger possesses is one paperback. " He even said what 
was less, that it was one Reklambuch , a very little paper- 
back, very thin (it cost ten pfennigs, which is one cent 
of something) . [laughter] Mostly classics were printed 
there. For me, in those days, to be printed as a Reklambuch 
was the greatest proof of fame. Later on, when my husband's 
books were also published in Reklam , I was very proud, much 
prouder than for everything else; when he got so many 
honorary degrees or something, it didn't make me so proud 
as when he was published in Reklam , where only the classics 
had been printed before that. [laughter] 


But then my husband, of course, began already to get 
some books when we had this little apartment, but not many. 
WESCHLER: In Berlin. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, in Berlin. And also I was very fortunate: 
I found so many beautiful furniture in those slums where 
I had to climb down in the cellars. There were only spider 
webs and rats around, and usually a man who didn't look 
very, didn't make much--I had not much confidence in the 
virtue of those men. But anyway I was eager to find those, 
and really there was a treasure of furniture, of eighteenth- 
century, nineteenth-century furniture. Sometimes they 
were moldy or so, but that could be repaired. We had to 
go down, and sometimes one cellar was underneath another 
even in those old houses. And we had only candlelight there. 
Sometimes I bought things which I couldn't see very well 
because other things were before; but it was so cheap, so 
I tried. I was very lucky. Those were all great works of 
art, wonderful things. And I could leave--! paid for it; 
it was a kind of confidence. I paid for it and left the 
furniture there. Everywhere. Also then I found something 
in antique shops which were not very fashionable. I found 
the most beautiful things--for instance, six chairs of 
maple which later the museum wanted to buy. The owner called 
me and said, "You know, the museum wants to have the six...." 
WESCHLER: Which museum? 


FEUCHTWANGER: I don't remember. 
WESCHLER: In Berlin? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He only said, "The museum." It was probably 
the state museum or city museum. He said to me, "The museum 
wants to buy those chairs. Would you sell them?" I said, 
"Of course not. I am glad to have them." So they said, 
"Then would you allow that they make copies of them?" And 
I said, "I don't even charge for it." [laughter] They were 
really beautiful chairs. All that has been lost, of course. 
But I was so proud of it. And everywhere they allowed me, 
when I paid for it, to leave them there until we had the 
house finished. So I had not to take care of the furniture, 
where to put them, because in our apartment there would not 
have been room enough. Also I didn't have any moving van. 
And it was very cheap to move, because everybody sent his 
furniture to my house because I bought them; in buying a piece 
of furniture, you also have the right to [have them] bring 
the furniture to the house. So our moving was very cheap 
this way. 

WESCHLER: Well, was it at that house that Lion began to 
accumulate the library? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, yes, and immediately, I built those 
bookshelves. They were built into the ceiling, and also 
many were built-in cases where the manuscript could go. 
Everything was invisible; even the typewriter could be 


put in so you wouldn't see it. Also this took a lot of time, 
of course, and we had great difficulties with that, too. 
The carpenter who put them in--it was very good wood; it 
was all oak. wood--f inished it with some kind of oil. I 
didn't know about those things, what's right or what you 
do, but usually they use shellac because that seals the 
pores. But he took oil instead of shellac, maybe because 
shellac was too expensive and the price had first been fixed. 
So when the books came in, they became all oily. I was also 
again skiing. When something happened, I was always skiing. 
The secretary wanted him to sue the carpenter for damage 
so the books could be cleaned or whatever, and also for 
fixing the shelves right. I wouldn't have asked for damages, 
but I would have insisted that he fix it right with shellac. 
But the secretary really pressed Lion into suing him, and he 
lost the suit. He didn't really lose the suit, but [the 
carpenter] declared bankruptcy so there was nothing won. We 
would have won, but this was--and this man it turned out was 
a Nazi too. In those days, you didn't sue people, you know. 
I was very unhappy when I came home and there were all those 
suits around. 

Another suit was with the people who made the hidden 
lights in the ceiling, which was very new then. I saw it 
at the Bauhaus, at the exhibition, and I found it beautiful 
to have the indirect light, mostly for the study. Those 


people hadn't finished, and the workmen left. It was the 
same thing: the workmen just did what they wanted, and it 
wasn't finished. So when I was away — yes, it was the same 
time when I was skiing — my husband sued those too. They 
were very nice people, the firm, but they couldn't do any- 
thing with their workmen. They were afraid already of their 
workmen. My husband sued them because the secretary in- 
sisted, and then I had to fight through the whole thing. 
The judge was very much on my side despite the Nazi influence 
already, but my lawyer--! had a lawyer who was very incom- 
petent; the secretary found him for my husband. The judge 
said to the lawyer, "You be quiet. Mrs. Feuchtwanger can 
explain that much better." Really. And then he said, 
"You know, I am a great admirer of your husband's Success . " 
But nevertheless we couldn't win the suit because the man 
with whom I made the contract was the nephew of the owner 
and had not the right to sign the contract. I didn't know 
that, but he was a very nice man and very much afraid of 
his uncle, who was very tight. He wanted to be on my side — 
he wanted to help — so he signed the contract. He didn't 
want to ask his uncle, who maybe would have found something 
too cheap, or I don't know. So the uncle had the right, and 
we lost this suit because it was said that it was a work of 
God, or an act of God, because there was no workman to help 
who could finish it. So it led to nothing, all this suiting. 


I always find it's much better to make compromises: even 
if you lose a little bit, you win on the other side. And 
people are much more willing to do something. The man to 
whom I lost, he came to my husband and apologized and said, 
"I just was so afraid of my uncle and it's true, I am the 
guilty man. I signed. I shouldn't have done it because 
I should have asked my uncle first." 


AUGUST 1, 1975 

WESCHLER: We're in Lion Feuchtwanger ' s Berlin library, and 
we just wanted to get some sense of it. Now, that library 
would not survive the Nazis--it was sold away after Lion was 
hounded out of the country — but what was that library like? 
What was in it? 

FEUCHT^VANGER: Well, it was more or less a contemporary 
library. There were all the classics, of course, the German 
classics, but not so many international, not other languages 
like in this library where all the languages of the other 
countries [are represented] --more or less German literature, 
old German and modern German literature. Very few in foreign 

WESCHLER: Were there any volumes that were as important as 
some of the volumes that are in this house? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of course, he had some antique things 
he had accumulated, and later on, when he became known as a 
collector, also in France, then the big firms, the big 
houses of antique books, they sent their catalogs. And 
catalogs are very expensive--usually already then in 
those times they cost twenty-five dollars because they had 
woodcuts, steel etchings, and all that already, so people 
would know what they are buying — but my husband very rarely 


had to pay for them because he was such a good customer. 
Later on, when he began to collect here, he got some books, 
mostly classics which were first editions, German classics, 
and he said, "I have the feeling I have possessed this al- 
ready before. That was from my library in Berlin." But since 
he had no plate in it — now there is everywhere a bookplate, 
"ex libris" — so he could not prove it. But he had the 
feeling those books were rare and not many other people had 
collected them. So he bought back his own library in part. 
WESCHLER: Do you remember any particular volumes that were 
important in his Berlin library? 

FEUCHTWANGER: They were all important. First of all, the 
modern German authors gave all books with their dedications, 
you know, and these cannot be replaced, even if the books 
can be replaced. As I say, they were mostly classics, also 
Latin and Greek; those were mostly the antique books, 
Latin and Greek. 

WESCHLER: Here you have a Nuremberg chronicle . Did you 
have one there? 

FEUCHTWANGER: This has been only acquired here, the 
Nuremberg chronicle. 

WESCHLER: You didn't have anything like that in that library? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, but the classics were very valuable 
because they were mostly first edition classics. We have 
also some here which maybe were in our library in Berlin; 
we don't know. 


WESCHLER: How did it come about that Lion began collecting 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he always liked books, of course, and his 
father had a very beautiful library (he had also a famous 
Hebrew library) . But Lion never had the opportunity to 
have a real library until we were in Berlin and had a house. 
In the apartments, you couldn't have so many books. 
WESCHLER: Okay. I wanted to talk a little bit now about 
some of Lion's own writings of this period, and, of course, 
the major work is Success . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , but I wanted also to speak a little bit 
about my role in his books, not only that I worked with him, 
but that he always wanted to depict me, he always wanted to 
write a novel about me. He always tried, but he said he 
couldn't do it, that I am too near to him. He cares too much. 
There is too much emotion. He could not see me in an ob- 
jective way. So he always gave up. For instance, when he 
wrote Success , and I came back. . . . That was a year before I 
read those proofs, because he wrote three years on Success . 
WESCHLER: From 1927 to 1930. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. So I came back from skiing, I 
think in '27 or '28, and he read to me what he has written 
in the meantime. He gave me one manuscript and said, "This 
I have written in your honor." And that was about skiing, 
about the heroine of the book when she was skiing. He 


read it to me, and I was much flattered of course when he 
said he wrote it only for me. But I told him, "It's no 
good." It was not good: you know, you cannot write about 
skiing. It always becomes camp. Or sentimental. About 
nature and the white mountains and the pleasure of speed and 
things: everybody can write that, you know. And it didn't 
fit into the novel; it was too plain. I told him that. My 
heart broke, but I could persuade him, and he took it out. 
So it never has been printed. And I don't even know if it 
still exists, the manuscript. 

WESCHLER: Do you recognize yourself in any other characters 
in any of his other novels? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he used myself almost in every character, 
in every woman character, but always only a part of me. He 
always said I am too complicated to make one person out of 
me, so he divided me in different persons. For instance, 
in one book [in the Josephus Trilogy] Berenice, the queen 
of Judea: he writes about her beautiful walk, and he said 
it was my walk which inspired him. That was even more 
complicated later because I had this terrible car accident 
which I will describe later (that was in '33, and he wrote 
the Josephus much earlier) . And when I had this accident, 
then he.... He had written about the Queen Berenice of 
whom the Emperor Titus was smitten and felt himself so 
inferior. He, the emperor, when he was with her, she was 


so much more cultured and civilized and refined that he felt 
like a parvenu, a nouveau riche or so. Then she had an 
accident. Titus always admired her when she came down the 
stairs in her regalia, but she had an accident and broke 
her leg and began to limp some. Then when I had this terrible 
accident, at first the doctors said that probably the leg 
had to be amputated below the knee, or if it could be saved 
that I would retain a limp. So Lion always said it was 
because he thought about me when he wrote about the Queen 
Berenice. He was not superstitious, but he made himself a 
big remorse that he wrote that. Finally I didn't limp, and 
also I didn't lose the leg. [laughter] But he said that 
during my whole sickness and when I was so much in danger, he 
couldn't forget that he depicted me as Berenice. And then 
sometimes there is another woman [Dorion] in Flavius 
Josephus : [with her] he only used my exterior but not my-- 
what shall I say? — my mind, or my personality. Only she looks 
like me. And then several other times he took part of me. 
Also in Josephus there are two wives. One is Mara, who is 
the first woman whom he divorces to become the aristocrat 
and accepted. He could not keep her because she was first 
taken from the Emperor Vespasian as loot. He married her, 
and this could not be done, that a girl who has been had 
by the emperor would be his wife. (Later he goes back to her 
at the end.) But she writes him always that he should take 


care of his health and also eat always some salad. And that 

was of course [laughter] also me. Also the way as he saw 

her was very much inspired by me. But of course she was a 

girl of the people. So everywhere he took some traits of me 

and used them in other women. 

WESCHLER: Well, getting back first of all to Success , the 

novel Success , what success did the novel Success have when 

it came out? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was a great success, but it also was terribly 

attacked. It was a controversial novel. Mostly it was 

attacked, of course, in Munich, and not only by the people 

in Munich but also by his best friends and by his brother 

who spoke against him. One of his brothers made a lecture 

against him. 

WESCHLER: Which brother? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ludwig. He spoke against him, and the funny 

thing was that when he came back to Munich for a visit, he 

invited us for dinner--we heard that later, we didn't know 

it then--and his second wife (he was divorced from his 

first wife) told us that she liked so much the novel 

Success . Her husband spoke against it, but she didn't want 

that it seems. . . . 

WESCHLER: On what grounds did he speak against it? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, they said he is ungrateful to the city 

which did so much for us and things like that. We too 


liked to live there. It was Bruno Frank who had the great 
fight with my husband about his attitude against Munich. 
He also spoke about ingratitude. And it was so funny 
because I heard about it already before it was printed — 
somebody, you know, of the grapevine. I heard that he 
spoke in Munich [against] the novel [although he said] 
that he was always a great friend of my husband and also 
admired his other novels. But I don't believe always those 
gossips, you know, I have to have proof. I didn't want to 
believe [this about] Frank, so I told Lion the best way 
to find out is we ask [Gustav] Kiepenhauer, who was the 
publisher, to ask Frank to write an introduction. And Frank 
wrote back that he is very busy at the moment and couldn't 
find the time and also, "What's the use of it? Feuchtwanger 
is known in the whole world, already famous in England and 
America. Who would know about me?" So he declined to 
write. So we knew that it was true. But it was really — 
it was not because he was personally against Lion; he just 
didn't want that somebody writes against Munich. 
WESCHLER: It wasn't so much against Munich as against the 
Nazis, though, was it? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of course. But the Nazis were there, 
and they closed their eyes. They didn't want to see it. 
They didn't want that somebody opened their eyes. 
WESCHLER: It's curious. When we were talking about the 


Hitler putsch, you said that Lion had almost taken it-- 
hadn't taken it very seriously, had not thought it was 
terribly important. He slept through the night and so forth. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, because he always found Hitler so 
ridiculous. He didn't believe in the danger. I must say 
that was a fault in his foresight. Because in many things 
he was so right: what he wrote in the novel, it was-- 
everything came, happened even worse. And also in [ Die 
Geschwister ] Oppermann , for instance — that was in '33 
and it came worse af terwards--but he had already the view 
of it. But at first he took Hitler not seriously. He 
thought also that when you ridicule somebody, like Aristo- 
phanes did in Greece, that would help the movement against 
him. But it didn't help at all: in Germany, the ridiculous 
is not. . . . 

WESCHLER: People went for someone if he was ridiculed in 


WESCHLER: The tone however in which Hitler is treated in 
Success is not so much one of ridicule; it's more serious. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , but nobody knew, of course. My husband 
saw those ridiculous situations when Hitler threw himself 
to the ground after bragging so terribly, mostly after 
speaking about the cowardness of the Jews, how he himself 
threw himself down--what was the only sensible thing to do — 


it just was that the situation was so comical. So he just 
didn't take him seriously. 

WESCHLER: But in the novel Success , Hitler is taken more 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, more, but still not enough. There 
were many people who were against the Nazis who found that 
it was not enough against the Nazis, you know. But he 
just wrote how he felt. I think it's anti-Nazi enough. He 
thought when you overdo it, it would be--sometimes it would. 
WESCHLER: counterproductive. 

WESCHLER: Do you have any other stories about Success ? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, but I have another story which has 
something to do with this anti-Semitism of Jewish coward- 
ness. There was a comic like Valentin--not as great as 
Valentin; he was more down to earth, less sophisticated. 
He was very popular, much more popular than Valentin. 
WESCHLER: Who was this? What was his name? 
FEUCHTWANGER: His name was Weiss-Ferdl; that means 
Ferdinand Weiss. But Ferdl is a shortcut for... and when 
somebody looked with love, then they sometimes put the 
short name after his familial name. So Weiss-Ferdl, 
they called him. He called himself like that. He was very 
popular with the lower people of Munich. And he knew 
Hitler also personally. He was once present when — Hitler 


came very often to the beer locale, the big pub where 
he was playing. Hitler was a great admirer of him and of 
his wit or humor. But he was from the beginning against 
Hitler. He had a feeling that there is something very 
bad coming. He wrote a book [ Erzaehlt ] . (I cannot get 
the book anymore. I tried my best to get it; every money 
I would have paid. But I can [show you a copy].) Anyway, 
he was very frightened when they told him that Hitler comes 
always to hear him. But he couldn't do anything about it. 
And when Hitler was already in power; it was very short 
after he came to power. Weiss-Ferdl was invited by Hitler 
to his fortress in the Alps. Hitler spoke with him and 
spoke about the cowardness, cowardly behavior of the Jews 
in the war. And then Weiss-Ferdl said to him, "I think you 
are mistaken, Mr. Hitler. I can prove the contrary. For 
instance, the brother of the famous writer Lion Feuchtwanger , 
who wrote Jud Siiss , was with me in my regiment. He was 
lying beside me in the trenches, and he was the most coura- 
geous of all of us. He was even so daring that he took 
a whole trench from the French and brought all the French 
soldiers back. He had a bet with his officer, his superior. 
This superior said the trenches were empty — they didn't 
hear anything — and he said, 'I bet that there are still 
soldiers there; they are still there, the French.' So 
he went there with some hand grenades and hid himself in a 


big crater. He hid himself and threw from this hiding 
place the hand grenades and shouted in different voices, 
high and low, and so those French people thought there is 
a whole lot, a company there. From all sides came those 
hand grenades, and they went out with their hands up and 
said, 'We surrender! ' That was a whole trench. He said, 
'You go back and take your guns, and then I take you with me 
as prisoners.' So he came with all the prisoners behind him 
with their guns." And that was what Weiss-Ferdl has seen 
because he was with him. 

WESCHLER: And what did Hitler have to say about that? 
FEUCHTWANGER: And Hitler said, "Oh, there could be an 
exception." But he was very embarrassed and very hateful; 
he looked very hateful at him, but he didn't do him anything 
because he, Weiss-Ferdl, was too popular. I have the proof 
of that because [Trude Feuchtwanger] , the widow of this 
brother, this younger brother, she lived in South America. 
Then with our help she came to Miami, and she lives there. 
She's old now. She lives in a senior citizen house or 
something. And she sent me a copy of this book, you know, 
this page, one of the book of Weiss-Ferdl where he 
writes that. She said, "I have it here, and it doesn't 
do any good to me. Maybe you could do anything with it." 
So I sent it also to the biographer, I don't know if he 
uses it in his biography, but anyway we can use it here. But 


this is, of course, in German; we have to translate it 

WESCHLER: Do you have any other memories about Success ? 
FEUCHTWANGER: That has nothing to do with Success , in 
a way, but still it's about the time when it has been written. 
No, I only know that also the publisher was very unhappy 
about mixed critics which came: either they were very 
enthusiastic, where they say this book is due a long time; 
but others say this book is not serious enough, that the 
danger is too great and shouldn't be taken too light, and 
that it is too optimistic; and others were that he was so 
much against Bavaria. So it was a controversy. It was 
not a big financial success. It was a good success, you 
know, but nothing sensational. The publisher [Kiepenhauer] 
was very unhappy. He had had the first printing of The 
Ugly Duchess after it was in this book club. This Ugly 
Duchess came after Jud Suss --it was the second edition-- 
and it was an enormous success, because Jud Suss was in 
between. So he gave my husband a great advance, because he 
wanted him as his author. My husband could have had any 
publisher he wanted, so he gave a great advance to my 
husband, but he never could get this advance back for a 
long time. He always came to my husband complaining that 
he made such a bad deal with him with Success . So I was 
bold maybe: I told my husband, "Why do you take that from 


him? He was glad to have The Ugly Duchess . He made much 
money from that. It's not your fault that Success is not 
more successful financially." So I said, "I think you have 
to look for another publisher who is not always in your 
ears, that you have to hear his complaints." I think it 
was not the right thing from the publisher to do it. 
The author is not responsible; he was not forced to take 
it, you know. 

So my husband went and spoke with [Emil] Hertz, who 
was the director of the big Ullstein monopoly (it was an 
empire, a newspaper empire). Mr. Hertz was not only the 
director of the publishing house of the Ullsteins, but also 
he was a kind of social director; he made big social events 
in his house for the publishing house. And there was 
Vicki Baum and Remarque, and all the people who had some 
name were always in his house for wonderful dinners. We 
never heard about such dinners before--game , wild game and 
things like that, which were excellently prepared. And 
then he said to my husband, "Why don't you come to us? We 
want you as our author." And my husband said, "Yes, I 
have this book at Kiepenhauer ' s . " "But you have no con- 
tract for other books. You come now. We want you as our 
author." It was Remarque who was the first author. And 
so that's what I told you, I think. I have here the map from 
Berlin. He lived very near to our house; all the Ullsteins 


lived around there. One day he came in the morning. My 
husband was still asleep. He came from his house, through 
the forest, into our garden, from there to the terrace 
of my husband's bedroom. It was much shorter than to go 
around the whole streets, because we lived on another 
street and here he could make a shortcut through the woods. 
He came to my husband, who was still asleep, and said, "I 
wanted to speak with you. I want to make a contract with 
you now about Flavius Josephus . " So the contract was made 
in the early morning without any lawyer or anything, nothing 
written. They both trusted each other and it was a wonder- 
ful relationship. And even then, when he was here--he 
lived in Rochester, I think, near New York--we never saw 
him anymore, but we were always corresponding. And now 
I even correspond with his daughter still. The daughter 
wrote me, said I wouldn't know her but that she knew me, 
because when her father gave this big party, she was a 
little girl, and she was upstairs and was looking always 
who's coming. She saw me and described my dress which I 
had. She said I had made such an impression, a dress which 
was wrapped around, very tightly around my body, and she 
found that so beautiful, with a train. [laughter] She 
wrote me those things. 

WESCHLER: Well, maybe we should talk a little bit about 
Flavius Josephus and how that came about. 


FEUCHTWANGER: The first idea came to Lion when we were 
hiking through Italy in 1912 and we went to the Forum 
and through the Arch of Titus, which was built after Titus 
has destroyed Jerusalem. And there inside of the arch is 
a relief which shows the triumphal procession: the 
people--they are probably Jews--have to carry on long staffs 
the beautiful things of the temple, everything what is needed 
in a temple, the menorah and all that, the Torah. All 
this is on this relief, and also they are in chains. And 
this made such an impression on Lion that it always followed 
him. This was the nucleus of his writing the novel about 
Flavius Josephus. 

WESCHLER: Did he continue to talk about that idea through 
the years? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he always talked about that. He always 
felt he is not yet right; he himself didn't feel himself 
right to write that. First of all, in the beginning, when 
he was a playwright, he never took it too seriously, his 
writing. He was always interrupting so long, we made long 
trips and so. When we had money, he left writing and wanted 
to see the world, which also was not a bad idea. But 
when he began with the novels — although The Ugly Duchess, 
he had not taken too seriously this novel; it was more kind 
of interest in this woman who is ugly and who makes some- 
thing out of ugliness — but Jud Siiss (which he wrote before) 


that novel was very near to him, and he felt for the first 

time that he was a novelist and he couldn't do anything 

else but write novels. And then the third novel was Success , 

which was absolutely new to him and also absolutely new 

for Germany, because nobody before had written a political 

novel. [Even] during his writing, he knew that it would 

be very controversial, but he did what he found he has 

to do. He never made compromises, mostly not for Success . 

That's why Success is in--what do you call it? 

WESCHLER: In quotation marks? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, a kind of quotation mark: success is 

something relative. That is meant with the title. 

And then there is another story. My husband dropped 
[the other section], you know; he only speaks about Anna, 
that she goes skiing. But the whole chapter or paragraph 
has been dropped, you know. But then he wrote part of it — 
you read the novel? 

WESCHLER: No, I haven't read Success . I've looked at it. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , Because there is a part in Biarritz, 
part of the plot. Biarritz is very far away from Bavaria, 
and I found when he told me that he wants to write about 
Biarritz, where we were, also about his impressions and so, 
I said I think it is cutting into the mood of the book 
and also the unity of the Bavarian interior. The geo- 
graphical [unity] is broken, and that is maybe even detrimental 


to it. But he said, "I try it. I will write it, and then you 
can tell me what you think." So he wrote it, and then he 
wrote one short story in this [chapter] , and this is about 
a bull in the bullring. This is such a great short story — 
I must look if I have it. It's a very short short story, 
but it's so wonderful and so great that I said, "For this 
short story, I even think you can break the mood and the 
architecture and the style and everything, because you 
cannot lose this short story." So it has been kept, and 
this short story has been printed many times separately from 
the novel. 

WESCHLER: I see. Getting back to Josephus , what kind of 
relation do you see in the task of writing that novel to 
what was going on at that time? Of course, the whole para- 
dox of Jewishness. . . . 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it has not so much to do with the actual 
happenings. It has to do much more with the history of the 
Jews, I would say, not with the happening of contemporary 
happening. Also it has to do with his attitude against 
nationalism in those days, because he was always called a 
cosmopolite. Josephus writes a psalm in this Josephus which 
is called the "Psalm of the Cosmopolite." This is also what 
Peter Korn wants to compose. 
WESCHLER: The composer, Peter Jona Korn? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. Lion has not been printed in Russia 


for a while because they were very much against cosmopolites 

when they were very nationalistic. The book has been printed 

in Russia, but afterwards there was a cooling period, and they 

didn't print for a long time the books. But finally when 

the cooling period was over, then they printed again all 

the books. There is not a single book which they did not 

print. And the most, the greatest success afterwards was 

The Jewess of Toledo , which is still an enormous success in 

Russia. When somebody comes from Russia to see me, they 

always tell me that The Jewess of Toledo is the most wanted 

book there. And also in Holland and in Czechoslovakia. 

WESCHLER: That's strange. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, the most popular book. 

WESCHLER: Was Josephus an easy book for him to write? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not at all. Success was difficult to 

write. But the first books were easy. For instance. The 

Ugly Duchess was very easy for him because it needed only 

a lot of research and not much from his mind or his feelings. 

Jud Siiss was not so difficult because it was so near to him. 

He was such a long time haunted by this, so it was already 

part of him. But Josephus was very difficult for him. 

WESCHLER: Why do you think that is? Why was it so difficult? 

In what way? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was SO new also for himself, to write about 

somebody like Josephus. You have to know the book to understand 


that. Because Josephus is a very twilight — what would you 
say? — a twilight person, ambiguous. And also Lion is not 
absolutely — he cannot be compared with Josephus, you know; 
he is two persons in this book. There is another person 
in his book; and part of him is the other person [Justus] , 
who is the conscience of Josephus, and part of him is also 
in Josephus himself. They fight with each other, you know-- 
they are two persons. It was very difficult because he could 
not and he did not want to identify himself too much with 
Josephus. Only some of his ideas, but not as a person. But 
you cannot help it: I think a real writer, as long as he 
writes about a certain person, he is the person, even if he 
is against this person. In Success , for instance, the min- 
ister of justice [Otto Klenk] is not a direct Nazi, but 
he is a very nationalistic person. But when Lion writes 
about him. . . . There is this story about the Panzerkreuzer 
Potemkin , you know, the ship. It has another name in Success 
[Orlow] , not to seem that it's the same, you know. 

But the man who made the movie was a friend of ours , 
the Russian film maker, [Sergei] Eisenstein. He came to 
see my husband in Berlin. Later, when I was in Russia, they 
brought me some sketches, because he wanted to make a movie 
out of another novel of my husband's. The False Nero [Der 
falsche Nero ] (or The Pretender , it was also called) . He 
had already made sketches, but then he died. And we didn't 


even know about that. The director of the archive of 
Eisenstein brought me the copies of those sketches. I have 
them here. 

WESCHLER: Well, let's stop here for a second and talk a 
little bit about Eisenstein. What was he like? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he was very gentle and nice and also very 
cosmopolitan, I felt. 

WESCHLER: How did you get to know him? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was in Mexico to make a film, and returning 
from Mexico he came to see my husband in Berlin. But only 
for a few hours. 

WESCHLER: On what grounds? Why did he come? Just to meet 
him or ... ? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he was an admirer of my husband. Also, 
as I told you, he had the intention to--since Jud Siiss has 
already been made as a movie in England, by the Gaiamont- 
British, so he wants another book. But he didn't tell any- 
thing because he had to know first if it's possible to make 
it, because you could not make in Russia every film you 
wanted. So he had first to have the support of the government. 
And it seems that the government gave him this support, be- 
cause he already made those sketches. 

WESCHLER: I should think that The False Nero would be a rather 
volatile theme during the Stalinist era. 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was all about Hitler. It is the story 


of Hitler, in a way, in antiquity, you know. When he wanted 
to tell something which he couldn't make in a modern novel, 
he masked his ideas in history. So he could speak out — 
because many things he couldn't say in those days in a modern 
novel. So that is the story of Hitler, and it is even said 
that Hitler committed suicide [because of it] . In those days 
I wasn't thinking about keeping those, but I read in a 
newspaper article that his servant, his personal servant, 
knew that [Joseph] Goebbels committed suicide because he was 
afraid it would happen the same way to him, in a modern way, 
which happens to Hitler and the two henchmen (Goebbels and 
[Hermann] Goring) in The False Nero . So he said that 
because, in The False Hero , after they have been defeated, 
they have been carried around in little carts, all three of 
them, very bedraggled, and they were shown through the whole 
country to the ridicule of the people, that that was what 
they feared the most (that they would be ridiculed by the 
people in Germany)^ so that's why they committed suicide. They 
knew that they have lost, that it is the end of it, and they 
didn't want the fate which the false Nero had had in the 
novel. That was his servant. How [else] would the servant 
know about The False Nero , because the book was not printed 
in Germany? He couldn't have read it or so. He must just 
have heard that they spoke about it like that. 
WESCHLER: Getting back to Eisenstein, did you have any sense 


of his relationship to the Soviet government? 
FEUCHTWANGER : He was only a few hours at our house, and 
he left again. So he didn't speak about the Russian govern- 
ment, he spoke about movies. About his trip in Mexico, and 
about his movie in Mexico, and about my husband's books. 
People usually didn't — when they were with my husband, 
they spoke about his work, not their work, you know. 
WESCHLER: Were Eisenstein's films popular in Germany? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, very much. It was a sensation, 
you know, this film Potemkin. I have seen it, too. I 
was a little shocked even because it was so cruel. The 
beginning is that a ship, this battleship--the sailors 
were in revolt because they got so bad food and. ... Do 
you know about this? You know the movie? 
WESCHLER: Right, I've seen the movie. 

FEUCHTWANGER: So you know it, ja, ja. And then they throw 
the doctor into the sea. I was a little upset about it 
because I said it's bad enough to get meat with worms in 
it, but it's a little much to kill him. [laughter] 
And then this — did you see also this children? 
WESCHLER: The terrible scene at the stairs. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , at the stairs. And my husband writes, 
describes it in a whole chapter, or paragraph, the whole 
movie. And this minister of justice, the Bavarian 
minister of justice with the name of Klenk goes into the 


movie because he hears so much about it. Then he is so 
taken that in the moment when he saw it, he even felt that 
the others are right, and when he goes home — and he was 
an adversary, of course, of the man [Martin] Kriiger 
who was in prison; it was all against his philosophy-- 
he meditates about what art can do to people, that they 
even felt for the others. And this is a great chapter. It 
also many times has been published alone in this Reklam 
edition, only as "The Panzerkreuzer" this only chapter. 
It's a great chapter, you know. My husband always wanted 
to show the adversaries of his heroes as human beings who 
are not only black and white, because they are other 
persons. That's what people sometimes also found--some of 
the critics found it is too objective against [the Right] . 
Some found it too little and some too much, you know. But 
he didn't care about it. He cared so little about it that 
when the book has been published, we left with the car — 
that's why I know when we went to Italy, because I know 
when the book came out--we left for Italy with the car, and 
we didn't even know what the critics wrote. He was not 
interested in critics at all. And that's what also has to 
do something with the title Success : even success with a 
book doesn't mean everything. It means only what he writes, 
and during his writing. He also wrote somewhere, when he 
wrote about himself, that of the best hours in his life. 


he says his work comes in third: first comes human re- 
lations, I think, and then comfortable life and work. 
Later on, work came before comfortable life. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: How was Josephus [ Per jiidische Krieg ] received 
when it was published? 

FEUCHTWANGER: That was already very much the time of the 
Nazis. But as much as I remember, it was very much in 
favor of the book. It was a great success. But it was 
too early to say about the financial success; I know only 
about how it was received by the press, and this was very, 
very great: they sensed the value of the book. But then 
pretty soon it was destroyed--it was burned. And the second 
part [ Die Sohne ] was destroyed by the Nazis: he had already 
written a great part of it in Germany, in our house, and 
it has been destroyed. 
^JESCHLER: The manuscript? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, he had to write it again in France. He 
said that in a way it was even lucky that it has been destroyed, 
because he added so many new things which he didn't think 
about before. Also maybe the outer events had to find him 
other ways. So in a way, he was not sorry — first, of course, 
it was a great shock, but then he was not sorry to have 
it written a second time. And the third part of it [Der 
Tag wird kommen ] was partly written when he was hidden, 
when he had escaped from the concentration camp, after he 


was kidnapped and we were hidden underneath the roof of 
the American consul [in Marseilles] . He finished that 
then, and that was fortunate that he was writing so he 
didn't feel the anxiousness of waiting, the unsecurity — 
not to know if he wouldn't be captured and fall into the 
hands of the Nazis. He was so imbued in his work that 
he didn't think about the outer world, his own fate. 
WESCHLER: What kind of research did he go through when he 
was doing Josephus? 

FEUCHTWANGER: All the research, of course, which is 
possible. But since he was an antique student and had 
even his doctorate in antique languages, it was for him 
not difficult to read Greek or Latin books, and he could 
make his research in the original languages — in Hebrew, 
Greek, and Latin. 

WESCHLER: Did he do it mostly at your house, or did he use 
the libraries? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He used the library, but he didn't always 
have the time to go because it's a long time, was a long 
way. So he had a kind of helper--it was half a secretary, 
half a social acquaintance of ours. This man was a rich 
young man and he didn't know what to do, so he then made 
research for my husband. That is, when my husband knew 
what he wanted from the literature, the secondary liter- 
ature, then he told him what he needed. Sometimes also I 


went to the library for him. 

WESCHLER: What was the name of this person? 
FEUCHTWANGER : [Werner] Kahn-Bieker; I think he was half- 
Jewish. His father had been decorated and fell during the 
First World War, so he thought he was in no danger. First 
they told him that. But finally he had also to leave the 
country, and he came to live for a short while also in 
Sanary — at my husband's expenses, of course. Then he went 
to Holland and was with the publisher. I think he's still 
there, if he's still alive. I never heard about him 
anymore. He was with my husband's publisher, who has been 
killed also by the Nazis. They found the books of my 
husband in his publishing house. 
WESCHLER: What was his name, the publisher? 
FEUCHTWANGER: He had a Spanish name. It must be here 
somewhere. [Emanuel] Querido. Ja, ja. And he has been 

WESCHLER: Oh, I didn't know Querido was killed. 
FEUCHTWANGER: There was another publishing house [Allert 
de Lange] , in Amsterdam, and [it's director, (?) Landauer] 
was also killed. He didn't leave in time. But Querido 
didn't think they would kill him. I don't even know if he 
was Jewish. They destroyed everything what was there; all 
the books of my husband which were printed during the Nazi 
time in German have all been destroyed. There were big 


editions, you know. All the German-speaking and -reading 

world bought from Holland my husband's books. Switzerland 

and Austria, and in the Scandinavian countries--although 

they printed all in their own language, Scandinavian 

languages, many liked to read it in the original language. 

So it was big business to publish my husband in Holland, 

but this all has been destroyed. 

WESCHLER: Okay, well, we're on the edge of this tape, too.. 

I think we'll stop for today. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , how do you feel? 

WESCHLER: I'm fine. 


WESCHLER: Yes, I'm okay. She's asking how I feel 

because I have a cold. When we start next time, we'll take 

a look at Lion's trip to America and then we'll also look 

at the coming of the Nazis in more detail. 



AUGUST 4, 1975 

WESCHLER: Apparently, over the weekend, Marta, you had 
a night of insomnia and a whole rush of memories from earlier 
periods, so before we get back to Berlin, we have a cata- 
log of earlier material to run through. First of all, you 
have a sheaf of notes about World War I. To begin with, 
you were telling me that Lion had a double hernia. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. He acquired it in the military because 
they had to throw themselves down on the icy ground with 
their rifles. His cousin [Dr. August Feuchtwanger ] was 
a military doctor and operated on him, and also treated 
him for his stomach illness. But when Lion asked him for 
a certificate that he could not serve longer in the army 
on account of his stomach, then he refused to give him 
that because he was afraid as a Jew to give another Jew 
such a certif icate--although the number of casualties was 
much higher--the percentage — in comparison to the other 

WESCHLER: The J-^-ws were a higher percentage of casualties. 
You were telling me about the thoughts of Lion's commanding 
officer when he saw what Lion looked like. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, when [he went to] the doctor of the 
army, the official doctor — he had to go to the doctor 


because he was again very sick with his stomach and had to 
go to the hospital — then the army doctor said, "It would 
be sorry for the German army if they need a soldier like 
you are. You cannot serve now. At least for the time 
being, you have to have a rest." So he was more humane 
than his own cousin. 

WESCHLER: You were also telling me some stories about your 
life during that period. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, my husband had always the idea that 
a woman or his wife should be only for luxury: she should 
look beautiful and take care of herself. I had to cook, 
of course, and I pretended to like it, but I didn't; I 
hated it, although my husband liked very much what I 
cooked. I would have preferred to study and to go to the 
library like he did. Then I had to stand in line for 
butter or meat or whatever there was just coming out 
(usually it was in the newspaper) , sometimes for hours in 
this cold Bavarian winter, and I froze my toes. That was 
not luxurious either. Then we had to--in those days there 
was no central heating; we had ovens where we had to heat 
with wood and one iron stove which was with coal. It was 
the law then only to heat one room, and of course we pre- 
ferred the iron stove because coal [stayed warm in it] 
longer. But we had never enough coals. It was always — 
also everything was on stamps, so I had to usually stop 


the coal trucks when they passed our street and asked 

the man if I couldn't have a sack of coals. This was 

always very difficult, because they were used to being 

overpaid when they sold without stamps. And they were 

very tough and ruthless — brutish, you could say — because 

they all came from the war, and also everybody was hungry. 

I didn't mind when they were brutish, but sometimes it 

was the contrary, and that was more dangerous because I 

had to go with them into the cellar. And then I had to 

carry the coals four stories up to our apartment. But 

I considered that a sport, [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Nevertheless you did get sick, apparently, at 

the end of the war. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, and finally with hunger and cold, I 

got a touch of tuberculosis. And the police doctor told 

me I had to go to the countryside; maybe I find more food, 

and also the air would be good to me. We heard that on 

the Czechoslovakian side of the Bohmerwald, the Bohemian 

forest (one side is Bavarian and the other is Czechoslovakian) , 

that they had more to eat. So we went there. I had to bake 

our bread before, because my husband got special stamps-- 

for sick people, special stamps of white flour--and I had 

to bake myself the bread. I could do it only at night, in the 

cold, because at daytime there was no gas to bake. Only 

at night there was the gas oven. So at night I had to bake. 


In our backpacks, we had both of us big breads which I 
mixed with oil (from my husband's family, from his 
manufacture) so it kept longer. We already had been told 
that you can't get any bread then nowhere, but sometimes 
you got eggs or so, more eggs. But there was fantastic 
cooking in Czechoslovakia. It was always famous for 
cooking. They made the best omelette I ever ate, with 
strawberries and raspberries. They made the snow with the 
beaten egg whites, and it was very light and big and 
fantastic; and then they baked it — I never saw that before, 
When it was finished, they baked it in the oven so it was 
crispy outside and soft inside. [laughter] That was 
Austrian cooking in those days, still in Czechoslovakia. 
But later on, we heard that it was rather dangerous to be 
there. We made wonderful tours in the virgin woods 
(there are still virgin forests there, I think, even now). 
But we heard that they still hated everybody who spoke 
German; some man who came from Munich also to make tours 
there didn't return anymore. 

WESCHLER: They hated them because they were a newly free 

FEUCHTWANGER : Yes, because they were always under the 
Austrian regime, and they hated the Austrian Empire, and 
wanted to be autonomous, and finally were autonomous. 
But they hated the Austrian population. It was not in the 


big cities, where people were more intellectual; but it was 
[worse] in the countryside where the population lost sons 
or brothers in the war and were very bitter against all the 
German-speaking people. And more primitive people are 
always a little more dangerous, at least in those days. 
WESCHLER: Nevertheless, the Pan-Slavic movement had its 
difficulties. . . . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , they had a big congress, a Pan-Slavic 
congress, and there came the Polish and the jugoslawisch 
and the tschechoslowakisch people. They wanted to speak 
about their common language now and their common origin, 
but they couldn't understand each other, so they had to 
speak German, which was tragicomic, I think. 
WESCHLER: Okay. Moving along a little bit further, we 
were also talking about the inflation, and you told me 
something which I don't believe we have on tape before. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , during the inflation, we finally had 
nothing anymore, and the money I had, what I got from my 
parents, was nothing worth anymore. Some people maybe 
had better counsels or so, but anyway that was all lost, 
all the money was lost, and also the money of my parents, 
the biggest part of it. What Lion earned, it was always 
nothing anymore when he got it finally, because as soon as 
you had it, the same morning, you had to buy things; 
sometimes it took a month until he got the money from the 


theater. He was one of the most played playwrights in those 
days in Germany, very popular as a playwright, but the money 
was not worth [anything] anymore. So finally he said, "We 
are really standing before nothing, and I think the best 
is that someday we take our lives together." Myself, I was 
also of the same opinion. But always when it was very down 
and out, then something came which helped us. For instance, 
one publisher [Georg Muller] wanted to publish some short 
stories which Lion had to write [An den Wassern Babylons ] , 
and he gave him a big advance. He and friends wrote a 
book about anti-Semitism which was more in an ironical way, 
[ Gesprache mit dem Ewigen Juden] and those things that they 
published, they used to always give advance payment. And 
this helped a lot, of course. So always at the last moment 
we were saved. He called that "Easter," because Strindberg 
wrote a play Easter [ Pask ] , and that is also.... There are 
two children in this play who are orphans and very badly 
off: the maid treated them badly and the landlord wanted 
to throw them out of their apartment. But all of a sudden 
there was Easter, and everything was changed-- the mood of 
the people--and the landlord came and said they could stay. 
It was a kind of fairy tale, a very beautiful play — maybe 
I don't remember so much--but anyway it was Easter and all 
was resolved in happiness. 
WESCHLER: And you were always on the verge of Easter yourself? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, we called that always Easter; then we both, 

my husband and I, we knew what that means. 

WESCHLER: Okay. One other person who just came to your 

mind about the Munich period was Klabund. You might talk 

about him. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, Klabund. His name was [Alfred] Henschke. 

"Klabund" was just a name he himself invented. There was 

a name, Klabautermann , which meant a kind of Hanswurst -- 

do you know what that is? — a comic person, a typical comic 

person of the literature and fairy tales and so [a boogeyman] . 

And Klabund derived it from this probably, from Klabautermann . 

You already hear it: Klabautermann - -that must be something 

comical. And he wrote wonderful poems and also the Krei - 

dekreis ( The Chalk Circle ) from which Brecht later took 

much out, from the idea and also from the plot, for his own 

Caucasian Chalk Circle . But Klabund ' s was an original 

Chinese play, I think. I don't know about the original, 

but his play has been considered original. 

WESCHLER: What was he like? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was thin and blond and very gay and nice 

and gentle, but very--you were always happy when he was 

around--and modest and always there, you know, but you felt 

him without that he made much of it of himself. But he died 

very early of tuberculosis. Somebody asked me once if he 

and Brecht met each other. Of course, they met each other 


all the time, because Brecht discovered Carola Neher, 

the famous actress who played also in The Threepenny Opera 

the very first time it had been played, and Klabund later 

married Carola Neher. So there was always a kind of relation 

between those two. They were very good--also they liked each 

other very much. 

WESCHLER: And this was all part of the Munich scene. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. Also Odon von Horvath, the one 

who is played now a lot — he was an Austrian-Hungarian poet 

who wrote songs of the Wiener Wald. Did you ever hear of 

his Wiener forest play? [ Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald] 

And then he was — he was not Jewish, but he also went into 

emigration, and he was not long in Paris when on the 

Champs-Elysees a tree fell on him and killed him. He 

was very young and everybody liked him. He is now very 

famous in Europe. 

WESCHLER: And he was also in Munich at that time. 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was also in Munich, ja. He studied there. 

And I was always with the young people together. 
We were always — I don't know, the young people felt attracted 
to me, or vice versa. I had always a lot of young 
people around me, and also young girls; and we went together 
to the masked balls and so, and I was always in the midst of 
them. They didn't think that I was so much older. 
WESCHLER: Well, you weren't. You weren't so much older. 


FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I was much older. In those days, I 
was married; they were all students--it ' s a great difference. 
WESCHLER: Okay, well, we're beginning to catch up with where 
we left off. One other point that you wanted to talk a 
little bit about was the kinds of books which were important 
to Lion. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, he didn't write books; he wrote plays. 
WESCHLER: No, I'm saying you wanted to talk about the kinds 
of books .... 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, about Georg Kaiser. He was a playwright 
who impressed Lion very much. Kaiser was in those days one 
of the most famous playwrights. He was also translated, I 
think, into French and so forth. This was the time of the 
expressionism, and he was one of the greatest expressionist 
writers, playwrights. He wrote a play From Morning to Midnight 
[ Von Morgens bis Mitternachts ] which was absolutely new in 
those days, and other plays which were in this same mood. And 
this Haerschelmann--you know, I told you about the painter 
von Haerschelmann--he made always the sets for him. One 
was with a tree, an empty tree with no leaves, in the middle 
of the [stage] , and the whole play you could feel already 
when the curtain opened, by this tree. Kaiser lived also 
in Munich and rather alone. But I told you about him: he 
was called also by Eisner. When Eisner was president, he 
asked my husband and Heinrich Mann and Brecht and Georg Kaiser 


for advice, how to make now the plans for the theater, the 
State Theatre. And then Kaiser said, "I think we should now 
begin and not always play those old classics--Schiller and 
Goethe and Shakespeare. We should find new plays." And 
then Eisner asked, "Whom do you propose?" And he said, 
"Me." [laughter] He lived rather comfortably, not poor — 
not as poor as we lived. He [lived in the] furnished apart- 
ment of people we later met in France in the emigration. 
They were Americans but lived always in Germany. He had 
an apartment, with very beautiful rugs, because this American 
painter was the son of an American brewer. 
WESCHLER: What was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Herrmann, the old brewer, a very old man; he 
looked like Washington a little bit, he had those white 
sideburns. I met him at a wedding of a cousin of mine; he 
was very old already, but he fell in love with me and wanted 
me to marry him--I was about fifteen years old--and go with 
him to America. Of course, it didn't come to pass. Later 
on, his son--I didn't know him--lived with his daughters in 
Schwabing, also in a very beautiful apartment; and because 
he was always traveling, he rented this apartment to Georg 
Kaiser. It was better to have somebody living there, on 
account of his beautiful things. But Kaiser, when he had 
no money anymore, he just sold the things. He sold the rugs 
and everything. . . . 


WESCHLER: Those things which belonged to the American? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. And then, of course, the owner didn't 
know about it; but the landlord heard it, and he went to 
the police. So Kaiser has been brought to court. There was 
a trial, and he had to go to jail. He was not conscious what 
he did. Caspari--! told you, you know, about this man who 
had this beautiful gallery and also these literary evenings — 
he was a great admirer of Kaiser, and he said, "Of course, 
I would have paid every debt he had, if only he had come to 
me. We all would have helped him. But he didn't ask any- 
body; he didn't tell anybody. He just sold the things." And 
then these people bought everything back, and I think he has 
been — I don't think he went to jail. He was condemned to 
jail, but then they said he was not very sane in his mind or 
something. And everybody paid. And also the owner of the 
rugs said, "If I had known, I would never have sued him, even 
if I had lost the rugs." [laughter] And the daughter of this 
painter lives here in Santa Barbara. Everywhere we were 
she was too. She lived also in Sanary, and she was a friend 
of the Huxleys. And then she came here. 
WESCHLER: What was her name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Eva Herrmann. She's a painter, but she doesn't 
paint anymore; she was a painter. She was a very good 
caricature designer and now she is an astrologist. 
WESCHLER: Okay. You had wanted to tell me a little bit about 


the books which made an impression on Lion. 

FEUCHTWANGER : Sometimes it was not only the book but the whole 
literature, like the Indian literature, the East Indian 
literature. During the time he wrote the Vasantasena , I 
found in his diary.... [pause in tape] 

WESCHLER: We were just talking about his impressions of 
East Indian literature. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, in those days when he was busy with writing 
Warren Hastings , he made research in East Indian literature. 
And also he knew that Goethe wrote about Sakuntala ; he trans- 
lated Sakuntala , which was a play by an Indian writer, 
and Goethe wrote also a verse about Sakuntala , how beautiful 
that is. And my husband wrote as an epithet of Goethe, in 
the printed play, what Goethe wrote in connection with Indian 
philosophy, "The one who acts has no conscience; conscience has 
only the one who contemplates." [Der Handelnde hat kein 
Gewissen; Gewissen hat nur der Betrachtende . ] And also 
he wrote another longer verse which I have to translate, which 
also was an impression of his Indian philosophy, that you 
should.... There is also in his Warren Hastings an Indian 
maharaja who says, "Sleep is better than to be awake; death 
is better than life." All those things made a great impression 
on my husband. That was also maybe what influenced him 
to [consider] taking his own life. 
WESCHLER: In the days when he was thinking of that. So, 


in a way, it's a good thing he got out of his Indian stage. 
FEUCHTWANGER : Ja, ja. [laughter] [pause in tape] 
WESCHLER: Okay, one last World War I story, and then we'll 
return to Berlin. 

FEUCHTWANGER: A cousin of my mother [Siegfried Lichten- 
statter] , who was a high official in the finance department 
and who had been offered to be minister if he would convert 
to Christianism — he was very conscious of the Jews to go to 
war and also to be patriotic, and he had wanted to be a 
volunteer but they rejected him on account of his age. Then 
he wanted only to live like the soldiers lived, and he re- 
fused to eat anything which could not be bought with stamps; 
he became absolutely emaciated, because you couldn't live 
alone from the stamps. And then he slept on the ground, 
thinking of the soldiers in the trenches, and acquired terrible, 
painful sciatica, so that he could only work standing at a 
lectern and writing there because sitting was too painful. 
WESCHLER: That's another example of this Jewish phenomenon 
during the war. 

Okay, well, we've now gathered up a whole bunch of 
previous material, and now we're back again in Berlin in 
the late twenties and early thirties. We're going to start 
right now just with some stories about life in Berlin 
during that period. In particular, you have two New Year's 
tales to tell us. 


FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, one was at the publisher of my husband, 
[E.] Rowohlt. He was also the publisher of Sinclair Lewis 
and I think also of Arnolt Bronnen. Anyway, Bronnen came with 
another daughter of a general on each arm, with his monocle 
and his blue eyes, and we all made fun of him because he 
pretended to be an admirer of the National Socialists. 
He was very patriotic and nationalistic. He was full of 
hate against the Italians because he was prisoner of war in 
the First World War. And then he wrote a play against Poland; 
he always said that one day, they will invade eastern 
Germany. March against Poland was this play [ Ostpolzug ] . 
It had been played already but not with so great success. 
But his first play, Vatermord ( Assassination of the Father) , 
was an enormous success, and it was one of the most im- 
portant expressionistic plays in those days. And then 
Sinclair Lewis arrived, and when he saw Bronnen, he imme- 
diately wanted to leave and was already out on the stairs. My 
husband ran after him and said, "We don't take Bronnen 
seriously. I think he does it only to epater les bourgeois , 
just to shock the philistines. You should really stay here and 
don't pay attention to him." And then he also came back. 
WESCHLER: And the evening proceeded smoothly after that. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . [laughter] And when Sinclair Lewis had 
something to drink, then he was always happy. 

Bronnen did something else. Bronnen really became a 


Nazi later. He was a friend of Goebbels. He pretended to 
be Gentile: he said his father was not his real father, 
and his mother, who was Gentile, got him from another man, 
that he was a child of.... 
WESCHLER: His father was Jewish? 

FEUCHTWANGER: His father was Jewish, but he said that his 
mother was not Jewish, that she had an affair with a Gentile 
and that's why he's not Jewish. So he was accepted as an Aryan, 
as they called it. But he then never wrote a play during this 
time and was very unhappy immediately. All of a sudden he 
noticed what happened there, what became of all that in 
Germany; and he then was not only against the Nazis, he 
was in the underground, working against them. And to com- 
pensate for all that, he became a Communist. When the 
Americans came--they had different sectors: American, French, 
English, and Russian — he was in the American sector in Austria. 
I think they made him mayor. The Americans made him mayor 
of the village where he was because they heard that he's 
reliable. Then he went to East Germany and became a Communist. 
He always had to do extremes, either the one side or the other. 
WESCHLER: You have mentioned also about his novel. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. Later, he wrote a kind of big short 
story, a novella, which showed already his talent he had. 
The title was Die Septembernovelle , and it was the first time 
I read about homosexuality in literature. It never had been 


mentioned before. It was as if he himself was a near-homo- 
sexual. Anyway, he pretended a little bit, but usually we 
saw him with beautiful women and beautiful film actresses 
and so. He worked also for the UFA, for the films later. 
And then he wrote a kind of autobiography [ Gibt zu protokoll ] 
where he tells of all without pardon for himself. He wrote 
all what happened to him, what he did in his life. He 
had no self-pity. He wrote it as it was, and this was a great 
thing to do. 

WESCHLER: How was homosexuality treated and felt about in 
Berlin? One has the sense of a very libertine society. 
Was it? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, but nobody spoke much about homosex- 
uality, more about lesbianism. That was the new trend then. 
There was a special club where all the girls were. I don't 
know if they were all lesbian, but it was the fashion, you 
know. There were also men who came there, and one of them 
was Remarque--he was very popular there. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: What was their status in such a club? 
FEUCHTWANGER: I never went there, but my husband's Berlin 
secretary always told us about it; she was always there. 
She had a kind of salon, a literary salon. 
WESCHLER: Was homosexuality actively frowned upon, male 
homosexuality, or was it tolerated? 
FEUCHTWANGER: It was not spoken about; it was just not 


spoken. It was not tolerated, but one never knew exactly, 

and one never asked. It is a funny thing, sex in Germany: 

of course, in Berlin it was very libertine, but in a way it 

was discreet. You didn't speak about it, and mostly there 

were no scandals or gossip or something like that. 

WESCHLER: Even in Berlin at that time? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not at all. You spoke about it en passant , 

but without judging people, and you took it for granted that 

not all the people are the same. But there was very little 

gossip in this way. The gossip was sometimes more about 

intrigues in the theater, when somebody took the role of 

somebody else, or critics or so, but sexual things were not 

spoken too much. I only know that when people wanted to 

live the real life, they went to Paris. They said there 

you can even go to the brothels and see what they're doing. 

Even the ladies went there. 

WESCHLER: So that even in the twenties and early thirties 

Paris was thought of as more. , . . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, absolutely, there is no doubt about it. 

In Paris it was an old tradition. In Berlin, it was new. 

They tried to be a little bit like Paris, but they were 

not so great in doing it. 

WESCHLER: I see. Well, we still have to hear about our 

second New Year's Eve party at Ullstein's. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja. That was when Remarque was at our table. 


and also the director of literature at the Ullstein's, Dr. 
Emil Hertz, who was our neighbor in Berlin. He was the one 
who went over through the woods — I think I told you--to 
make the contract. He was a tall, big man, and we thought. . • 
We all liked to drink, and mostly Remarque. I never drank 
at home, but when I was with other people, I drank with them. 
So Remarque said to me, "Now we drink Dr. Hertz under the 
table." So we drank and said, "To your health." [Every] 
time, you know, he had to drink and we drank--he drank every 
glass which we drank — and finally Remarque and I were under 
the table and he was still sober. [laughter] And I had 
to drive home. 

WESCHLER: Well, judging from the stories you told me about 
your driving, you were probably driving better drunk than 
if you weren't. [silence] But what was Remarque like? 
FEUCHTVJANGER: Remarque was very elegant. He was very much 
an homme a femmes : the ladies liked him; he liked the 
ladies. He always wanted--because he saw that I was in- 
terested in auto and in car driving — that I go with him to 
Italy on his Lancia. He had just bought a new Lancia, which 
was the fastest car in those days. But I didn't go with him 
in this or my other car. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: That doesn't surprise me, for some reason. 
FEUCHTWANGER: It surprised me, [laughter] 
WESCHLER: How integral to his personality was his pacifism. 


which appears in his novels so much? Was that the primary 

thing he talked about? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he was. But I think all the literary 

people were pacifistic. Except Bronnen. And yes, something 

else that just happened to my mind: when Remarque had 

written a play.... I don't know: was it a new play or was 

an adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front ? We were 

not in... I think we left... yes, my husband was in America 

and I was not in Berlin at this time. But I heard that at 

the premiere, at the first night, Bronnen and his friends 

let white mice out during the premiere and everybody ran out 

of the theater. That was Bronnen. 

WESCHLER: Bronnen and other Nazis were doing this? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, as a demonstration of the Nazis. It 

was before they came to power. 

WESCHLER: What happened with the play? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't remember what happened. We were here 

together with Remarque. But the funny thing was that we 

never spoke about what happened before. Also my husband 

never spoke about it. Only those people who had no hope, or 

who didn't think they would go ahead here, spoke about what 

was. But nobody really spoke about what was; we spoke about 

the present, what could come out of the war, and the future. 

But we didn't look back. 

WESCHLER: Was Remarque a member of the community here in Santa 



FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, very much. He was also a good friend of 
Elisabeth Bergner, the famous actress. 
WESCHLER: We'll get to that when we come here again. 
FEUCHTWANGER: He was a great collector of famous paintings, 
impressionist paintings. It was very difficult because he 
traveled very much after the war, to Europe and so, and he 
didn't know what to do with all his paintings because it 
was dangerous--they could be stolen. So he gave them, 
lent paintings to the museum. So he didn't have to pay 
the insurance, and they were safe there. Later he married 
lovely Paulette Goddard. She was his widow, ja. She is 
his widow, because she is still alive. 

WESCHLER: We'll return to that when we come to the United 
States. I have a list here of some stories you wanted to 
tell, and one of them is about Georg Kaiser and his car. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh yes, Georg Kaiser, who never had money 
with his good plays, all of a sudden had the idea to write 
something like an operetta, like a — what do you call it 
here? — a musical. Two Ties ( Zwei Krawatten ) . I wasn't 
there, I don't know what it was. It was an enormous success 
and all--he got much money — and it had nothing to do with 
his real stand as a writer or a poet. Then he bought a car 
and went on the new f reeway--that was the first freeway, 
I think, in Europe; it was called the Avus--and he went 


there in full speed, and all of a sudden he reversed his 
gear. So of course, it was torn to pieces, the engine. 
It's the same thing with the — you know, he was not respon- 
sible; he did that even with his own things. He was a 
Gentile. He didn't have to leave Germany (he was rather 
wealthy then with his play, with his musical) , but he left 
Germany and went to Switzerland because he didn't want to 
stay under the Nazis. He died there also then. 
WESCHLER: You also have a story about a party at Jacob- 
sohn's of the Weltbiihne . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh yes, Jacobsohn was the publisher of the 
Weltbiihne --that was the most important periodical of 
theater — and all the other former colleagues of my husband 
were there, all those who wrote for Jacobsohn, I had the 
feeling they were very cold against my husband, but he didn't 
realize it. My husband even admired some of them--for 
instance, [Kurt] Tucholsky, who wrote satirical poems under 
different names who were also very famous. He was a 
poet and a satirical poet together. It was always poetry 
in his wit. Lion admired him greatly, but later I found 
out that Tucholsky hated my husband, without they even 
didn't speak much. They didn't know each other. But I 
think a woman had something to do with it. He was married 
but didn't live with his wife, and he had a girlfriend. 
But this girlfriend went always to see my husband. She 


came always to our house. She was also the divorced wife 
of a writer, I think. I don't know if she was in love 
with my husband, but anyway, she all the time came to my 
husband to see him. I thought because Tucholsky began to 
get cold to her that maybe she wanted to make Tucholsky 
jealous. So it seemed that this had to do something. 
Afterwards I thought so, I don't know.* Anyway my husband 
didn't know Tucholsky; he just met him once or so, and he ad- 
mired him for his writing only. But not personally; he 
did not know him personally. And all those people were very 
cold to him--not so much to me I felt, but to him. And then 
I realized that they thought he wanted to be better — that's 
what they called "he danced out of the row" (that's what 
they say in Germany) — because he became an author and was 
no critic anymore. That was a kind of inferiority feeling 
with them. Anyway, they were reluctant in a way. But he 
was so naive he didn't even realize it. I never told him-- 
I didn't want to hurt him — but I had the feeling that they 
all.... There were some of them who also attacked him 
personally in their writings. As long as he was himself a 
critic, that was always in good camaraderie. But all of a 
sudden it became a cold enmity; they were cold enemies. It 
was not as before, when they had discussions or so — they 
sometimes were almost fighting but they [no longer felt] 

*During the editing process, Mrs. Feuchtwanger was given a 
checklist of specific queries and verifications; alongside the 
note asking for the names of the people mentioned in this 
passage, Mrs. Feuchtwanger scribbled, "No Dice." 


that he was one of them anymore. 

WESCHLER: Well, before we leave Berlin, I'm thinking of 
some other people to talk about. Gerhart Hauptmann, for 

FEUCHTWANGER: Hauptmann: there was his seventieth birth- 
day, and we were there. We didn't know him personally, 
because my husband didn't want to meet him. He had had a 
very bad experience. His own brother, the second one, 
Martin, all of a sudden without any reason — that was long 
before the First World War--wrote a great attack against 
Hauptmann. My husband was a great admirer of Hauptmann, but 
his brother was the publisher of a newspaper, and he attacked 
Hauptmann. Of course, the name Feuchtwanger was not known 
at first to Hauptmann, because my husband lived in Munich 
and was only a critic. Only later, when Lion had written 
some of his plays and also some of his novels, was he 
known to Hauptmann. But my husband always tried not to 
meet him because he had a terrible feeling on account of 
his brother. Instead of going to him and saying, "Mr. 
Hauptmann, I'm not responsible for my brother," he just 
wanted not to meet him. But then we had to go to the 
seventieth birthday. 

WESCHLER: What was that? Where was that held? 
FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know exactly when it was.* I 
think it was the PEN Club which made this big party. 

'Hauptmann, born in 1862, would have been seventy in 1932. 


Usually it was in the so-called Herrenclub; that was a 
big building, an old palace, where mostly the aristocratic 
people had their parties. It was a government building. 
But anyway, I remember only that they wrote about my 
dress afterwards in the newspaper. Kerr spoke about me. 
I was very tanned because I came from skiing, and I had 
a silver dress which at the back was rather low. He said 
I looked like chocolate in staniol . That is the paper 
around chocolate. 
WESCHLER: Oh, aluminum foil. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Foil, yes, that's the word. Ja, ja. 
Chocolate in staniol . [laughter] 

WESCHLER: I'm trying to think of some other people who you 
might know something about. Did you ever meet Paul Valery, 
for instance? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Paul Valery, yes, he was also invited by the 
PEN Club. He came together with a French playwright — 
didn't I tell you? 

WESCHLER: You haven't told me, but I believe it was Tristan 

FEUCHTWANGER: Tristan Bernard and Paul Valery came together, 
invited by the PEN Club. There was also a big party, a 
big banquet. Across from where I sat was the French am- 
bassador, [Pierre] de Margerie, and there was the famous 
architect [Eric] Mendelsohn on my left side. Walter 


Gropius, the other architect, was there. I was very im- 
pressed and very modest. I felt very modest with all 
those famous people. 

WESCHLER: How was Valery thought of by German writers? 
FEUCHTWANGER: He was thought that he was a famous writer. 
I don't think they knew him, all the people. Not all 
knew good French and could appreciate a French poet, but 
when somebody was famous--! think maybe he got the Nobel 
Prize also. Yes, that was probably the reason. 
WESCHLER: What did your husband think of him? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Not too much. He thought he ' s a good writer, 
but he was not so impressed as he was, for instance, with 
Brecht. And he liked old Chretien de Troyes and Francois 
Villon and — what is the later one? — Verlaine also, but a 
friend of Verlaine who was a great poet. (He afterwards 
quit when he was thirty and didn't write anymore). 
WESCHLER: Rimbaud. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Rimbaud, ja, ja. Arthur Rimbaud. Those 
he liked better than Paul Valery. But he said always he 
is not an expert in poetry. But when something hit him, 
like Brecht 's poetry, then, of course, he was an expert. 
WESCHLER: Speaking of foreign writers, we've spoken a 
little bit about Sinclair Lewis. Did you know Christopher 
Isherwood in Berlin? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, of course. No, not in Berlin. I 


met him first here. 

WESCHLER: Okay, we'll talk about him when we get here; I 
just thought you might have known him in Berlin. Well, 
let's go from literature to music. Berlin, of course, was 
extremely famous at that time for the musical revolution 
and particularly the number of orchestras. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Schoenberg lived there, and I think also 
Ernst Toch lived there, worked there. Ja, ja. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: But in particular at this point, I was thinking 
about what the musical scene was like for someone who 
wasn't especially in music, like you. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, my husband was not too much interested 
in the living and the modern music. He was interested in 
Mozart and Haydn and Beethoven. His most modern was Bartok. 
And then he liked Richard Strauss . But he was very con- 
servative in his musical taste. 

WESCHLER: But even for someone who was conservative in 
taste, there were tremendous orchestras in Berlin at that 
time, weren't there? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but you know we were not much in Berlin. 
Either my husband was working — and then he didn't go out-- 
or we were traveling. Every year we were at least four 
months traveling. 

WESCHLER: Did you know Otto Klemperer? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, we knew Otto Klemperer, and he was a 


great admirer of my husband. He invited us--we didn't 
know him before--only he invited us before we knew him 
to come to the opening of his new opera house when he 
conducted Rigoletto . It was outstanding, very new in the 
whole thing, not so kitschy anymore, and with great elan. 
He told me here that he was so proud that my husband came 
to his first performance. 

WESCHLER: Who were some of the other conductors in Berlin 
at that time? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Bruno Walter was there, but we never met 
him in Berlin. And also we were not in musical circles 
except Weill, Kurt Weill, because we knew him through 
Brecht. And Hanns Eisler, but also not very — Eisler wrote 
the music also, I think, for Warren Hastings . 
WESCHLER: How about Ernst Krenek? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Krenek. Did he live in Berlin? 
WESCHLER: I believe so. 
FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know. 

WESCHLER: That answers that. Finally, in a more popular 
vein about music, the image that we Americans have of 
Berlin is of the cabaret scene at that time. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but we had not this image, you know. 
That's just one little thing which happened. But not in 
our environment. We didn't know about it. We didn't 
even go there. What we knew of the cabaret was political 


cabaret. There was [Friedrich] Hollander, the famous 
Hollander, who wrote these beautiful songs for cabaret; 
he also wrote the music to The Blue Angel , you know, 
this famous music which [Marlene] Dietrich sang. But they 
were the only people we knew of the cabaret. But the 
cabaret was not — even the name "cabaret" was used only for 
political performances. The other cabarets we didn't 
know. They must have been kind of bordello or so; we never 
heard about that. What I read by Isherwood, that was not 
the Berlin what we knew. Maybe it was like if you would 
go here into the slums, you know; but nobody of our circles 
knew about this Berlin which he describes. And also the 
people who are in his book are a Frenchman, French and 
American people; there are even not Germans. 
WESCHLER: And that wasn't the Berlin that you knew. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Absolutely not. We didn't know about this 
Berlin. It was when I read it the first time. . . . 


AUGUST 4, 19 75 

WESCHLER: We're still in Berlin. Now I'd like to talk 
a little bit about Lion's politics of this period, and 
the context within which I'd like to talk about it is the 
fact that the novels of this period — and I'm thinking of 
Success and of the Oppermann novel, which was written 
later. . . 

FEUCHTWANGER: There was only one novel. 

WESCHLER: Well... let me finish the question. They generally 
have characters in them who are writers or artists or mu- 
sicians and so forth, who are impaled on the dilemma of 
art and politics. Through them we are able to get a very 
good sense of Lion's feelings about art and politics, but 
what we don't have is a sense of Lion's own politics in 
daily action during those days in 1931, '32, '33, as 
the Nazis were coming. 

FEUCHTWANGER: But we were usually not in Berlin. 
WESCHLER: Well, what was Lion's general political attitude 
in the late Weimar period? Was he himself personally 
involved in any way politically? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Nobody was involved except the government 
itself. People were not involved in politics in those 
days. Not in Germany. They were always apolitical. Not 


antipolitical : apolitical. They didn't even speak much 
about politics. They spoke only about the danger of the 
Nazis. Other people spoke about the danger of the Communists, 
but not the intellectuals; they didn't think that the Com- 
munists were of any danger. That was only a pretension of 
the Nazis, to make people afraid of the Communists. There 
were very few Communists there, anyway, and they had no 
real leaders because their leaders were all killed. It 
was not spoken about, politics. It was, of course, when 
Rathenau has been murdered, and things like that, but that 
was always the extreme. But that has nothing to do with 
the politics of the government. You read the Weltbiihne 
(before it was the Schaublihne ) , and that was all what you 
needed to read, the Weltbiihne , to know how bad the Weimar 
Republic was considered by the liberal politics. Because 
they were already too much afraid of the conservative. 
There was Hindenburg who came to power, and you could see 
how it had changed; the politics of the revolution and of 
the republic changed into the politics of the big business, 
of the big heavy industry and so. But that was all — every- 
body knew it. There was even a man who wrote a novel about 
The Union of the Hard Hand [ Union der Festen Hand] which 
was about those people on the Rhine, big business and big 
industry. [Erik] Reger, I think — something like that — 
was his name. But it was quick forgotten. Nobody wanted 


to know much about politics. That was the reason why the 

politics could come into this terrible shape, because those 

people who knew better, they didn't do anything. They thought 

that the government does the things anyway bad, but what 

power do we have to do it better? 

WESCHLER: Would you say that was also true of someone 

like Brecht? Or was he more involved? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not outwardly. A writer — you know, there 

is a proverb in Germany which says, "Writers write but 

don't speak." A writer has to write, and then he has to 

try to influence his readers with his ideas, but they 

were not acting politics. Not like now, [Giinter] Grass 

or so, who is [a Social] Democrat and goes around during 

the election and speaks. But this was not done; the only 

one who was active was Toller, in a way. But I don't 

remember that he did anything what was visible. 

WESCHLER: Did you vote in the elections? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, we voted always. But once we had 

to go away (that was during the last election, which was 

called the [Franz von] Papen election: we left Berlin and 

went to eastern Germany, which is now Polish for most of the 

part, to Nidden in Littauen [Lithauania] by car; it was 

very beautiful, the whole trip, extremely beautiful) 

because it has been told that maybe there will be riots, 

although we had some iron staves on our windows to the street. 


But nothing really happened. 

WESCHLER: When you voted, who did you vote for in the last 
election? What party? 

FEUCHTWANGER : [laughter] I think we voted for Hindenburg 
because he was--it was that we had no choice. There was 
either Hindenburg or Nazis, or something like that. 
WESCHLER: Did you align yourself generally more with the 
Social Democrats than any other party? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but on the other hand the Social Demo- 
crats were considered a little bit weak and undecisive. 
The Communists were more decisive, but we didn't know 
much communism, no people who were Communist. Not like 
in Munich, where we knew Miihsam or so. I don't remember 
that we met any Communists except Brecht who was very near 
to communism. Only the Social Democrats were not very 
much in, not very much respected. They were considered 
too weak, already in the hands of the military. There was 
a General [Hans von] Seeckt, who gave himself as a pro- 
tector of the arts, of music and art, and he liked to get 
in touch with writers. I knew him also, met him in some 
public society and so. But he was... there was no belief 
in... there was a kind of apathy also. I think. After 
all the hopes we had from after the war, that this is the 
last war and things like that, and then came the people who 
made again money by manufacturing arms and so--we all were 


a little apathetic, I think. 

WESCHLER: Did that apathy persist even as Hitler became more 
powerful? I should think that Lion, having seen Hitler in 
Munich, would have been alarmed. How did he react to Hitler 
as Hitler became more and more a force? 

FEUCHTWANGER: In Berlin, we didn't feel it so much. The 
people in Berlin, I always heard, also during the Hitler 
time, they were very skeptical against him. His big 
adherents were in Bavaria. Munich was "The City of the 
Movement," he called it. And the Berliners were always 
very critical and a little bit skeptic; they were not real 
Nazis there. They did what they had to do, but all those 
people who we knew and then met later said that in Berlin 
you didn't meet any--you didn't have to meet Nazis if 
you didn't want to. 

WESCHLER: Did Lion take the danger of Hitler seriously in 
1932-33, or did he still feel...? In Success the Hitler 
character is merely ridiculed. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, but he didn't think that — first of 
all, he thought, like Aristophanes, that you could change 
people with your irony and make them ridiculous; but that 
was a great mistake, I think. In every country and every 
time of history were those people who ridiculed the govern- 
ment or the danger. But he never would have thought that it 
happened like that. 


WESCHLER: Would you have thought, say, in the beginning 
of 1932, that there was any chance that Hitler would be- 
come chancellor? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh no, we wouldn't have stayed in Germany — 
where we bought a house in 19 30, you know--we wouldn't 
have done that. On the other hand my husband wrote once — 
he has been asked by a great [Hamburg] newspaper about his 
thoughts, along with other writers, of what there would be 
in the future; and then he said, "I see myself and others 
already as emigrants, running away." 
WESCHLER: At what point was this? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It must have been in '30 or so. But you 
know, he played with this thought, but he didn't believe 
it in reality. It was more or less a kind of bon mot, you 
would say. In his inner--he didn't believe it. Nobody 
believed it. 

WESCHLER: In retrospect, is there anything the intellectuals 
could have done, had they banded together and been more 
political, to prevent Hitler? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was — you know, there were big scandals 
in the government, and Hindenburg had to cover the scandals; 
and that was the advantage of Hitler. For instance, the 
son of Hindenburg [Oskar] took money which was [supposed] 
to be used for the poorer agricultural people in eastern 
Germany; he took it around his own estate. He took the 


money to make his estate bigger. He had a big estate there. 
This was in east German Silesia where were the big estates 
of the Junkers, they were called. So Hitler heard about that- 
it came to his ears--and he went to Hindenburg and said, 
"If you don't make me chancellor, then I will publish what 
your son did with the monies which he had to help the 
poor farmers and which instead he took for himself." 
So Hindenburg had no choice. He was very unhappy. He 
said, "I don't want alv;ays to see this corporal." Because 
in the war. Hitler was only a corporal. 
WESCHLER: What did you think of Hindenburg? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he was very stupid. By those days, 
he was only a monument; he was not a living person anymore. 
He was very stupid. He bragged about that he never read a 
book: so it was already enough to hear that to know.... 
But the dangerous man was Papen, in his way: he was his 
minister of culture, I think, and also minister of foreign 
politics. He was in America [early in World War I] --and 
this was a typical for him — and he lost his briefcase, or 
left it at a station or so. The most important papers. 
So everybody laughed about this Papen. But he was a dan- 
gerous man: he brought Hitler to Hindenburg. He was 
Catholic; he was of the Centrum party, so he was not a 
Nazi in the way. But he was impressed by Hitler, and also 
thought that Hitler would save Germany from the Communists. 


That was always the way why Hitler came to power because 
he said we have to do something against Communists. It 
was a little bit like the CIA in Cuba or so, the same men- 

WESCHLER: The history books that we read indicate that 
starting with 1930, '31, '32, '33, street violence and 
that kind of polarization became much, much more agitated. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Street violence. I didn't know about street 
violence. The only thing we heard--we never saw anything — 
were some manifestations on the street by the Reichsbanner ; 
that was the Left, the democrats. And the Nazis, of course, 
made big things on the streets with music and great effort. 
Finally the Reichsbanner, which were many, many people, 
were very afraid of the Nazis. Although they were more 
than the others, they were the peace-loving people, and the 
Nazis were the aggressive people. And also then we met 
one man who was also here for a while — [Fritz] Sternberg, 
I think, was his name, but I don't remember. He was very 
nearly a Marxist, and he was very near to the communistic 
rule, and he said that on the outskirts of Berlin, where the 
poor people had their little gardens, where they had some 
vegetables planted, that there were some Nazis who lived 
there and they were all killed. Nobody dared to go out at 
night where the slums were. 
WESCHLER: The Nazis were killed? 


FEUCHTWANGER : No, no, excuse me. No, the Nazis killed 

the Communists. The Communists who came from the slums and 

those more or less poor people. They had those little 

schrebergartens , it was called, little gardens, little 

plots where they raised some vegetables. And the Communists 

lived there also, and on Sundays they went there with their 

children. They were all killed, the Communists by the 

Nazis. Nobody dared to go out. He said, "If I wanted to 

make a riot with Communists, I couldn't get a single one 

on the street. They were all too much afraid of the 

Nazis." Because the Communists had no arms; the Nazis 

had all the arms. No rifles, no guns, nothing. 

WESCHLER: But did that tension reach onto Mahlerstrasse, 

where you were living? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, that was the other part of Berlin, you 


WESCHLER: And in the richer part.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was like so far away like we here from 

Watts are. 

WESCHLER: So it was like that: people who were living in 

the richer sections of Berlin did not have this.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, they didn't even think about that. And 

there were no Communists, and also there were no Nazis 

in this part. The Nazis were not in the--like you would 

say the Communists are in Bel-Air or so. [laughter] 


WESCHLER: Okay. Well, let's begin to talk about the onset. 
We've talked about where you were when Hitler came to 
power (lyou were] in the mountains); we talked a little bit 
about that. Let's talk right now about what Lion was 
doing. He was in America, but before we talk about that, 
let's talk about Lion's view of America, and that brings 
us to the subject of Wetcheek. [ Pep — J-L. Wetcheeks 
Amerikanisches Liederbuch ] 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. No, I think the Wetcheek poems 
were written before he went to America. 

WESCHLER: They were written before, but we haven't talked 
about them yet, so you might tell us what they were. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes, the poems — it was just, I think it 
came mostly when he read Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt. He got 
his idea from Babbitt mostly; that was his idea of America, 
which was not quite the right — I think many things are wrong 
what he wrote in his Wetcheek poems. But it was his picture 
what he had of America. So he wrote some, he thought, 
funny ballads; and they have been published in the Berliner 
Tageblatt every Sunday, under the name of J.L. Wetcheek. 
And that was the translation of his name. Wetcheek is-- 
wet is feucht, and cheek is Wange . 
WESCHLER: That's Feucht-wanger . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Feuchtwanger , yes, but this was not exactly 
the right translation; it was more a translation which 


was practical. It would have been too complicated to 
translate his name from which it was, because originally 
it would have been "fir slope" if you would use the real 
name. It came from this town of Feuchtwangen, which was 
a town which was situated on a fir slope [ Fichte Hang ] . 
And Feucht has changed from Fichte later. So it would be 
very complicated. So he translated it verbally. And so 
it was Wetcheek. He wrote those little ballads which were 
half-satirical and half- (what shall I say?) sympathetical 
for the American. He was very much for America through the 
way of literature. He was a great admirer of Mark Twain, 
a greater admirer than you ever would find in America. 
Also he admired Sinclair Lewis; he liked best his Arrowsmith , 
And some others. I wrote down the names of the writers he 
liked in America. Would you like to hear them? [pause 
in tape] 

WESCHLER: Who were the other Americans you've just men- 

FEUCHTWANGER: There was [John] Steinbeck. The early 
Steinbeck he admired very much, the first one--his short 
stories and also Grapes of Wrath. That was one of his 
greatest impressions he ever had of a writer. 
WESCHLER: And he also liked Stephen Crane, you said. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Red Badge of Courage , ja. 
WESCHLER: While the tape was off, you mentioned that he 


liked Norman Mailer. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he liked Norman Mailer, The Naked and 

the Dead . And there is one with the name of Bradbury; 

that was a novel, Bradbury.... 

WESCHLER: Ray Bradbury? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, that was not--excuse me. Thudbury , 

and his name was Davies, [Clyde] Brion Davies--! think 

he had two first names. And he writes about him in his 

House of Desdemona . You can read it. Whatever he [liked] , 

he wrote — I think it's better if you read it, whatever he 


And I wanted to tell you, what has nothing to do 
with Americans, that of course it was only a first draft, 
this book. The House of Desdemona ; he found that his chapter 
about Walter Scott was much too long. He wanted to shorten 
it. And then, of course, he didn't have the time anymore 
to write about Arnold Zweig and all those writers. 
WESCHLER: We'll talk about that book in more detail later 
on. Let's get back. So how long was he able to keep up 
this Wetcheek ruse? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, they waited. Every Sunday it was a 
great expectation what the new Wetcheek ballad would be. 
And then somebody came onto the idea to translate back the 
name Wetcheek, and he found out it was Feuchtwanger , and 
then the whole joke found an end. [laughter] 


WESCHLER: Okay, well, that gives us some idea what he 

thought of America before he came to America. Under what 

conditions did he come to America? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was asked to make lectures there. 

WESCHLER: By who? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't remember. An agent probably. It was 

on account of his success of Jud Siiss and his other books. 

Success wasn't such a great success because it was too new. 

When he was asked to come, it was mostly about Jud Siiss and 

The Ugly Duchess . And the other novels were not out long 

enough. They were not even finished. Success was not finished 

yet. * 

WESCHLER: So during what season did he leave for America? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was in November [1932] , I think. We were 

first in England. 

WESCHLER: Both of you together went to England? 

FEUCHTWANGER: We were in England together. 

WESCHLER: And what happened there? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, there happened a lot of things. But 

didn't I tell you about it already? 

WESCHLER: Some of the things you told us, but mainly you 

told us about the first English trip. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I wasn't on the first English trip. 

WESCHLER: You weren't on that one, but you told us some 

stories. So maybe you could tell us some stories about 

this trip. [pause in tape] 

*Actually Erfolg had been published in 1930. 


FEUCHTWANGER: When we came to England together, my husband's 
publisher, Huebsch, was there already and found for us a hotel 
which he liked very much. When we came there, we had to wait 
a long time until somebody opened. And then came an old man 
in a kind of livery with short trousers, and with a candle- 
stick, and he said, "Oh, you are late." But we came from the 
train; we couldn't come earlier. And then he led us with 
candles over red-carpeted stairs to our room, which was 
terribly cold--it was November, and there was no central 
heating in the whole hotel. But Huebsch, who was an American, 
he liked that and found it romantic that there was only 
fireplace and only candles there. But candles is not very 
good for a writer who likes to read. [laughter] When he 
can have better light. And it was also that the fireplace 
didn't give much warmth. So we left the next day for a better 
hotel. So much about English romantics. [laughter] Huebsch, 
his American publisher, was very disappointed about our 
prosaic mind. 

Then we were invited by the publisher, of course, 
and by his agent, Curtis Brown, who had a very great agency, 
[to a reception] . All the writers who were somebody were 
there — [H.G.] Wells, and I don't remember everybody. It 
was so full that you couldn't even move. The funny thing 
was that when I came — we came rather late, and I apologized 
in my bad English. I said that the taxi driver took ad- 
vantage of us because we were foreigners. It was just not 
more than, not even five minutes to go from our hotel, but 


it took him a half-hour. He went with us around and around 
through London, and I finally said, "But we have seen that 
already; that is Trafalgar Square, and we were there already 
before I" So finally he brought us there. Then all the 
people there were so astonished that somebody dared to 
speak with a cab driver like that. [laughter] 

And then we were invited by Lord Melchett, who my 
husband knew already. First we were invited in his city 
palace, which was on Smith Square [?], and this was very 
interesting. It was very cold already, unusually cold, 
and the ground was covered with ice, snowy ice (it snowed 
at night). And the Smith Square [?] was a little place of 
a bigger place, off a bigger place. Through an arch we 
went in, and inside there this place looked almost like 
Shakespeare's time. It was a low building, and you 
didn't feel that you were in the present. And then we 
came into the palace. It was very old, and it was icy 
cold also. First we came to the paintings gallery; Lord 
Melchett showed me the paintings, and we went around the 
place. [pause in tape] 
WESCHLER: So you went in.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: And Lord Melchett showed me the paintings. 
I said, "It's probably very difficult to install central 
heating in an old palace like this." And he said, "Oh, 
no, we have central heating. But we don't put it on, on 
account of our Rembrandts." The music salon was very 


modern and also very cold, and then the dining room, an 
enormous dining room with big doors for outside, to look 
outside; and it was modern, in stainless steel, the table, 
with glass. It was very beautiful because it was dark 
stainless steel and in very good taste. Usually in those 
days, modern furniture looked like the dentist's furniture, 
but this was very, very beautiful done. I had a black 
velvet dress without sleeves, and I almost froze onto the 
armrests. But then it wasn't long until one door opened 
and there came those liveried servants in, two and two, 
with big basins with glowing coals. They carried them to 
the fireplaces and put them into the fireplaces. Then you 
had at least warm on your back. Before you, you got a hot 
soup, which had to warm you. [laughter] 

The gentleman who accompanied me to [the dinner] 
table was a cousin of the queen. Lord Cumberland, or 

something like that. And across from me was Chaim 
Weizmann. And there were many members of Parliament 
there, but I didn't remember the name. The Duke of Cum- 
berland was very chivalrous and tried to speak about 
literature with me; but I was very glad when Chaim 
Weizmann spoke, because when he spoke, nobody else spoke. 
Everybody was silent — all the members of Parliament, 
everybody listened to Chaim Weizmann, what he has to say. 
And Chaim Weizmann told me across the table, "You know, 


what you need in Germany is our Prince of Wales, because 
he is so great in getting our country over in other 
countries. He was, for instance, in Sweden; he saw some 
installations, and he said, 'You should go to England. I 
think we have it better than you can make it the same here.' 
That's what you need in Germany to make yourself popular in 
other countries." [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Did Chaim Weizmann have anything to say about 
Hitler at that time, that you remember? 
FEUCHTWANGER: We met Chaim Weizmann many times. We 
were together in the European coffee shops, and he spoke 
already about the danger of Hitler. But in a way that 
wasn't... we were not afraid; it was also. .. nobody could 
have saw that ever he could come like that, you know. 
We thought it would be like when here would be the [John] 
Birchers, for instance, in the government. You wouldn't 
think that they would kill people. I think it wouldn't 
be very, very pleasant to have the Birchers, let's say, 
a Bircher as a president, but it wouldn't be — nobody would 
think that so many people would be killed then or that they 
would make war or things like that. Also nobody would have 
believed that he would ever come to power, because they 
thought the others are too numerous against him. 
WESCHLER: So how long were you in England at that time? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, I don't remember, about ten days or a 


little longer even. Did I tell you that the king invited 
my husband to see a painting of the Ugly Duchess by 
Quentin Mathis [?] . 

WESCHLER: But that your husband was sick and couldn't go? 
FEUCHTWANGER : Ja, ja. But this time Lord Melchett invited 
us to his country palace. He said it's a modern house. 
He sent his Rolls Royce already in the morning--it was in 
the evening [that he wanted us] to be there — because he 
wanted us to make a trip, a beautiful trip through the 
English fall, you know, with all those fall leaves, a 
symphony in brown, every kind of brown and red. The whole 
day we were driven by the two--by the chauffeur and a 
butler--from one big castle to the other, and that was all 
the property of Lord Melchett. We didn't know that, but 
then the butler told us, "Would you like to go out from 
the car and look at the paintings inside?" Then they showed 
us. It was an old palace that was not lived in usually, 
but there were very beautiful antique things, and it all 
belonged all to Lord Melchett. Finally we arrived at his 
land house, or landed country estate, and it was enormous 
wide; the building was more low and long. All the rooms 
had names--our room had the name Halali — no numbers or 
so. There were lots of guests there, invited to meet us. 
And also Churchill was invited (he was not in power then) , 
but he was not at home; he was traveling somewhere. 


But they spoke a lot about him. 

WESCHLER: In what terms? Was he respected? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was divided. And then for the evening, 

before we went to dinner, we all went to the big hall where 

a swimming pool was. It looked like a big Greek temple with 

columns, and there was a heated swimming pool--which was 

unheard of in those days. 

WESCHLER: I gather they had no Rembrandts in the swimming 

pool room with all that heat? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, they didn't, but statues were there, 

Greek statues. And everybody had to be picked up by 

cars. They had little cars where--one part of the people who 

they invited were playing tennis, others golf, and so they had 

all to be gathered for the swimming pool and then later for 

dinner, first for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. I did my 

stuff with diving and things like that and was very much 

admired, but Lion was a little embarrassed. [laughter] 

I did also calisthenics, you know, those kind when you 

bend back so that your hands are on the floor. And then 

we went to the house for drinks. I was very thirsty, because 

we were the whole day on our way and had nothing to drink. 

So then I began to make somersaults inside, and handstands. 

Because I drank too much sherry. [laughter] But they were 

not shocked-- it was very funny. Mrs. Melchett was a rather 

unusual person. She was very beautiful, tall and blond, and 


she was Gentile (although Melchett was from Jewish descent) . 
She wore a red pyjama, you know, what in those days you — 
red pants, for evening, in red velvet. So that was absolutely 
unusual, unheard of. So nobody was very much astonished 
about me because Lady Melchett was already so eccentric. 

Then Lady Melchett took my husband aside and told him 
a story which was very interesting. She told him about her 
sons, who were in a boarding house and came back on vacation 
and were very depressed. But they didn't say what it was. 
Then the younger one told her — she could persuade him to 
speak--that when over the radio it was told that the 
Melchetts converted to Judaism (he converted back, and she 
was Gentile and converted with him to Judaism) that 
then at night the other boys went into where they slept and 
beat them terribly, gave them a terrible beating. Nothing 
was spoken, not a word was spoken. And the next day it 
was like it didn't happen. 
WESCHLER: Why had they converted? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was probably on account of the National 
Socialism already. 

WESCHLER: But the boys had been beaten in English schools 
because of it? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. Later on, nothing was mentioned any- 
more. They didn't feel anything anti-Semitic or so, but 
in this night they just.... You know, it was not anti-Semitic, 


in a way; it was that you don't do that when you are an English 

nobleman or so. You just don't do those things. It was 

more society. 

WESCHLER: Do you have any other stories of your time in 


FEUCHTWANGER: No, I don't remember. Yes, then when we were 

together the next day, we were for breakfast together, and 

it was a very complicated breakfast. I never saw a thing 

like that: it was more like luncheon, brunch, and dinner 

together. You could have everything what you wanted. [It 

was] on a big table, and the Lady served you; she herself 

poured the tea. It was all very new to me, of course. 

But I nearly forgot that in the evenings there came a 
lord from somewhere else--he came late after dinner--and he 
told Lion that he is so sorry that Churchill was not in 
town, because he spoke to him about Lion Feuchtwanger , 
said he was coming and he wanted to meet him. But he 
didn't say "Churchill." He always said "Winston," and I 
didn't know about whom he spoke because I wasn't used that 
you speak about a man like Churchill with the first name. 
He said "Winston" (maybe that's a name very common in 
England). So he always said, "Winston was so sorry," to 
my husband, and my husband didn't know who "Winston" was 
either. [laughter] He was a conservative, and also Melchett 
was rather conservative, and they spoke about the bad shape 


in which the country is and the government is and largely 
politics and so, and then he said, "The only man who could 
save us is Winston." And afteirwards I asked my husband, 
"Who's Winston?" [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Well, what did you do as Lion left for America? 
FEUCHTWANGER: I Stayed for a few days to see more of 
London, about what my husband already has seen. I was in 
the British Museum and things like that. A man with the 
name of Feuchtwanger came and picked me up. I didn't 
know him before — I never heard about him before — but 
he showed me around, so it was very nice. And then the 
publisher. Seeker, wanted that I come with him into a new 
restaurant which was absolutely the cry of the day. It 
was an Italian restaurant, one on the first floor. I was 
used to Italian cooking, of course, and I knew what I 
wanted and what I liked, but he was studying the menu for 
a long time. I said, "You have to eat that; that's very 
Italian." But finally he ordered a steak and a beer. That's 
the Englishman, you know. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Anyway, so eventually you left London and went 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, and then there was a funny story also 
in the hotel. I had to pay the bill for both of us because 
I left a little longer, and the bill was enormously high. 
I looked at it, and I saw that they charged us with some 


things which we never ate. For instance, caviar. I went 
to the manager and complained, and I had to wait a long 
time. The publisher said nobody else ever did those 
things, first of all; no English hotel would do something 
like that--"They don't do those things," he said — and then 
also that nobody complains. But finally they took it off 
the bill. So I was right. [laughter] 

And then I went to Trier when I came back and. ... I 
wanted to go skiing, but first I wanted to go to Berlin where 
our maid was. We had also the woman who first worked for 
us when we had this little apartment (she came for the 
laundry) . And we had a gardener and his wife, who was the 
upstairs maid, and then I had another maid for downstairs. 
You had to have that; it was not necessary, probably, but 
it was lots of work to do because we had always so many 
visitors. I worked very much in the garden and then I 
did lots of things myself, my dresses myself and things like 
that. So I wanted to be there for Christmas to give them 
their Christmas gifts. 

But before that I went to Trier, to the house of my 
friend Maria Kuntz. So there we were. It was very beautiful 
because Trier is one of the most beautiful cities of 
Germany. It was founded by the Romans and there are still 
the Roman ruins there, and also the walls around and the 
old cathedrals. And I have seen the most beautiful thing: 


at night in an old street, we saw a church and went in. 
The whole church was dark, with only one candle in a corner, 
and all of a sudden we heard the choir singing. That was 
the boys' choir, singing a chorale. And I never forgot 
this mood at this church. 

WESCHLER: And then after that you went to Sankt Anton. 
FEUCHTWANGER : Yes, after I was in Berlin to give our 
people the presents--! gave them Christmas presents-- 
then I went to Sankt Anton. That is in Austria, in Tyrol. 
WESCHLER: You've talked a bit about what happened there, 
about the Nazis coming to power. Let's return first though 
to what Lion was doing. He had gone to the United States. 
How had he left England? By boat? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, by boat. There was no other way. 
WESCHLER: And where did he go? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Or he could swim, of course. I don't remember. 
I don't know the hotels. 

WESCHLER: Was it just mainly New York? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, all over America. In New York he was 
in the best hotel, the Waldorf-Astoria. And there Mrs. 
[Eleanor] Roosevelt visited him, at this hotel. 
WESCHLER: Was she an admirer of his writings? 

FEUCHTWANGER: She was an admirer of his work. She knew that 
he had very little time because he had to make speeches 
all the time, also in Boston and everywhere, so she came 


to see him in this hotel and brought him her photograph. 
He sent the photo to Germany, and I saw it there before 
I left. I never saw our house anymore then. But it was 
just arrived for Christmas, and I hung it somewhere. Our 
gardener wrote us afterwards that when the Nazis invaded our 
house, they saw the picture, recognized it ("Eleanor 
Roosevelt" was also written underneath) , and they trampled 
on it and ruined it. 

WESCHLER: Well, let's not get to that yet. 
FEUCHTWANGER: They called her "The Old Sow" and trampled 
on it. 

WESCHLER: Do you know any of the stories of his time in 
America? Did he talk about it at all? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know much about it. I only know that 
on Christmas he was invited at the estate of [Theodore] 
Dreiser. He was very unhappy there because Dreiser drunk 
a lot and was very gay and wanted him to carve the goose. 
He never did a thing like that — he wouldn't have known how 
to do — but Dreiser insisted that he had to do it. And he 
felt so uncomfortable before this mighty man, who was so 
strong and loud and gregarious--and Lion was more or less 
modest and shy — that he felt very unhappy there. [laughter] 
WESCHLER: Did he respect Dreiser as a writer? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he did, very much. But Sinclair Lewis 
was more interesting to him, and also he thought a lot of 


Upton Sinclair. There was one novel of Upton Sinclair which 
impressed him very much, Mountain City . It is about the 
people who buy stocks and at the end lose all their money, 
and only those who gave the stocks out get rich. Then the 
inflation came in America, you know, when there was first 
the "Black Friday" in '29. And when later in America, 
I met Huebsch again, when we arrived in 1940, I told him 
that we were warned from Upton Sinclair in reading Mountain 
City that we shouldn't trust the bankers too much with 
these stocks. And he said, "If I only had read this book, 
too! I published it, but I didn't read it." [laughter] 
He also was a great friend. I think he probably had read 
it; it was more a joke. He was a great friend of Upton 
Sinclair also. When he came here to see us, he always went 
to — I think Upton Sinclair lived in Santa Barbara or so. 
We only corresponded with him. I never saw him. But he 
wrote me letters, and he sent me his books and so. He didn't 
go out from his house, and we were more or less prisoners 

WESCHLER: What other cities did Lion go to? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, everywhere. He was also in Athens in 
the South [Georgia] and in Los Angeles, where he met for 
the first time [Charlie] Chaplin. He has been shown around 
in the movies, the movie [studios] — Universal, or whatever 
it was. There also exist photos with him and Carl Laemmle, 


one of the famous moviemakers then. Chaplin knew all of his 

books, and mostly he was smitten by Jud Siiss . He told my 

husband he wants to play Jud Siiss ; he wants to make a movie 

Jud Siiss . It has already been made this movie — no, this 

movie was made afterwards. He wanted to do it, and my 

husband had a great, hard time to dissuade him from this 


WESCHLER: Why did he want to dissuade him? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he didn't think that he could do it. 

He never before had played a serious part. Later on he 

played in Limelight , so my husband said, "I think I 

should have probably accepted him as Jud Siiss . " But he 

never thought he could do a thing like that. 

WESCHLER: Was Lion immediately impressed with Los Angeles 

from the very start? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He had not much time to be impressed. He 

had to see so many people, you know. He was only impressed 

by the bigness of the city. But in those days there was 

still lots of empty land. There were lots of orange trees 

everywhere, orange groves and poinsettia groves and things 

like that when ycu drove through the city. But more or less 

he was always very tired because he had to stay up very long 

and had to prepare his speeches for the next day or travel 


WESCHLER: Where were these speeches given? At universities? 


FEUCHTWANGER: I have no idea. He hated to speak. He 

accepted it only because his publisher insisted so much; 

Mr. Huebsch insisted he had to do it. But he was very 

much afraid of it. He thought his voice is too low, and he 

is not a good speaker, and his pronunciation is too bad, and 

his English is too bad. And he hated the whole thing. But 

he did it more or less out of a sense of duty. 

WESCHLER: How did the audience respond? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he said it was always a great success, 

but he didn't understand why. [laughter] Because he 

found himself so terribly incompetent as a speaker. 

WESCHLER: You told me one story about a woman who was knitting. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. Once he was very much disturbed because 

a woman just in the first row was knitting all the time. 

He thought, "Oh, she must be terrible bored that she 

doesn't forget knitting." But afterwards this lady came 

to him and wanted to shake his hand; then she said, "I 

don't wash my hands for a whole week since I have touched 

your hand." So he thought finally, "It must have been 

that she liked my books or my speech." [laughter] 


AUGUST 5, 19 7 5 


WESCHLER: Despite your sighing at the number of the 
tape, we still have more of Berlin to do, it turns out. 
So we'll start on that. The first thing I just want to 
note is an addition to something which we spoke about 
before: the play at which the white mice are released 
was [Erwin] Piscator's production of All Quiet on the 
Western Front . 

FEUCHTWANGER: And it couldn't be played anymore. That was 
the first time and the last time. They were afraid of riots 
by the Nazis. 

WESCHLER: Speaking of him and of the general cultural life 
set you to thinking about some of the cafes and so forth. 
You might talk a little bit about the scene. 

FEUCHTWANGER: There was one we called the Romanisches Cafe, 
and this was on the Kurfiirsten Damm, the main street of 
Berlin, the fashionable street. There was one other main 
street which was more decorative, where the big palaces 
were and also the big castle of the Kaiser, Unter den Linden 
["Under the Lime Trees"]. But Kurfiirsten Damm was the street 
which was the lifeline of whole Berlin with best shops and 
so, and on one end was this Romanische Cafe. It seemed as 


if it was once a palace or so, and there — it looked rather 
shopworn, and this was probably the attraction for the people 
who came there. There were many kind of artists, actors, 
musicians, and writers, of course. It was like in the 
Torggelstube, only everything was bigger in Berlin. There 
were different tables where the different kinds of taste 
were sitting, the very modern or the very arrived, and on 
other tables were those who had not yet arrived and were full 
of contempt for those who had arrived, that they couldn't be 
so much because they had so much success and things like that, 
Some could change from one table to the other. We could do 
that sometimes. But some were absolutely not welcome. 
WESCHLER: Who were some of the people at each of the 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, there were writers — I don't remember so 
much the names. (And I wouldn't even mention them, because 
those who were then not very well known are now better 
known; and if I mention them only when they were not known, 
that would be very much against their — they wouldn't be very 
content: they would hear only that they were just contempt- 
ible for us and they were nobody then. But they were 
younger and some took longer to getting famous, ja. They 
are now well known in Germany, not so well known in the 
other countries, but in Germany. One is a president of 
the PEN Club, and things like that. So I couldn't name 


those people.) [laughter] 

WESCHLER: We'll let you get by, I suppose. Could you 
talk by name, though, about some of the other people who 
were there? You said that Reinhardt was there. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , Reinhardt came and all his actors were 
always there. Reinhardt was much in Austria, in Vienna, 
so he was not so often there. But for instance, who was 
regular there was Jessner, who was a big, big man. He 
was director of the State Theatres, of the Opera in Berlin, 
and of the other State Theatre which was in Weisbaden. He 
had to travel a lot from one to the other and was really 
a kind of czar of the theater. He liked to be with all 
those Bohemians, and also the actors who he was most in- 
terested in also came there-- [Oskar] Homolka, and Gerda 
Miiller, Ernst Deutch, Fritz Kortner. Gerda Miiller chided 
me when Brecht sang his ballad. She was always there, and 
the new star, Maria Koppenhofer, who was my friend and whom 
I guided when she was a beginner. Then there was Bronnen 
there, and Brecht, and Johannes Becher. He was first an 
expressionist and made poems, big poems; one was called 
"Ecrasite," and it was so outwordish--how do you call that? 
WESCHLER: Outlandish. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Outlandish, ja, that's the word. Full of 
pathos and very shrill, you know. You could hear almost 
how shrill it was, with newly coined words, almost not 


understandable, and no full — no sentences were ending, you 
know; it was almost a cry. He later was to write poems 
which were absolutely great poetry. But this was just 
the end of this period of expressionism. There was also 
Alfred Wolf enstein; he was also an expressionistic poet 
first (he had been arrested in Munich during the Ratereg - 
ierung . ) Everybody who was somebody came to this cafe. 
We were not so often there because my husband was working 
and didn't want to lose much time. But sometimes, when you 
wanted to meet somebody and it was too difficult to come 
to our house, which was a little far away, and also the 
others lived on the other side far away, so the best was 
always to meet in the cafe. That is the same as in Paris, 
and in no other city. Maybe only Vienna and Munich and 
Paris and Berlin had this kind of institution like an 
artistic cafe. 

WESCHLER: Were there any Nazis on the periphery of that 

FEUCHTWANGER: Probably there were but we didn't know them-- 
except Bronnen. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Outside of him, at the tables, were there people 
wearing armbands and so forth at the cafe? Was that part 
of that life too? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. Everybody knew each other mostly. 
Mostly they didn't like each other, but they knew each 


other. And Johannes R. Becher became later the minister 
of culture in East Germany, He was instrumental for Brecht 
becoming his theater and helping him also to make the 
theater: The Berliner Ensemble. Without his help it would 
have been impossible. He was really the protector of 
Brecht in his later years, after the Nazi time, after the 

WESCHLER: Well, we'll catch that story a little bit later 
on. In general, you've been mentioning the way in which 
the expressionism of the war period and the early twenties 
gave way to this new realism. 

FEUCHTWANGER: That was called new realism and it was against 
naturalism. That's a great difference. 
WESCHLER: What was the German name for this? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Die Neue Sachlichkeit . And Sachlichkeit is 
"facts," you know. "Give me the facts," for instance: that 
would be " Sachlich . " But it was not so much created or it 
was not so much developed against expressionism but against 
naturalism, which came after the people became a little 
tired of expressionism. And before expressionism there was 
also naturalism. There was Gerhardt Hauptmann and Ibsen 
and all those writers. But for instance Strindberg, you 
couldn't call him a naturalist. It was much more--nobody 
thought about Strindberg, although he was played a lot 
then. But nobody thought that much of it had already been 


done by Strindberg and also Wedekind in a way. But every- 
thing was more tight; it was not so expanded with so many 
words. Also what Brecht made new was that it was not 
so much spoken, but rather the gesture was first, before 
the spoken word. It went together, so it was also--every- 
thing was in a way shorter. And tighter. You couldn't 
say it was atmospheric, the mood — there were no moody plays 
like, for instance, [Anton] Chekhov or so--but it was new 
and it scratched the people. They were against it, but 
they were attracted by it. It was not a great financial 
success usually, but people ran of course into the first 
nights and spoke about it a lot. Now it's still the same 
with Brecht: he's so famous, but he isn't played so much. 
When he is played in America, it is more in the universities 
than in the theaters. And in those days it was the same. 
There was also a man with the name of Moritz Seeler. He 
was a man who had a little fortune, inherited probably; 
he was a very unassuming man, but he was just a fanatic for 
the theater, and for this new theater mostly for the new 
writers. For instance, he made Bronnen known in Berlin 
because he just created a new theater for him. He rented 
one of the good theaters and played his plays in a matinee.* 
So that most of the interesting and most revolutionary 

theater has been played in matinees, not in the evenings. 

*In her notes, Mrs. Feuchtwanger writes: "Poor little 
Moritz Seeler rented Viktor Barnowsky's theater; later the 
Nazis killed him." 


Because there were no theaters available, real theaters 
didn't accept those plays. They wouldn't have made money, 
and they wouldn't have had the audience. 

WESCHLER: What kinds of plays were in the real theaters? 
FEUCHTWANGER: The real theaters were lots of Hauptmann 
and Shakespeare and Ibsen and Strindberg. Although 
Strindberg was the one who was more modern than the others, 
or out of the way. And Wedekind was played constantly. And 
then a lot of French comedies. That was a great mode, 
I would say, or fashion, to introduce French comedies, and 
Bruno Frank translated most of them. He made more money 
with that than with his own plays. 

WESCHLER: So that oddly enough this modern life with which 
we think of in Berlin, when we think of this great night 
life of Berlin, on the contrary, was taking place at matinees? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was; it was the art which was the 
matinees or the theater. But what they called the night 
life, nobody knew about it. I was very much astonished when 
I read here about the Berlin night life, because nobody 
was interested in it. That was usually for the people who 
came from the provinces, you know, little cities, and they 
looked for the nightclubs. But it had nothing to do with 
cabaret. Because cabaret was something very literate. There 
were those great artists usually and great musicians who 
made those kinds of songs which was very new. There was 


Friedrich Hollander, who wrote the music and this song for 
Marlene Dietrich in the movie The Blue Angel , but mostly 
it was satirical and political. Those were the greatest 
adversaries of Hitler, and many of those men have been 
killed by Hitler. They were the first to have been arrested 
and put in concentration camp and killed. 
WESCHLER: Have you seen the movie Cabaret ? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, I haven't seen it. I was angry about it, 
you know, because it was... I read about it. It was so 
wrong that I didn't want to have any part of it. And also 
the novel which was the beginning of it. 
WESCHLER: Isherwood's Berlin Stories . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, Isherwood's Berlin Stories had not much 
to do with Berlin. There is an American girl and a Frenchman 
and an Englishman. Nobody knew all those cafes or whatever 
they were where they stayed; it was more or less invented. 
You should once — maybe you should interview Isherwood to 
hear about it. I never spoke with him about it, but I know 
him very well, and he is a great writer, and I admire him 
very much, also as a person, a very interesting person. 
But this was just not Berlin as the Berliners saw it; it 
was Berlin as an Englishman saw it, maybe. He wanted to 
see it like that. He went there where the hotel manager 
told the people [when they asked] , "Well, where should I go 
tonight?" But the Berlin people didn't go there. Then the 


foreigners went — they made those things for foreigners, 
and the Berlin people were very contemptuous about all this 
kind of stuff and they were not interested also. For in- 
stance, Munich was more like that during the time around 
1900 when they imitated the Paris of the Grand Guignol in 
Munich, Wedekind and Thomas Mann, and they had this kind of 
Simplicissimus and Serenissimus and the Eleven Hangmen, 
as one was called, Elf Scharf richter or the Ueberbrettle 
(Bretter-Stage) . This was much more sexy in a way, because 

it was so new for Munich. But in Berlin I know only that 
the people who wanted to see sexy things or live something 
like that, see something, they went to Paris. Then they 
spoke about that and they said, "Isn't it a pity that in 
Berlin you can't find that?" [laughter] 

WESCHLER: How about film? You haven't talked at all about 
film. First of all I wanted to ask you whether you knew 
any of the great giants of the Berlin film scene. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , I knew Fritz Lang, but he was very busy 
always, and we didn't see him often. But I saw his movies 
there. And I saw here again Metropolis , and I was amazed: 
it was just, it was so strikingly modern--except for the girl 
who has such a little red mouth (no, it wasn't red — it 
was not in the colors--but it looked so very little, this 
mouth, and she looked so silly) ; she was later on very 
idealistic, and you had to take it because it was in those 


times. But all the other things, the architecture 
(Fritz Lang studied architecture before he was a movie 
man) and all those masses, and how he moved the masses: 
that was absolutely one of the first-class modern movies, of 
which there are not many. And the other things were abso- 
lutely new in the way he made people frighten. He could 
make people frighten, like in M with Peter Lorre, because 
he never showed any violence on the film. But you felt 
it, that it had happened. You didn't need to see it: it 
was much more frightening because you didn't see it. He 
was greater than I realized in those days, when I see it now, 
WESCHLER: Today there is a great controversy as to whether 
film is an art form. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I'm sure it is an art form. 
WESCHLER: What I'm wondering is whether the film makers 
were considered part of the artistic community in Berlin 
at that time. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, not so much. It was not considered art 
in those days. Fritz Lang or Jean Renoir, they made art 
against their will, I could almost say: they couldn't do 
otherwise. It was in them. They did it because they — and 
then also they had success, but other small men didn't 
have those success. For instance, [Friedrich Wilhelm] 
Murnau was one of the greater, and I don't remember the 
others — [Carl] Mayer, I think, was one. They made big 


movies and very modern movies also--but they were for 
the smaller audience. But Renoir had this great success 
with Grand Illusion . 
WESCHLER: With Erich Von Stroheim. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. This was, of course, a great sen- 
sation, all the time and with everybody. But this was just 
so great and so new and so interesting and so humane, also, 
that it had to be a great success. But the other great 
movies were much more in a way like the Italian movies, 
like Dino de Laurentiis, with lots of people. 
WESCHLER: Spectacles. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , spectacles. 

WESCHLER: Were the film makers like Fritz Lang looked 
down upon by the rest of the theater people and so forth? 
Was there much intercourse between them? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, but, you know, those people they had not 
such a great staff like they have here. They had to do 
so much themselves, they didn't have time to mingle with 
the other people. Either they were great men, and then 
they had no time, or they were Bohemians who worked from 
time to time. But when they were great, they couldn't 
mingle with the others: they just didn't have the time. 
WESCHLER: But were they respected? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of course. Ja , ja. And also Jessner, 
who was a theater director, made films which were absolutely 


new in those times, because he worked with stairs. So that 
when the heroine had to go down the stairs, very slowly or so, 
or they had to run up — it was absolutely new, a stair in a 
film in those days. He played with the stairs, you know, and 
that made him famous. It was new. There was an actress, 
Henny Porten, and with her — she was very famous, but everybody 
laughed about her because whe was so bland for us. But he made 
a great actress out of her. And then there was Asta Nielsen, 
this famous actress. Did you ever hear about her? She was a 
Swedish actress, and she played Fraulein Julia by Strindberg. 
It was fantastic, just fantastic; I could never forget her. 
She played with William Dieterle, who was Jean, the servant. 
She was the daughter of a great estate; her father had a great 
estate. They fell in love with each other, but he was married 
in the film with Lucie Hoflich, the cook (she was one of the 
great actresses in those times) . William Dieterle played with 
Asta Nielsen this part of Jean, and later Dieterle came here 
and was the best paid movie director of his time. 
WESCHLER: Where were films shown? Were there many theaters? 
FEUCHTWANTER: Yes, there were great theaters. In those 
times they looked great, for us; now they would be small 
theaters probably. The best were always shown in the 
theater on the zoo, the film theater on the zoo. There was 
a big zoo there. I remember the zoo was not great shakes but 
the movie theater was good. [laughter] 


WESCHLER: Were there many theaters in Berlin? 
FEUCHTVJANGER: Oh yes, not so many as now, because people 
didn't go to the movies so much. They went more to the 
real theater. Germany was a theater people. It was more 
because it was cheaper than the theater that they went there, 
WESCHLER: Talking German film, one has to talk about The 
Blue Angel. Did that make a great impact when it came out? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Enormously, ja, enormously. Mostly about 
Marlene Dietrich who sang. She was first in a cabaret; 
she sang in a cabaret. This kind of artist--she was like 
she was in this play. She sang in plays, but only in 
an elegant role, an elegant dress. Very elegant, like 
she still is now. She was one of the most famous diseuses , 
they were called, you know, singing and speaking. So 
this was what was in the cabarets. And there was another 
one who was just the contrary; she was very long and thin 
and blond. And she married later the actor who played with 
Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel . She was more humoristic, 
WESCHLER; What was her name? 
FEUCHTWANGER: [Gussy] Holl. 

WESCHLER: What did Heinrich Mann think of The Blue Angel ? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Well, of course, he was very enthusiastic. 
I was not very happy with the man who was in the novel 
Professor Unrat. I In the novel], he was a small and 
rather micric man, you know, and lEmil] Jannings was so 


tall. I was very much — I thought it was not like in the 

novel. I was wrong because he was a great actor and he 

persuaded people who didn't know the novel. His impression 

was very — he made a great impression. So it was absolutely 

right probably to take him because he was a great actor, 

instead of taking one who would look more like the man in 

the novel and wouldn't be a great actor. But I was not 

so versed in movie art in those days. 

WESCHLER: And Heinrich Mann was completely satisfied? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was very satisfied, ja. And don't forget 

[ The Cabinet of ] Dr . Caligari , with Werner Kraus and Conrad 

Veidt, camera Carl Freund. 

WESCHLER: Before we leave the subject of movies, I just wanted 

to make sure we include the nice little story of Fritz Lang 

as a moneylender. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, I met Helli [Weigel] on the street by 

chance. We had just come out from the subway. Fritz Lang 

didn't live far away from our house, and she said, "I've 

just come from Fritz Lang. I needed some money." 

[laughter] And he gave it to her, of course. They were old 

friends from Vienna. 

WESCHLER: Okay. Moving on to a different facet of the 

new realism. Die Neue Sachlichkeit , I wanted to talk a little 

bit about the Bauhaus , and how you responded to that. 

First of all, how did the Bauhaus architecture make 


itself felt in Berlin? Were there exhibitions? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Most of the architects imitated Gropius 

and his Bauhaus style. The modern architects. I was a 

very good friend of one of them who wanted to build a house 

for my husband--not for money, but because he wanted 

that he could say, "I built the house for Lion Feuchtwanger . " 

But we couldn't get together. 

WESCHLER: What was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: [Henri] Rosenthal. He was very good, and 

he built beautiful houses for certain people who fitted 

in it. But I couldn't come together with his way. We 

were very good friends, and he didn't mind that I did not. 

I had no architect, no inner architect. I did it all by 

myself. And he thought from what I did — he couldn't say, 

of course — probably, maybe, he didn't like it at all, but 

he wouldn't say it because we were good friends. He was 

a little disappointed, but we were still friends also 


WESCHLER: You might talk a little bit about your house 

in this context. To what extent was it influenced by the 

Bauhaus, your own design for the house? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I could say it looked a little like the house 

of your grandfather [Ernst Toch (811 Franklin St., Santa 

Monica)]. That's true, it was a little bit the style. 

WESCHLER: So on the outside were the same kinds of austere. 


lean lines. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, very simple. Only it was a little 

higher; it had a higher roof because under the roof was 

the roof garden. The maid also had her room there. But 

I liked the house of your grandfather better because I 

liked that it was low, and our house was a little higher. 

But it was necessary, and also the house we had was almost 

finished from outside, the walls were finished, and to 

change the whole style would have been too complicated. 

It was already expensive enough, so we didn't have too 

much money left for it. But I can only say that I liked 

the house of your grandfather better. But our house 

was much bigger and had more room. And I liked the landscape. 

WESCHLER: Were you influenced by the Bauhaus on the inside 

of the house? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. Only it was maybe influenced — but I 

don't think I was influenced, it was already my taste anyway-- 

to have everything very simple. In those days they had 

still wallpaper, very busy wallpaper, and I hated that. 

And also that every room had to have another color: that 

was a had-to-be, you know, other colors in the whole, the 

carpeting and everything. I had mostly very light colors, a 

little bit shaded, upstairs; it was more golden, like the 

sun--it was not gold, it was very light yellow. I always 

told the architect it should look like the sun shines. 


because Berlin is a very drab city, and never much, very 
rarely any sun in the winter. So from inside, I said, it 
has to give sunshine. And he was--he only looked at me and 
said, "I [will] do that the same with my other houses." 
And then I didn't want doors; I wanted open walls so you 
could see from one room into the other, and it would look 
almost like one room. It was around the corner, so it was 
not a long apartment, but it was one long, big room, you 
could say. And then the shelves were built in — of course, 
that was also new. The newer style of the shelves had every- 
thing inside, for instance, the typewriter and all those 
things; you couldn't see them except somebody was writing 
on it. You could put the whole typewriter inside so it would 
disappear. Also I had bought only antique furniture which 
I found in those secondhand stores in the seamy part of 
Berlin, and I found a lot of very beautiful rugs, real 
antique Persian rugs which people threw out because they 
were a little faded (what was just the value of them) . 
But people wanted strong colors and so, you know, and they 
preferred the imitated. 

WESCHLER: You had already had very nice rugs in Munich. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, I inherited from my mother. One was a 
very big Smyrna carpet, a rug which was light gray and 
light blue. Almost the whole room was covered with it. 
And then in Munich, just before I left, at an auction. 


I bought a Sarouk, which is a very rare Persian rug. It 
fitted so well to the whole landscape because it was light 
red and a little yellow, beige with yellow in it, I paid 
$600 for it, and it was a lot of money for my mind, but 
when the director of the museum in Munich (who was kind 
of the hero of Success ) , when he came to see us in Berlin, 
when he saw this carpet he swallowed for admiration; he 
couldn't believe it, something like that. He said, "If 
you had paid $6,000 for it, it would not have been too 
much." So I was very proud about that. Most of all, I 
didn't care if something was valuable or not; I just wanted 
that it fits with the other things. And also the cupboards 
and all that: the chest of drawers were beautiful old 
wood and treated, not like in the Bauhaus with washable 
tops or so, which I hated, those plastic things--it was 
absolutely new then, and many people took it for granted 
that it has to be like that. But I couldn't get the taste of 
it. Then we had corner cupboards. The top was with 
glass and below it was a little bigger, and then we had 
also our old silver in it, because my husband and I, mostly 
I was.... My father was the only heir of this old silver 
in the family. His things were so rare that during the 
war of 1812, which was called the Liberation War, against 
Napoleon, everybody had to bring their silver to be melted 
into money. But they didn't accept those things; there was a 


special stamp on it that it wasn't accepted because it was 

too valuable. And those things we had all in those cupboards. 

WESCHLER: What was the general layout? I understand that 

you designed the layout of the house largely for Lion's 

use. How did that actually work out? How were the rooms 


FEUCHTWANGER: The biggest room, which usually is called 

the drawing room, was his study. But when he wasn't 

working, it looked like a drawing room because with one 

turn of the hand you could hide the typewriter. Most 

important was a very big table which came from a monastery. 

Probably it was Gothic; it was absolutely without any 

ornament, only straight, and very big and broad, Arnold 

Zweig writes about it in a sketch [ Uber Schrif tsteller ] , 

about how he walked always from his house to our house through 

the landscape instead of going around through the city. 

And he always said it was the best time of his life there, 

where we met each other sometimes in the middle and then 

we went either to our house or to his house, and back and 

forth all the time. And he mentions this table. 

WESCHLER: One other thing you told me about before we 

turned on the tape was your bedroom, which sounded like that 

of a princess. 

FEUCHTWANGER: [laughter] Ja , it was a little crazy, but 

it was so simple also; the lines were so simple. I found 


two antique beds which were mahogany; the design of their 
wood was called "Flame." And I wanted one king-sized 
bed made out of it, and that was not even expensive because 
those antique people had always carpenters to fix their 
things. One of those carpenters put them together, and 
it was easy because the flame was just the same on the 
two beds. Then as this bed was standing.... I took off the 
legs so it was very low, and I put it on a step. The 
step was much broader and larger than the bed itself, so 
you had to step up, and it was like to go to a throne. And 
I did something which was absolutely unfashionable anymore, 
in those times: it had a canopy which was made out of raw 
silk. On four sides there were curtains, but they never 
were closed, they were just hanging on the columns. But 
it looked so good together. It had a unity; it made a 
unity with the bed. The architect, who wanted to be also 
more modern--he wasn't so modern like Rosenthal was-- 
but he said, "How can you do that, make a canopy?" I said, 
"I just like it." [laughter] 

WESCHLER: You were telling me about some responses of some 
other architects, particularly the Bauhaus architects, to 
your house. 

FEUCHTWANGER: First came Ellen Frank, who was the sister- 
in-law of Gropius, the sister of Mrs. Gropius. She came 
with her friend Moholy-Nagy, who designed for her a very 


modern apartment. She was absolutely for Bauhaus and 
all those things. When she came--we were very good friends-- 
she said, "I don't think that Gropius would like that." 
She came with her friend Moholy-Nagy. He was very famous; 
he's still a very famous painter. Also here at the 
Gropius exhibition there were his paintings. But he was a 
Hungarian, so when he made great compliments, I didn't 
believe it, because I knew the Hungarians are always very 
courteous to women. So I thought he would never say 
anything what could displease me, and I was still very 
apprehensious when Gropius would come. But he came someday 
for tea with his wife, and he said, "That's absolutely 
charming, like you did that. It is so much for Lion. It 
fits to him, and that's what's most important." That's 
what also later [Richard] Neutra told me when I met him 
here; he said that when he builds the houses, and also 
the inside, he has to know the people before it. Also 
even speak with them and eat with them and stay with them. 
So Gropius said, "This is a house which couldn't be other- 
wise for Lion Feuchtwanger . " And also I insisted that it 
should be empty; in those days they had still very crowded 
houses. It was rather empty. Furniture only on the walls — 
in the middle there was nothing. I had no love seat or 
something like that. The middles were always like here in 
this house, a little bit empty. And so the whole thing looked 


much bigger than it really was. 

WESCHLER: I'd like little character portraits of both 
Moholy-Nagy and then Gropius . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, Moholy-Nagy was always very enthusiastic 
of everything, very vivacious and very charming. He was 
not so good looking, but Gropius was a wonderful-looking 
man. But you forgot when you were with Moholy-Nagy that 
he was not good looking because he was so sympathetic and 
so open-minded and hearty. But Gropius was tall and very 
serious looking; he looked almost like a sculpture, like 
a Gothic sculpture. He wouldn't make any compliments if 
he didn't believe it or so. He wouldn't say anything 
against his own taste. And I felt really great--! grew 
high--when he told me that it was the right thing to do. 
WESCHLER: Was this at the time when he was married to Alma 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, it was after that. Ja, that was his 
wife who still is alive [Ise Frank]. She was here in 
Pasadena; she came here when the big Gropius exhibition was 
here. And she even brought up for a while the daughter 
which Alma Mahler had with Gropius [Manon] . The daughter 
always came for half a year to their house. She died 
young. She was very beautiful, the daughter of Gropius 
and Alma. She died of poliomyelitis. [Carl] Zuckmayer 
was--she was very much younger than Zuckmayer, but he 


wanted to marry her; he was very much in love with her. 
He told me so. [tape stopped] 

The garden was very small in a way. There were big 
pine trees, enormous pine trees. Some I had to take out, 
which was--my heart was bleeding, but there was no room 
for a lawn or so. But I was so proud when I first came; 
the first night I was there in the house, I said, "This 
is my tree." And then I had to take it out. The garden 
was a small lawn, and there was a weeping willow in one 
corner, and underneath was a basin for the swimming turtle, 
or the water turtle. And then it went again slowly down 
and directly into the Grunewald, directly into the forest, 
so you didn't--the garden looked enormous because you didn't 
see a fence. There was a fence, but it was invisible, so 
it looked without any borders. The terrace of the garden 
was a stone garden, in a way, with those low plants, and from 
there you could see the deer going around and it was 
absolutely.... It was a Naturschutzpark , what you call 
here, like the Grand Canyon. 
WESCHLER: A national park. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was a national park, ja. Protected. 
It couldn't be built or sold or so. And from there, we 
went directly from the garden always with our coach down into 
the woods and made our jogging around the little lake which 
was not far away. We could run around the lake, and this 


lake was very beautiful with water lilies. In the summer 
I had a horse there, rented a horse there. I could swim 
in summer, and in winter I could skate there. The only thing 
was that sometimes came a man there who was a maniac, an 
exhibitionist and so. I was always there very early when 
nobody was there. But I thought — I was not afraid of him; 
it was just not pleasant to have him around. I wasn't 
afraid. I didn't think about that it could happen that 
he was armed or have a weapon. I just thought I would take 
care of him if he tries something. [laughter] [tape 

WESCHLER: Well, having relooked at Berlin — and no doubt 
I have a feeling we will continue to look at it again 
occasionally--let ' s for the time being return to where we 
left off, which is with Lion in America in 1932-33. Do 
you have any other memories of his time in America? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. The only thing which I remember which 
I forgot the last time was that he was invited in Chicago 
by a man who was a very rich man. As it turned out later, 
he was an Englishman and a member of parliament before. 
He married into the Swift family. That's why he was so 
rich. He lived in a big palace, a kind of palace, and there 
was a whole apartment for guests, and this apartment was 
at the disposal of my husband. With separate servants 
also. He gave a big party for my husband and invited all 


the great bankers and merchants and industrialists. They 
were very curious what my husband would say, what was 
his impression. But my husband always liked to hear 
others, what others say, so then he turned the conversation 
around to their things, their interests. And he found out 
how terribly depressed they all were. One of the great 
merchants told him, "It is probably now the end of capital- 
ism. There is no way out of this Depression." It was in 
'32, during the [Herbert] Hoover government. But they 
were not — my husband said the funny thing was that they 
were not afraid and also not hateful. They were just 
depressed. And without hope. 

WESCHLER: How did Lion compare the Depression in the United 
States to the Depression in Germany? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, it was ideal. [laughter] In comparison 
you know. Nobody he [met], of course, was hungry. But 
he heard afterwards many people died under the bridges 
because they have died of starvation. 

WESCHLER: You are saying that in the United States it was 
worse than in Germany? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, no, no. He found it just incompre- 
hensible how well the people lived here. But later on 
he heard--also because he inquired about it (he only was 
invited by the rich people, but he was interested how 
other people lived) --and then he heard that many died under 


the bridges. It was not like now that people had been 
helped by the government. The only thing was that he saw 
people standing on streets for hot soup, standing in line 
for hot soup. It was like the Quakers or whatever that 
was. But it was not like now with insurances. In those 
days everybody was already thinking about Roosevelt, who 
was already elected in the fall, but he was not yet in- 
stalled, and they had great hopes. That's the only thing 
which they said: "Maybe Roosevelt will bring a new life 
in our country." Which also was realized then. But that 
was the only hope they had. 

This man where he was invited had married into the 
Swift packing family. This is a very funny thing, because 
when we bought the house here, this house, the daughter 
of this man was married with a German count who lived up here 
on the hill. And we found out later on that they were 

WESCHLER: I see. What was his name? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Count Ostheim. 

WESCHLER: The man who married into the Swift family, what 
was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know. I wasn't here and my husband 
didn't tell me the name because it wouldn't have made any 
sense for me. He just said he married into the Swift 


WESCHLER: Okay. Let's continue with Lion in America. 
Under what circumstances did he hear of Hitler's becoming 

FEUCHTWANGER: He probably read it in the newspaper--no, no. 
I think I told you already the story. 
WESCHLER: You told me but not the tape. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, I see. He was invited in Washington by 
the German ambassador, who gave a banquet for him. He 
invited many people, also many senators, and they all 
wanted to know from my husband what he thinks about 
politics and what happened in Germany, if he is optimistic 
or pessimistic about the whole thing. And my husband only 
said, "Hitler means war. If ever he came to power. Hitler 
means war. " And the next morning there was a headline in 
the newspapers in Washington, "Feuchtwanger says, 'Hitler 
means war.'" He sent me all the newspapers, but they were 
lost when we had to flee from France. And the next morning, 
the ambassador called my husband at his hotel and said, 
"Don't fall out of your bed. Hitler came to power." He was 
a Count [Friedrich] von Prittwitz [und Goffron] and he 
said, "I don't go back. I don't want to have to do anything 
with Hitler. I have my family in Austria, and I'm going to 
Austria from here, because I don't want to stay on as his 
ambassador." That's what he did. And then they heard 
about that and shot him down with his plane over Germany. 


WESCHLER: In 1933, at this time? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Already in 1933, ja. 


AUGUST 5, 1975 

WESCHLER: Lion is in Washington, D.C., saying some out- 
landish things about Hitler which are not going to help 
things at all for you. 

FEUCHTWANTER: Ja , ja, really, that's true. Of course, he 
was interviewed about Hitler the next day and he said that 
he thinks Hitler is absolutely ridiculous and he cannot 
\anderstand his effect on the people, his power over the people, 
Hitler doesn't even know his own language, because in the 
book. My Struggle , he made as many grammatical mistakes as 
there were words. And this was immediately printed also in 
the German newspapers. That was the reason why they invaded 
our house and plxondered it and ruined it, and also that I 
was in danger, and when I wanted to go back to save something, 
I couldn't go back. They wouldn't have looked for me when 
I was skiing if it wasn't the reason that they read about 
that. It was all over the whole Germany and all the news- 

WESCHLER: You were in Sankt Anton. 
FEUCHTWANGER: I was in Sankt Anton. 

WESCHLER: Okay. How many days after Hitler came to power 
was your house invaded? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know. I wasn't there. I had also 
no news about it. A great time later, our maid and also 


our coach wrote us letters, but they had to be very careful, 
of course. The maid or her husband, who was our gardener 
and at the same time also the maintenance man of the 
house, he wrote us what happened. I had had his mother 
coming from Silesia because it was so cold there. We had 
room for her in the basement apartment, and I--he always 
told me how terrible cold it is there, so I told him, "Let 
your mother come. She can live here with you." And then, 
when the Nazis came, they asked him how he was treated by 
the Feuchtwangers, and he said, "Oh, I couldn't find 
better people to work for." And then they began to beat 
him because he said that, very seriously, and then they said, 
"And now we shoot you." (That's what he wrote us.) They 
brought him out into the garden to shoot him. His mother and 
his wife were still in the house, and they heard shots. But 
he was very nimble, and he escaped in the night. He knew 
where to go directly into the woods, into the forest. They 
followed him, but they didn't find him. It was night, and 
a dark night it was. But his wife and his mother thought 
that he was dead. For days. He didn't go back, and he also 
didn't telephone or so; he was afraid he could endanger 
them. Later on, after some time, he was with relatives of 
his wife, and then he wrote me and told me all that. And 
also the coach of my husband, of both of us, he wrote al- 
ways letters. How he did that, without being in danger. 


we didn't know, but he wrote not only about my husband's 
new exercises he had to make (and explained them very 
thoroughly) , but he also informed us always what happened 
with our house, what they plundered. He went always back 
to the house to look. Right after the war we had also a 
correspondence with him. 

WESCHLER: What did happen with the house? Actually, 

FEUCHTVJANGER: They stole everything out, first of all. 
We had something absolutely new that even the Berliners 
didn't have--those indirect lightings in the ceiling, 
built in. I did that: I heard about it, that they do it 
in America, and I tried as good as I could. I designed 
the v/hole thing myself, and also what came from America, 
absolutely new in a very modern shop. There were indirect 
lamps like this one which the light going up. That was 
not known in Berlin. And those things they immediately 
took away. In every room we had those floor lamps. And 
then we had a new cleaner for the carpets, which was very 
new with hot, damp water, a steamer — it was absolutely new; 
you could with that clean the carpets and the rugs--and also 
a vacuum cleaner. All those things, they took: whatever 
was movable, they took out. But they left the books; 
most of the books they left at first. And so Kahn-Bieker, 
who was an assistant of my husband for research, he could 


come; he went there and he took some of the very good books 

out and sent them by mail to Sanary. Just like that. 

WESCHLER: And they arrived? 

FEUCHTWANGER: But when the second time came and he wanted 

to take some more books out, there were already the seals 

there and he couldn't go in anymore. Also the rugs and 

all that he couldn't take out. He thought he could save 

that. He was very fresh, you know; he took just a taxi and 

said, "You take that out of the house; they are friends 

of mine." And he took them out. He wanted the next time-- 

he said, "Tomorrow we come and take all the rugs out." 

But it was already sealed. He couldn't take out anything 


WESCHLER: You've said in a different context that you 

believe that some of the books that you later purchased 
here in America were from the original library. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, that's true. Some of the most valuable 
books. We had no bookplate in them or name or so, so they 
could not sell them. They sold them in an auction, I heard. 
Very cheap. I only hope that the books came in the right 
hands, I always say. But then it seems that some of the 
books came to the great book dealers, antique-book dealers. 
They sold us books, and my husband said, "It seems to me that 
this one I owned already before." They were so rare. It 
was not very possible that there were more of them. 


WESCHLER: What later became of the house itself? Do you 
have any idea? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I heard that a Count [von Witzleben] lived 
in the house for a while. He was a great admirer of my 
husband, and he talked to somebody whom he knew was going 
to France, and he said, "If you see Mr. Feuchtwanger , tell 
him that I'm very proud to live in his house, and he will 
be the first to get back his house when he comes back." 
But this man died afterwards, I think, and then it was some 
simple people who lived there. I don't know what they 
were. I only heard by my lawyer that they were living there, 
and it was difficult to get the house back [even though] 
we had the right to get the house back. 
WESCHLER: The house survived the war. 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was like this: the lawyer was a swindler, 
the lawyer we had.* The German secretary [Lola Sernau- 
Humm] , who lived in Switzerland, discovered--she didn't 
discover him. She discovered a good lawyer [Walter Braun] . 
And he left for Israel--he lived in Israel--and he wrote me 
that he gave his whole practice, his whole business, to a 
younger man who was a Gentile. He couldn't sell it anymore; 
he just gave it to him. He heard later from other people 
who also worked with this man that he became a swindler. 
He wasn't before; either it was because he was afraid of 

*Mrs. Feuchtwanger chose not to name this lawyer, partly 
"out of fear of a libel action." 


the Nazis or so.... Anyway, he told us when [we demanded] 
the right to restitution that the house was bombed, that 
we couldn't get anything out of the house. Then he wrote 
another letter and said he heard that the house was damaged 
and it costs $15,000 before we get the house back because 
the people who lived there paid for this damage, $15,000, 
and if we wanted the house back, we have to restitute this 
money. And then, and all those kinds--it seems to me that 
he was paid by some underlings in the German government. 
The higher-ups were very good: [Konrad] Adenauer, who 
was then the prime minister and president, and all those 
people wanted to really. . . . But there were people who 
sabotaged the whole thing, lower officials. 
WESCHLER: Was that common, do you think, this kind of 
lower sabotage? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, no. It was common when people didn't 
find out, I mean, but many people found out later. They 
had lawyers here in America who found out what happened 
there. But we trusted this man because the secretary of 
my husband went to Berlin, from Switzerland--my husband 
had to pay for the trip and for her clothes which she need- 
ed--and she was with this lawyer, and she told my husband 
that he's a very good lawyer. But, you know, the funny 
thing was that neither she nor the lawyer were ever in 
the house or looked at the house. Not even the secretary 


who went for my husband looked at the house. We had here 
Mr. [Eric] Scudder — you probably heard the name, Mr. Scudder, 
who is also a great protector of music, of [Henri] Temianka, 
of the Music Center and all that; he died last year, very 
old, over eighty — and he went to Europe with his wife for 
a trip. He was in Paris and he said, "Let's go to Berlin 
and look what happened to the house of Mr. Feuchtwanger . " 
(Because he made our will. Later, when my husband has 
died, he gave me advice with money and so. As a friend.) 
He said, "Let's go to Berlin, look at the house." So he 
went to the lawyer and said, "I would like to see the house 
of Mr. Feuchtwanger." Then the lawyer said, "I don't know 
where it is. I'll have to look it up." So Mr. Scudder 
found out that our lawyer had never even looked at the house. 
WESCHLER: What was the name of your lawyer in Germany? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Skruppa or something like that. And then we 
heard later that he was really a swindler. I heard it 
from the consulate here, that we were not the only ones who 
he swindled. It seems that with all what had to be 
evaluated, he got money from those people when he made it 
very low. So he vas paid double, paid by us, and.... And 
he had not even the right, which I was told later by the 
consul here, to ask for that. All those restitution things 
had to be done for nothing. The government paid for it in 
a certain sum. But we had to pay always 10 percent for 


everything what he got for restitution for us, and then the 
German secretary got 10 percent because she said she made 
it with the lawyer, and then both didn't say that the 
house--the house was not even mentioned in the restitution. 
So there was here a society who took care of things which 
were lost where the people were dead already, when they 
didn't know to whom something belonged; and they heard 
about it, that the house is still there, and nobody was 
taking care of it, and nobody paid for it. So they came 
to me--J.R.S.A. [Jewish Restitution Successor Organization] 
or something like that--and said, "You know that the house 
has never been asked for as a remuneration." And then they 
said, "We can do the necessary--we can do it with our 
organization, but we have to ask 25 percent because this 
money doesn't go into our organization, it is used for 
other people who had the same trouble." And of course we 
were very--we liked to pay for that and so 45 percent we 
lost from our money. 

WESCHLER: But you did eventually get some money from them. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, we got some money, but only because 
this lawyer here wrote this lawyer in Berlin what happened 
and asked why did he never look. He had said first that 
the whole house was destroyed, and then he said $15,000 
had to be paid--that was all not true. There was just some 
burning of the winter garden. The house beside was absolutely 


destroyed, very near our house. And there came some sparks 
on the roof, and there was some damage on the roof and in 
the winter garden--that was all. 

WESCHLER: Were you near anything that would have been a 
military target? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, no, it was far out. Like in Bel-Air, 
there wouldn't be any military target. That's why it 
was not also in any great danger in a way. But the house 
in the neighborhood was an enormous big house, like a 
palace; this maybe was standing out, and it has been de- 
stroyed. And I heard that some sparks from this big house 
came to our house, to the roof of our house. 
WESCHLER: Well, when you went back to Berlin, did you 
ever visit the house? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, I didn't want to see it anymore. I was 
very near to it, because there was a big party given for me 
in a castle which was always the castle of the guests of 
the kaiser. There they gave a big... but I didn't.... 
I could have come there, but I just didn't want to see 
it anymore. 

WESCHLER: Well, w^'ll hear about the party when we get 
there. Right now I'd like to return. We still have a 
problem with Lion in Washington, D.C., and you in Sankt 
FEUCHTWANGER: But I still have to finish that story 


with the house and the lawyer: later on, I got a letter 
from the lawyer. He said he doesn't work anymore with 
Lola, with the secretary, because she is a terrible person; 
she sort of blackmailed him and all kinds of stuff. And 
then she wrote me a letter that said she couldn't — that this 
lawyer is a swindler. All of a sudden — at first they were 
so good friends. We couldn't know; we couldn't find out 
what happened. Anyway we had to be satisfied with the 
little money we got. It was better than nothing, we always 
said. We didn't--at first we gave up every hope to get any- 
thing out of it. 

WESCHLER: Okay. As I said, we have you in Sankt Anton 
and Lion in Washington, D.C. How do you two get together? 
FEUCHTWANGER: He came directly to Paris by ship, to France. 
And from Paris he came to Sankt Anton. 

WESCHLER: Did he leave immediately when Hitler came to 
power? Did he cut his trip short, or was he leaving any- 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, no, it was finished anyway, because when 
he arrived in Washington, it was the end of his trip. Ja, 

WESCHLER: So what happened then? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Then we met in Sankt Anton. He arrived in 
Sankt Anton, but I didn't know the day. It was early in the 
morning. He came on the night train, Paris-Constantinople, 


I think it was. You know, there are so many novels about 


WESCHLER: The Istanbul Express. 

FEUCHTWANGER: The Orient Express. That was it. And this 

Express goes through Sankt Anton. So he came and with his 

luggage, all of a sudden, he was standing outside my room. 

I was living under the roof in the same house where Leni 

Riefenstahl lived. Then he said we have to find a room. 

And then he went, of course — he always lived in a Grand Hotel, 

he wouldn't do it otherwise--so we went directly from my 

little room into the Grand Hotel. [laughter] And then came 

Eva Boy [nee Rommel]. 

That's what I wanted also to speak about Berlin. There 
was a young girl whom we met when she was almost a child 
in Munich. She became a dancer. Her mother was very great 
friend of [Walter] Hasenclever, of the writer Hasenclever 
who later was lying beside my husband in the concentration 
camp and then took sleeping pills. She was always — in 
Munich already we were friends, and then she came to Berlin 
to see us. Sometimes she was very despondent because nothing 
would happen to her dancing. Finally she married a Dutch 
man, who also was in Munich at first, a very rich man, 
[Anthony] van Hoboken. That is a great shipbuilder family 
from Holland. They married in our house; no, it was not 
so much--it was a betrothal dinner in our house. She was 


always aroiond when sometimes we came and went, and when we 
were in Amalfi, when we made this Italian trip, she came to 
Amalfi and told us about the reception of the novel Success . 
We didn't know even anything, she told us what happened about 
Success . My husband, when he finished a book, he didn't care 
anymore what happened. He was already thinking about Flavius 
Josephus; he wanted to write. When I furnished the house, 
and finished the house, I couldn't take care of Lion. Also I 
was never at home; I had to supervise the workmen. So I said 
the best would be for him to go away with Eva Boy and Kahn- 
Bieker, his research assistant. So they went to the south, 
to the Worther See, that is; before it was Austrian, and then 
it became Jugoslavisch . They were there and I was glad that 
he couldn't hear all those workmen hammering and all the 
terrible things to undergo which happened in a new house. But 
he came back too early. He ceime back. He said he just wanted 
to be back. It was still all full of workmen, and then came 
the books. When the books came, the secretary said she is now 
so tired that she has to take a vacation; but the whole time 
when he was away, she had already vacation. So, as I told you, 
my friend, Maria Kuntz , she helped Lion put the books in the 
shelves. It was quite some work to do. 

WESCHLER: Anyway, so this friend showed up at Sankt Anton. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Eva Boy, and van Hoboken, her husband. She 
became also a writer. Later on, she became a patron of 


Japanese art and also Etruskisch art; they did a lot of 
those things in Switzerland; they had a big house there. 
Her husband, whom we knew before she knew him, was living 
in Nymphenburg. That is a big castle, a whole big castle, 
royal castle. And he had one aile , one wing of the great 
Nymphenburg castle. During the revolution he was there. He 
was very rich, and the communists came to him, and the aris- 
tocrats came to him--everybody came to him because there was 
always something to eat in his house. He was a playboy 
then and had big festivals all the time, and the writer 
Oskar Maria Graf writes about in his book We Were Prisoners 
[Wir sind Gefangene ] . He writes about all this time. And 
this man later became a very famous musicologist and is 
even more famous now. He wrote the first complete catalog 
about Haydn. 

WESCHLER: What is his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: His name is [Anthony] van Hoboken, and he 
married that Eva Boy. And before they were married, we 
were in Italy, and then she came--what I told you--and brought 
the news about Success . 

WESCHLER: And she came and saw you at Sankt Anton. 
FEUCHTWANGER: She came with her husband. Then she was 
already married. She came with van Hoboken to Sankt Anton. 
And also Brecht. 
WESCHLER: Had Brecht already decided that he would be in 


Scandinavia primarily in exile, or was he still looking 

for a place to go? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, he was — I think he went back to Germany. 

No, he didn't go back to Germany. I think he went to Austria 

then. And then he didn't go to Sweden right away. His 

friend Karin Michaelis, who was a great Danish writer, invited 

him and his wife and his children to stay in her residence; 

it was a big estate. But then he had to flee there too, 

because the Nazis invaded Denmark, and he had to flee like 

the Jews who had to flee then. 

WESCHLER: At that time that he was in Sankt Anton, had he 

already decided that he would be going there? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, yes — he couldn't stay a day in Germany, you 

know. But his secretary, Elizabeth Hauptmann, was there, and 

she saved everything, even the big chair which he had from me. 

Everything was saved for him. He had a house in Utting, on 

the Ammersee in Bavaria, and this was sold also. His father 

lived in Augsburg, and his brother [Walther] was there. They 

didn't have to flee. But he wanted to; he couldn't stay 

there. First of all, his wife was Jewish — Helene Weigel 

was Jewish — but also with his ideas on communism, he couldn't 

have stayed a day. 

WESCHLER: You said his father was still in Augsburg. Did he 

stay there the whole war? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, of course, what should he do? He was a 


German manufacturer of paper, a director of the paper 


WESCHLER: Was he abused at all? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, nobody knew [about his son] exactly. 

You know, in Augsburg, they were very well known — but all 

his friends were not Jewish in Augsburg, and nobody knew 

about his work, also they didn't know about his political 

interests. So his father was not bothered; neither was 

his brother, who was an engineer later. I was with his 

brother, skiing sometimes. 

WESCHLER: Getting back to Lion, who was not as fortunate 

in getting his things out, his papers.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, nothing at all, nothing. 

WESCHLER: Were there any attempts to get — I believe he had 

a manuscript still? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, the manuscript has been destroyed. 

WESCHLER: Which manuscript was it? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The second part of Flavius Josephus [ Die 

Sohne ] , which was called The Jew of Rome, I think, in 

English. In every country they had other titles, in England 

other titles than in America, but I think it was The Jew 

of Rome . And he had to write it again. 

WESCHLER: Was there any attempt to get things like that 

out of the house, among your friends? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No. My friend tried, my friend Maria Kuntz. 


She was in England during this time, and she came to see 
us in Switzerland. We went from Sankt Anton to Switzerland, 
because the owner of the hotel and my skiing friends also, 
they told my husband he couldn't stay there; it's too 
dangerous, because they killed some, they kidnapped people 
by coming over the border, also in Switzerland. They 
kidnapped, for instance, two great directors of the theater, 
of the Berlin theater; one was killed because he wanted to 
escape [Alf Rotter, along with his wife] , and the other 
[Fritz Rotter] could escape, but he was wounded. That was 
in Switzerland. They just came over the border. So they 
said, "We have Nazis here around and you cannot stay here. 
They would denounce you, and if they wouldn't kidnap you, 
they would kill you." And nobody could.... Austria was 
not strong enough to do anything against Germany. Nobody 
could protect us. So that's why we went to Switzerland then, 
to Bern. 

WESCHLER: And it was in Bern that your friend... 
FEUCHTWANGER: friend came to see us. No, we 
were in the Berner Oberland. The Berner Oberland is the 
part in the mountains above Bern. Bern is in the plain, 
the capital of Switzerland, and higher up it's called the 
Berner Oberland. And there we were in Wengen, and then my 
friend came from England and told my husband if she could 
do something to help him. Then my husband said, "Yes, if 


you want to try" — no, my husband asked her directly. My 
husband said, "Do you think you could do something for me, 
save some money which is in different banks if I give you 
an authorization?" So then she tried. First she went to 
Munich to the Feuchtwanger Bank, which still existed, you 
know. It was not like it was--most people left, but many 
people stayed in Germany until 1938. The Feuchtwangers 
left earlier, but still they were there then. So she went 
to them and said if she can't get our deposits there because 
we had a lot of stocks there, in the bank. Then they said 
that they couldn't do that because they would be immediately 
sent to concentration camp and probably killed. They cannot 
give anything out; everything is impounded which belongs to 
people who have lost their citizenship--my husband lost his, 
one of the first along with Albert Einstein — and they would 
be all in danger. I understood that very well. She went also 
to Lutschi, who was still there, but he had to leave also 
very soon, with the help of ray husband. My husband had to 
guarantee for them. You know, for everybody who went out. 
So then, nothing, she could do nothing in Munich. She tried 
in Berlin, in the banks, and there also nobody could do anything. 

But Kahn-Bieker, who was still there, he thought nothing 
would happen to him because his father--he was half-Jewish — 
was decorated with a high decoration and died in the First 
World War, and they told him nothing would happen to him. 


I foiond out that we had still something at a Berliner bank, I 
think, some 3,000 marks. So we wrote Kahn-Bieker that he 
goes to our lawyer [Goetz] (who, by the way, was the comman- 
dant of Hitler, a colonel of Hitler, during the First World 
War) . He liked my husband very much. He helped him with his 
trials; you know, we had a trial with the landlord (it was a 
very interesting thing, the trial with the landlord where we 
lived in this little apartment) . I told Kahn-Bieker to go to 
this lawyer, who was a Gentile, and maybe he could give him 
good advice. I told him, "Tell him that we owe you 3,000 
marks" (which was the same as now $3,000) "and maybe he can 
make something out of it." This lawyer knew everybody also 
because he knew Hitler, although he made always fun about 
Hitler to my husband. Anyway, Kahn-Bieker went to him and he 
really got the 3,000 marks from the Dresdner Bank. And then 
there was still something in Sweden, how we got that money; I 
don't remember. 

But my friend, Maria Kuntz , she just couldn't do anything 
because she had not the connections like this lawyer had in 
Berlin, and what Kahn-Bieker did; Kahn-Bieker was a very 
resourceful man, you know, and could do many things. But my 
friend went through a very frightening episode, because when 
she was in Stuttgart to change trains (she wanted to come back 
where we were in Switzerland) , somebody touched her on the 
shoulder, and she thought she will be arrested because she was 


at the Feuchtwangers ' bank. She said somebody followed her al- 
ways. She didn't know exactly if it was true, but she had the 
feeling that somebody followed her. Her things were looked 
through, her luggage, but she didn't have anything from us. 
(Of course, we didn't give her anything.) So nothing happened 
to her, but it was very frightening, she said. Then she went 
always to England to write us from England. She couldn't write 
from Germany. She wanted to come and stay with us, but I 
dissuaded her. We had already the secretary. Then we had Kahn- 
Bieker — he came too — and we had really not so much money that 
we could have taken care of her, because she couldn't have 
taken money out of Germany. So I said, "You stay in your castle" 
— I call it always her castle in Trier — "and wait until all is 
over." And that's what she did. But she went many times to 
England to write us because she had friends in England. 
WESCHLER: Did you have the feeling it all would be over 
fairly soon? 

FEUCHTWANGER: My husband had that feeling. He was always opti- 
mistic. He said, "It cannot last." He cannot — and also there 
was the publisher of the Vossische Zeitung (that was the twice 
biggest newspaper of Germany; the Berliner Tageblatt and then 
that) , Georg Bemhard. He was a famous publisher and writer, 
journalist, and he was also in Paris — we met him there — and he 
was full of optimism also. He said that the valuta is so bad 
in Germany, and they didn't have.... (Goering said, "We prefer 


guns to butter," you know, all those things.) He said that the 
people wouldn't stand that; it will be a revolt against Hitler. 
He was full of optimism. And my husband also, he said that he 
didn't think it would last long. All the others were very pes- 
simistic. But my husband wrote this open letter — maybe I told 
you about it. 

WESCHLER: Not on tape. You haven't told it on the tape, so 
maybe you could tell it again. 

FEUCHTWANGER: He has been asked by an English newspaper [prob- 
ably the London Times ] — right after Hitler came to power, they 
sent a telegram to Sanary to ask him to write an open letter to 
this newspaper about the Hitler movement. This letter has been 
translated into English. We didn't hear anything of what hap- 
pened to this letter, because we lived there, and nobody sent 
us a newspaper of it, and my husband forgot entirely about it. 
But this letter made such a sensation that it was copied in the 
whole world, in all the big newspapers, English newspapers. 
And when we came to New York, in 194 (this letter was written 
in '33), a book was on our table in the Hotel St. Moritz in 
New York. We opened the book and my husband looked in 
the table of contents and found his name. He didn't know 
what this book meant. On the cover was The World' s Great 
Letters; that was the title of the book. But he didn't 
know why this book was lying there. (Simon and Schuster was 
the pioblisher.) Then he looked at the contents and found his 


name, and he looked over and that was his letter. It had 
come also to America, the letter, and Simon and Schuster 
found this so amusing that he decided to make a whole book 
around this letter, [including various letters from] 
great men in emigration or in exile, beginning with the 
Bible and the Greeks and Ovid and all those people. 

Then there was a letter of Thomas Mann which he 
wrote to Bonn [probably Rhenish Friedrich-Wilhelm 
Universitat] , because they took away his honorary doctorate. 
And there was this letter from my husband in which he writes 
First of all, he writes about his house; he said, "I always 
thought that you are only interested in the Germanic gods 
and religion, like Wotan, but you must be very versed also 
in the Bible, because in the Bible it says, 'Thou shalt 
dwell in houses you did not build,' and that's what you are 
doing with my house." And then he said, "And take good 
care of the wall-to-wall carpet. It's a very new method" 
(it was a kind of rubber) "and it has to be taken care of. 
Because I come back." That he wrote already in '33. 
WESCHLER: I've also heard a story about what he said when 
they took away his citizenship. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, but that was not in this letter. He 
always spoke like I speak, with a Bavarian accent, so he 
said that Hitler could take away his citizenship but he 
couldn't take away his Bavarian accent. [laughter] 


WESCHLER: Going back to Bern, you left Sankt Anton and went 
to Bern. For how long roughly were you in Bern? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, we were not long in Bern because I went 
skiing in the Berner Oberland, to Wengen. The next year 
I got even a prize skiing there, in a private race with 

the champion.... The world champion in those days was Graf, 
from Switzerland; he was a famous F.I.S. world champion, and 
he owned a ski school there. It was my first day when I 
went up on the Kleine-Scheidegg (that was below the Eiger 
Glacier). I didn't know anybody there, and I saw the 
people standing around. I found out that he was a kind of 
guide or teacher, and I asked him if I could join him. He 
said, "Of course, come with me." And they made a descent to 
Grindelwald on the other side of the mountain, and it was 
a terrible snow condition. It was my first day: for a year 
I was not skiing anymore. The snow was frozen by wind, 
and it was like roof shingles. Absolutely. Your teeth 
chattered when you went over it because it was so hard 
as the skis went over it. There were only some young English 
students there, a whole group which came together, and they 
hired him. I had nothing to do with this group, but he 
told me I could come with them. So those young people — 
of course, they went fast: they wanted to show how good 
skiers they are. And they all fell down, because it was 
this terrible snow; it was not really for skiing. But I 


learned with Hannes Schneider how to ski in bad snow. There 
are certain kinds of Steminbogen --snow bows — and one should 
not go straight but rather make a kind of snake. 
WESCHLER: Zig-zagging. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, zig-zag. I came down, and all of 
a sudden I was the first. I didn't know it, but the others 
were still there lying around and falling, and I was very- 
slow, I didn't make a real race, I just tried not to fall. 
I didn't even know that it was a race. The man didn't tell 
me that it was a race. So when we came back to Scheidegg, he 
said, "Wait a little bit," and then he went into the hotel and 
came out with a box and with all kinds of prizes he had-- 
mostly blue ribbons, a kind of a sign which had to be sewn 
on the jacket. Some of the boys got those signs because they 
were good skiers. And then he told me, "And you have to 
wait a little longer." So I said, "What could he do with me?" 
And then he brought out a golden sign and put it on my 
sleeve, and said, "You were the best." [laughter] I owed 
it only to Hannes Schneider, because the only reason was 
that when you fall you lose so much time until you get 
yourself up again, so I had made the best time, although I 
went much slower than the others. That was my first and 
last prize I got skiing. 

WESCHLER: I see. Well, from Bern what happened? 
FEUCHTWANGER: In Bern, my husband had his secretary coming 


then, and they worked together already. 
WESCHLER: What was he working on at that point? 
FEUCHTWANGER: It was always Flavius Josephus . The first 
part was already published in Berlin, but there was a second 
part. And also he had an enormous correspondence, his 
change of address and all that, with all his publishers in 
the whole world, you know. 

WESCHLER: How did he later feel about having lost the 
first manuscript of the second volume? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He was very despondent about it, but then 
afterwards he said he was very glad because he made it much 
bigger. At first it should have been only two volumes, 
and then it became three volumes because he found out he 
had to say much more. So in a way he said for him it was 
fortunate that he had to write it again. But in the begin- 
ning it was a terrible loss, of course. Also he had no 
advance for the book. We had lost our money, all our money. 
They only thing we had was what we got from other countries, 
but it had to come in later. The first thing was that he 
got money for a movie--I told you about that — when he came 
to Sanary. 

WESCHLER: Well, let's wait till we get to Sanary about that. 
So what did happen after Bern? 

FEUCHTWANGER: After Bern, I was skiing in the high mountains, 
and my husband went to the Swiss lakes, to the Italian 


Swiss, where it was warm already. Bruno Frank was staying 
there with his wife, and he visited with them. They also 
thought we should stay with them in this place so they had 
company. But there was a funny thing: when he arrived, 
Bruno Frank didn't come out from the hotel; Mrs. Frank 
expected him in the rear and brought him back over the rear 
stairs and so. They were very much afraid that it would 
endanger them, because he had also still some contracts 
with German publishers and so, and he expected some money. 
WESCHLER: Was Bruno Frank not Jewish? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he was Jewish; both were Jewish. I 
don't know if his wife was half-Jewish or not, because 
nobody knew exactly who her father was. He was an Hungarian 
and I'm not sure. 

WESCHLER: What happened at that house? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He didn't stay very long. It was Locarno 
or somewhere, you know, a Swiss lake. 

Then he came back to Bern, and we left and went to 
Marseilles directly with the train. There we found this 
little hotel outside of the city which was famous for very 
good food, very little; it was a kind of villa. It was 
called La Reserve, and many of those little places had 
this hotel, La Reserve. Always very few people living there. 
It was only for people who were in the know about it. I 
found it by chance, because we just took a taxi to look for 


B. hotel. We told to the taxi, "We don't want a big, grand 
hotel; we want to have a quiet place where my husband can 
work." During that time, I would go along the Riviera to 
look for a house. And then we were there. It was on the 
border of the ocean, and I took the bus that went along the 
Riviera, along the French Riviera, from one place to the 
other. It was terrible. The morning I went to the bus, and 
I was all alone sometimes with the bus driver, and he wanted 
to impress me how good he drives. [Those roads] are full 
of curves, you know, very narrow, and he was just crazy — 
achi I was myself not a very slow driver, but what he did — 
sometimes I just closed my eyes. [laughter] When another 
car came against his, he never stopped or slowed down. He 
just wanted to show up. It was terrible. [laughter] And I 
was sitting beside him because the whole bus was empty, mostly 
in the morning. Finally I found that the best place was 
Bandol. It looked quieter, not so very fashionable. 
There was a good hotel there, a grand hotel, but we didn't 
want to live in a grand hotel. I found that there was very 
near to the grand hotel, also on the rim of the sea, of the 
Mediterranean, a little place which was again called La 
Reserve. And there was nobody living there. It was before 
the season, right after skiing. And there were small rooms, 
and I had also a room for the secretary who came from Bern. 
There was a terrace, and this terrace was entirely at the 


disposal of my husband. It was half- closed, and he could 
use it as his study. And right away then began this story 
with the film. 

WESCHLER: Okay, I think we won't do that today, because 
we're at the end of the tape, but we'll start next session 
with the story of the film which became the novel Die 
Geschwister Oppermann. 


AUGUST 8, 1975 

WESCHLER: Well, before we return to Sanary, we have a 

few more stories from Berlin in the twenties — in fact, 

two, to be specific. One of them begins with the first time 

you ever flew in an airplane. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, first we went by train to Munich, and 

from there to Geneva, and from Geneva we took a plane. That 

was not only the first plane we took, but I knew nobody in 

our circles or anywhere else who already used to go by plane. 

It was so new to do it for pleasure. 

WESCHLER: What year was this, roughly? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It would be '26, I think. We went from 

Geneva to Marseilles, and the pilot let me have the stick 

on the plane. We were all by ourselves, nobody else dared to.. 

It was a very small plane, and he let me fly, very high 

up, and I always pressed the stick down so that the plane 

came higher up and was also faster. He always made motions 

that I should get a little easy on the plane. But we landed — 
I didn't land, of course — and everything ended happily. 
WESCHLER: I'm glad to hear you were a better flyer of planes 
than driver of cars at that point. 

FEUCHTWANGER: I couldn't drive any cars; I wasn't driving yet. 
WESCHLER: Was that a commercial airline that you could rent 


out, or how did that work? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I have no idea. We just went to the hotel 

in Geneva and said we wanted to fly to Marseilles. You know, 

when you are in a good hotel, everything is done for you; 

so we got a ticket and we went to the airport and flew 

away — that was all. But I don't know what line it was. 

I don't think there existed any line. It was just probably 

a private enterprise. Anyway, it was very exciting, and we 

decided that I would learn how to fly. But later on there 

came so many other things between, so I never came to it. 

And then from Marseilles we took a chauffeur and a car, 
because I couldn't drive yet, and we went along the coast of 
the Riviera to find a nice place, because we wanted to settle 
finally on the Riviera. We liked the climate and we liked 
the open air to stay always outside in the sun and to swim 
in the Mediterranean. I only remember one place which we 
found which was so beautiful, and that was a very little, 
unknown place which was called Les Mimosas. Mimosa: 
that's the same as here, the acacia. All the hills, every- 
thing was full of those yellow mimosas; it was just the time. 
The perfume through the air, and it was so beautiful — you 
could live lying under the mimosas, and it was a very cheap 
place. We thought that it would be nice to settle there, but 
we found out the water wasn't very good (which has been later 
on changed, of course) . But the only thing — finally we 


decided not to build there, not to settle there, because we 
thought that a German writer has to stay in Germany, in his 
cultural atmosphere, not in a foreign language mostly, and 
also stay with his circles and the culture, his friends, and 
not to — almost like in a monastery — to be so absent from every- 
thing which he was used to. 

WESCHLER: And from his language, especially. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Mostly the language, ja, ja. It would have 
been a voluntary exile. 
WESCHLER: The irony, of course, is that within ten years, 

you would be. . . . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Later on, it came about like that. But the 

good thing was that we had so many emigrants, that we were 

not out of our language. For instance, in Sanary there were 

sixty families which were emigrants. Not just sixty persons 

but.... In summer there were sixty [families] there. I 

remember when we gave a tea in our garden, we had sixty people 

there, all emigrants. 

WESCHLER: We'll talk about that in more detail when we get 

to Sanary, but you might talk about — you returned to Berlin 

and this was when you decided to build.... 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. We returned to Berlin and then I 

looked for a house in Berlin. That was the turning point 

to stay in Berlin. My husband later on has been asked by a 

newspaper.... (I don't know if I have told you that already.) 


For a New Year he has been asked by a [Hamburg] newspaper 

what his plans are and what his predictions are for the 

future, and he said, "I see ourselves already running." 

That means that he saw we were already emigrants. But still 

he built the house because he saw it but he didn't want to 

believe it. 

WESCHLER: Well, along that line, the second story you were 

going to tell has something to do with that too. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, the other story was very depressing and 

very shocking. One night we have been wakened by the telephone, 

and it was a call from England, from Ashley Dukes, who was 

a famous playwright in England. 

WESCHLER: What year was this, roughly? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Also about '27 or so. It was just after 

my husband came back from England. He was bathing still 

in the celebration and in the people, and all the newspapers 

sent their correspondents to interview him, to write about how 

he lived in Berlin and so. And then came this call which 

was absolutely terrifying. Ashley Dukes said, "When we 

made the contract that I would write a play adapting your 

novel, you said you had all the rights. Also it is printed 

inside in the book that it is copyrighted." 

WESCHLER: This is the novel Jud Siiss ? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was the novel Jud Siiss . 

WESCHLER: When had they arranged that he would do the play? 


While Lion was in England? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, while he was in England. Lion was first 
a little reluctant, because he himself wrote once a play, 
Jud Suss . But then all the people said Dukes is such a 
great playwright and you should do it — why not? — and the 
novel is so popular, it would be sure that also this play 
would be popular. And then Ashley Dukes had the intention 
to go with the play to America, which was a great project. 
Then, all of a sudden, he heard that in America they are 
already playing an adaptation, an English adaptation of the 
novel Jud Suss of my husband; they are playing it already. 

My husband didn't know anything about it. My husband said, 
"Of course it's copyrighted. It's printed in the book, 
it's printed in the German book, and it's printed in the 
English book by Martin Seeker." And he said, "Yes, but we 
asked the institute of copyright in Washington, and they 
told us it has not been copyrighted." And Ashley Dukes said, 
"I sue you for $1,000,000" (or 1,000,000 marks, which would 
have been about the same value as now the dollars are) . 
And then my husband asked his friend, a lawyer, and he said, 
"You have to sue your publisher [Drei Masken Verlag] . 
It is the publisher who made that. The publisher didn't pay 
the two dollars which had to be paid for copyrighting." 
But there was another thing which [made things] a little bit 
[complicated]: if only he hadn't printed [the copyright 


notice on the title page].... Because it was during 
the war, and he couldn't have paid it to America, because 
Germany and America were at war, but he could have paid it 
after the war. And that's what he didn't. And if he hadn't 
printed it in the first place, then the whole thing would 
have come in the open and it would have been easily rec- 
tified. There is a law, of course, the copyright law, that 
you have to do it right away. But how could you do it 
during the war? You could call it an act of God or so. 
WESCHLER: Let's see, it was the play that was copyrighted 
during the war, but the novel wasn't published until later. 
FEUCHTWANGER: It was the play, but it's the same, you 
know, ja, ja. 

WESCHLER: I see, okay. What happened? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He didn't copyright the novel also, that's 
true. The plays, he couldn't do it; but the novel, he 
could have done it. And the publishing house I think was 
sold in the meantime. Anyway, my husband had to sue from 
Munich because the publishing house was in Munich. He had 
to go to Munich for the trial. The publisher from Munich 
had an expert coming from Berlin, which was another pub- 
lisher, Mr. Ernst Rowohlt, as a witness and as an expert. 
During the trial this Mr. Rowohlt said, "I did the same 
thing. I printed in the books 'copyright,' in all the 
books, but I never asked the institute for copyright in New 


York to do it, and also I didn't pay the two dollars" 
(which it was in those days). He said even, "I'm terrible 
sorry for Mr. Feuchtwanger, who is a good friend of mine. 
And I know I'm a swine, but I didn't do it." But this 
helped, of course, the publisher in Munich, because it was 
already the atmosphere of the Nazis, yes, that's why we 
left Munich. He said, "Maybe we could call it the law of 
the land: nobody did it. We didn't want to pay the 
Americans for the copyright, and nobody would have thought 
that it would be printed in another country, that it would 
have this success." 

WESCHLER: How was the case decided? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Then my husband had to go back to — no, it 
was, he lost. But my husband was not there when it was 
lost; he came back right away because he had to leave for 
America. But it was decided that his complaint was lost. 
His lawyer in Munich, who immediately appealed the decision, 
called me to ask if he should continue, because I think 
also the first appeal was also lost. He asked me if he 
should continue to a higher court. I had felt already 
when my husband was in America that there is not much to do 
after two, after the first appeal was also lost, so I told 
him out of my own free will or judgment not to continue, 
because I thought that would be only throwing more money 
out. It seemed to me that you just couldn't get justice. 


WESCHLER: Because partly of the situation with regard to 

the Nazis and so forth? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, I think that influenced everything. 

Because when my husband was in Munich, he came back rather 

optimistic; he said that the judge was much on his side. 

But afterwards, when he left, it had changed. 

WESCHLER: Did all this happen before or after he had written 

Success ? I wonder whether his views of Bavarian justice 

in Success were influenced by this. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, I think the trial must have been — because 

he was in America when the lawyer called me. Even the trial 

must have been later than I thought. When the lawyer called 

me, we were already in our new house, I remember. The 

secretary was just absent, absented herself, and my husband 

wasn't there. I couldn't find her, I couldn't reach her, 

and she knew more about the whole thing (she had all the 

letters and the correspondence), and I just didn't know 

anything about those things. But I had only a feeling, 

because I was also more pessimistic than my husband — he was 

always an optimist — so I said, "No, don't continue. I 

think it's useless." 

WESCHLER: So that he came to have a dose of the medicine 

he had described in Success . 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, that's true, absolutely; ja, you're 

right. But then happened something else: my husband was 


so popular in England and his book was such a great success 
that it would have been.... The English are very much for 
fair play, and since everybody knew (it has been published, 
of course) that my husband was absolutely innocent about 
it (he was himself the one who was damaged because the 
play where he had a part of it would have been for him, 
he would have shared the royalties, and he lost as much as 
Ashley Dukes lost), so Ashley Dukes then didn't sue him 
for this 1,000,000, because he saw that it was just not 
possible for him to do that, for his reputation. 
WESCHLER: You mentioned, by the way, that in addition to 
the English version of the play in the United States, there 
was also a Yiddish version that was being played. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, first was a Yiddish play. They didn't 
ever pay any royalties, but I heard it has been played for 
years in New York. I remember that Ernst Toller, who has 
seen it in New York, told us that for him it was very 
comical, because it was Yiddish and we all didn't know 
anything about Yiddish — the Western Germans didn't know much 
about Yiddish. He said that one of the actors who played 
Jud Suss played the other day the Duke, and things like 
that. Also it sounded very much, very funny, it's so tragic. 
Later on, you know, Yiddish became much more understood and 
is now recognized as a real language. But in those days 
they found it, of course, half-German and half -Latin and 


half-Russian and I don't know what all. This Yiddish 

is. . . 

WESCHLER: ...a real mongrel language. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, but now it's considered as a real 

poetical language, and mostly because the great poets made 

it a great language, [Chaim Nachman] Bialik and those people, 

and also the Habimah. It became a language, I think, by 

those people who used it, who wrote about it. 

WESCHLER: But during the twenties, for instance, it was not 

respected at all by German Jews? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Not only not respected, the Jews in Germany 

were asheimed of it. Nobody wanted to admit — we all didn't 

know anything, but if anybody would have understood it, he 

wouldn't have wanted to admit that he understood it. But 

this has changed absolutely. The funny thing is that in 

Israel, it's not very popular, because they want their modern 

Hebrew. There is a joke also in Israel that a little boy 

had been asked, "What do you want to be when you are grown 

up?" And he said, "I want to sit in a rocking chair and 

speak Yiddish. " Because his grandfather came from Russia 

and was always old, sitting, so the boy found Yiddish so 

wonderful and amusing. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: I think we're ready to go to where we left off 

last time, which was with the genesis of the Oppermanns 

novel. Now we can start this way: you weren't initially 


in Sanary, you were in a neighboring town. What was its 

FEUCHTWANGER: We were in Bandol; that is a neighbor town 
a little bigger even than Sanary and a little more, let's 
say, fashionable. There was a grand hotel, although a very 
simple grand hotel. But Sanary was a fishing village, more 
or less, and also very picturesque, with old buildings 
(they were still from the rococo time or the baroque time) , 
a beautiful little port with beautiful little fish barques 
and so, and it was very picturesque. Usually there were 
many painters there from all countries; from Scandinavia and 
from France and from all countries came painters there. And 
[Aldous] Huxley lived already there, and Rene Schickele, 
who was a double language writer because he was from Alsace- 

WESCHLER: Before we go there, let's go back to Bandol. 
You were not in the grand hotel yourself? 
FEUCHTWANGER: I found this little Reserve Hotel, which 
was the same as in Marseilles, and it was a very little 
building on a little peninsula. Very little. There was a 
terrace which hung over the water, a little terrace--every- 
thing was very little. It was just right for when other 
people — people mostly went during the season to eat there 
because they had very good fish. So it was nobody living 
beside us, and this little terrace hanging over the water 


was my husband's study. He wanted to write, but he had no 
real plans. He wanted to finish his Josephus. 

And then/ all of a sudden there came a messenger with a 
message from Ramsay MacDonald, who was the prime minister 
of England. He was the one who visited my husband in his 
hotel when he had the flu. My husband should have gohe to ' 
a big banquet of the unions, but he couldn't go because he had 
the flu, so the next day Ramsay MacDonald came to see him. 
He was very much smitten by my husband's novel, and he 
thought he would be the best man to write a film against 
the Nazis. My husband told this messenger--he was an agent, 
I don't remember, for film production — that he never wrote 
for the movies and he wouldn't know how to do it, that he 
was very reluctant. But this man said, "You don't have to 
worry about that. We send you the best movie writer we have 
in England." And his name was [Sidney] Gilliat, I remember 

WESCHLER: Was this a secret project, or was it fairly well 
known the British government was behind it? 
FEUCHTWAMGER : It was so new, nobody knew about it. They 
had to ask first my husband. 

WESCHLER: Right. I'm just wondering whether--was it an 
official governmental act, or was it something that MacDonald 
did on his own? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, it was from MacDonald as the prime minister 


of England. But before my husband said anything, they 
couldn't [announce] it. So they wanted to find out first. 
Then this man said, "You don't have to worry. We send 
you the best scriptwriter. It is only that you have to 
write the story, like you write a short story or a novella 
or a small novel, and he makes the movie out of it. But 
of course he has to come and speak with you, because you 
have to find out what is feasible in a film, in a movie." 
So then came Mr. Gilliat very soon, right afterwards — they 
must have prepared it already beforehand. 

It was very good to work with him, my husband said. 
He was a younger man; he's now very famous, still. And 
they wrote together a film story. This was the Oppermanns , 
And it should have been made immediately into a film. It 
was very pressing, and my husband interrupted his work on 
Josephus , which he didn't like at first, but he thought 
that is so urgent to do something against the Nazis that 
it was his duty, when he has the opportunity, to do it 
immediately. He did it reluctantly because he was always 
a slow writer, and he couldn't write so suddenly and on com- 
mand almost. That was the only thing which worried him. 
But then Mr. Gilliat went back with the script and we didn't 
hear anything more about it. 

WESCHLER: Let me ask you some questions about the actual 
writing. First of all, you might describe Mr. Gilliat. 


FEUCHTWANGER: I can't describe much of him because I never 
saw him; he was always working with my husband, from morn- 
ings to night, and we were only together during the meals. 
He was a very pleasant person. We spoke about English 
literature, and he spoke about Huxley who lived there also, 
but that was all. 

WESCHLER: I'm trying basically to get a sense of who was 
responsible for what in the project. Was the story 
entirely Lion's, or did they develop it together? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, entirely Lion's. Nobody knew anything — 
even Lion himself didn't know anything before. Just in the 
meantime, between the messenger and Mr. Gilliat, he had to 
think about an idea. And he really accepted it only because 
he found he has not the right to refuse that, to do something 
which would probably come into the whole world. 
WESCHLER: Did the idea occur to him fairly easily once he 
got going on it, or was it difficult? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was always difficult for him, because, as 
I've told you, he was a slow writer. Usually he had the 
feeling the first concept is very important, but the first 
writing down, the rough, is usually not good. You have 
to do it again and again. And he had no time for that here. 
It was his method, you know. He had a concept--he wouldn't 
have done it without a real concept — but he knew that he 
had to try out the real form, or the real idea of the whole 


thing. He had the idea, but how to write it down, how to 

make it. . . 

WESCHLER: ...tangible. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja. But then Mr. Gilliat went home with his 

script, with his movie script, and we didn't hear anything. 

Nothing. My husband said maybe that's the way the movies 

are made. They had paid for it, for my husband's work; and 

that was very important because we had many people to help 

and we had lost everything. So even the pay was very 


WESCHLER: Out of curiosity, how much was he paid? Do you 


FEUCHTWA14GER: No, we never spoke about money in our house. 

[laughter] I didn't hear. Then my husband had to go to 

England for another purpose, and Lord Melchett gave again 

a dinner for him. He invited all the people who were just 

then in London who knew my husband or wanted to meet him. And 

he also invited Ramsay MacDonald. But when he heard that 

Lion comes, he didn't come. Then somebody told my husband 

that MacDonald decided to swallow Hitler, and that was the 

reason why the movie has not been made. 

WESCHLER: So the movie was never made. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Never made. That's the reason. He found 

that he has to decide — he decided; the English government 

had decided — to swallow Hitler. Some members of the government 


even left the government. Somebody, I don't remember who 
it was, left the government afterward; it was a lord 
[Duff Cooper] . 

WESCHLER: My God. Was there pressure, do you think, from 
Hitler, that the movie not be made? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, fear. It was only fear. No pressure. 
Hitler didn't know anything about it. It was only fear. 
They were fearful to be in bad relations with Germany. 
But the other countries did this, too, if you know the 
history. They allowed them to take the left bank of the 
Rhine. They allowed them to build submarines. That was all 
the same thing. 

WESCHLER: It was the beginning of the decade of appease- 

FEUCHTWANGER: That was only the first thing. But they 
used this expression, "MacDonald decided to swallow Hitler." 
He didn't like it, but he swallowed it. 

WESCHLER: Well, at that point Lion still had his own copy 
of the novel. Did he decide to publish it immediately? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, he had no copy of the novel, nothing 
at all. How can you in two weeks write a novel? 
WESCHLER: I see. So how did the novel come out? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Because he thought after he had made this 
effort to do something against Hitler, he thought it shouldn't 
be left. He found it necessary that he writes now at least 


a novel. 

WESCHLER: Oh, I see, it came then. 

FEUCHTWANGER: There was no novel; there was only a script. 
Gilliat was only there for two weeks. After Lion had 
decided to do something, he found out he could do something, 
because his publisher was interested in this novel — he wrote 
to Huebsch and said he wants not to finish Josephus , 
the second part, but to write this novel which was an 
interruption of his work. That's why he did it very reluc- 
tantly, because he was so much imbued in the other plans. 
But he said it's absolutely necessary that he does some- 

So he wrote this novel, and it had lots of complications 
also. After the novel was written, he sent the German 
manuscript to Holland, where the publisher Querido printed 
the German writers who had to flee, in German. He 
printed them in Dutch and in German. And so--it is the use 
that when a work is accepted by a publisher and it goes into 
print, [that it is first announced] in the special periodicals 
of publishers. 

WESCHLER: In the trade magazines. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. So the Germans heard about it and 
also heard about the contents. It was already in print, 
you know, but it was not yet given out to the booksellers. 
And they heard about the title. It was announced that 


Feuchtwanger, the Jew Feuchtwanger , this hateful person or 
something like that, wrote a novel against Hitler's Germany, 
with a title The Oppermanns . My husband had just wanted, took 
any name; he had wanted something which ends rather masculine, 
you know, not like "Oppermanner" or something like that; 
"Oppermann" is a decisive ending. So came a man in Germany 
who was a Nazi, a high Nazi official, with the name of 
Oppermann. My husband had never heard of him. He didn't 
even hear about the name; he just invented the name. But 
Oppermann said, "If Feuchtwanger publishes this novel" 
(the Oppermanns are Jews in this novel) "then his brothers 
who are still in Germany will be sent into concentration 
camp. " 

WESCHLER: Feuchtwanger ' s brothers? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja. One was in Munich (he had the factory 
still), and the other was also in Munich, I think. Ja, ja. 
The other was the publisher of philosophical works, (Duncker 
and Humblot — that was the biggest publishing house) . And 
they were sent into the concentration camp. 
WESCHLER: They were in fact sent into the camp? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, they were, ja, ja. So my husband was of 
course frightened and asked the publisher Querido to cancel 
the whole novel. Then Querido reprinted the whole novel 
again, with another title, with the title Die [ Geschwister ] 
Oppenheim . And then it could be published. So this book 


has been published the first time under the title Die 
Oppenheimer , and the two brothers have been freed, for the 
moment, at least. My husband had to get them out, both of 
them. With all the money he earned with the novel Die 
Oppenheimer , he had to get them out, and even more, what- 
ever he could earn, because he had to pay for the affidavits, 
you know. 

WESCHLER: He got them out fairly quickly. 
FEUCHTWANGER: He got both out, but with all the money we 

WESCHLER: And where did they come to? 

FEUCHTWANGER: One, Lutschi, Ludwig — that was the second 
one--went to England, where he lived with his wife and a 
son, his second wife and their son. His son — we are still 
corresponding — Edgar, is now a professor of philosophy or 
so and writes books about earlier German history, very impor- 
tant books which are, of course, more or less of interest 
only for historians. But they are, it seems to me, very 
good; he sends me always these books. This brother was 
later used in the Nuremburg trials as an interpreter. 
And he — I don't know why it was difficult to get him there. 
He has been made an American captain and in a uniform. 
WESCHLER: Which brother was this? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ludwig, called Lutschi. "Lutschi" is 
just a children's name, because "Luigi" in Italian would be 


spelled with a g. And he was then an interpreter during 
the Nuremberg trials, because he was also a lawyer, a 
jurist. And the other, the younger one who owned the fac- 
tory. . . . 

WESCHLER: What was his name? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Fritz. He had to flee with his wife and two 
daughters. He had to flee very fast, and he couldn't 
come to America because there was a quota. They just 
didn't let him in, and he had to go to Cuba. He was for 
a while in Cuba, until the quota was right for him. Then 
he went to America, was in New York then. 
WESCHLER: What about Lion's other siblings? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The others? One had also left earlier; that 
was the youngest, the hero [Bertold] . He said he has seen 
the Nazi — they told him first that he has nothing to fear 
because he had this high decoration, you know, the Iron 
Cross First Class which only usually had high military 
people and not ordinary soldiers, especially not Jews 
(they never had a First Class) . But he left. He also 
visited us in Sanary. We had always the feeling of him that 
he was a little bit like a playboy with a little money. 
But he married a very nice person [Trude] who then had a 
salon or fashion salon, and she turned him around, absolutely 
around: he became a very useful person, helped her in her 
business, kept the books and so. She was with her family 


at first. And they went together to South America. I 
had a good impression of him. He became very serious, 
and he said that Lion's books had made such a great im- 
pression on him, mostly Josephus . It helped a lot to change 

And then the others were all sisters--no, one, Martin, 
was in Halle (that is the middle Germany) . He was a 
publisher and had a newspaper; he published a newspaper and 
also other people's books or correspondence or so. And 
he fled to Czechoslovakia and made himself again a career, 
with one of the sisters. Her name was--I always don't 
know her name, already before, I forgot it. They went 
together to Czechoslovakia--he with his wife and son — and 
then he fell in love with another woman and divorced his wife, 
and his son stayed with his wife. Bella was the name of the 
sister, and the sister was then left — they left, also the 
wife and the son left for Switzerland, and Bella stayed 
there and was sent to Theresienstadt and died there also. 
WESCHLER: What happened to Martin? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Martin went to Israel, and he was in Israel 
also publisher. 

WESCHLER: What happened to the other sisters? 
FEUCHTWANGER: And the other two sisters were already in 
Israel before; they were very early Zionists. The oldest 
sister and her family went to New York later. 


WESCHLER: I see. Okay. Well, do you have anything more 
to tell about Bandol, before we go to Sanary? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Yes. We were not long there when we got 
visitors: it was Thomas Mann and another writer, Wilhelm 
Herzog. They lived in the grand hotel and heard about — 
"There's another writer here in the neighborhood with the 
name of Feuchtwanger, " they told him at the hotel, and 

so he came right away to see us. That was the first time 
that they got also the taste of the whole environment and 
they also rented later a house in Sanary. 
WESCHLER: What was it that attracted the whole German 
colony to the French Riviera? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I think it was the climate; it's the climate 
mostly. Also in winter, it's very cheap there. In summer, 
when the season is, it's more expensive; but in winter, it's 
usually very cheap to live, mostly in those little villages 
where there was no grand hotel (if there was a grand hotel, 
it was already more expensive) . But also this was a very 
small grand hotel. [laughter] 

Then came Arnold Zweig with his son [Michaell , who 
left then for America and went here into the army. This 
oldest son wanted to be a pilot, and they rejected him on 
account of his eyes. Then he went to Canada, where he was 
accepted, but he had lenses. I don't know, maybe they didn't 
know it. It was very difficult. He was a very good flier. 


and later he was also a teacher for pilots in the army. He 
was in the army then, also in the American army in Germany, 
because then dxiring the war that was not so difficult 
anymore. But he said it was very difficult in those days, 
because he had always to take out his lenses from time to 
time. Now it's not anymore so painful. And it was not 
very good when you fly in the skies, and you have to take 
out your lenses, and all of a sudden you don't see any- 
thing, [laughter] 

WESCHLER: Well, getting back to this question generally 
about the German colony on the French Riviera, how did 
these little French fisherman villages feel about this 

FEUCHTWANGER: They were used about to the crazy English 
people. All these foreigners were considered crazy; the 
English people were considered crazy in the whole world in 
those days, because they were very parsimonious — they 
didn't give much tips — and were also very simple people 
sometimes. Of course, the rich ones went to the grand 
hotels; everywhere you could see English people. The 
climate. The people who traveled most were the English, 
the Scandinavians, and the Czechoslovakians . Mostly, for 
instance, in Yugoslavia there were all Czechoslovakians, 
because it was so cheap there. And also it was said that 
where the Czechoslovakians go, immediately the whole thing 


down, because they don't tip at all and nobody would — 
they invade everything, they were very parsimonious, and 
they cooked for themselves or so, and there was not a 
single future for a little village to become a fashionable 
spa. But I liked them very much because in my inner core, 
I'm a little parsimonious myself, [laughter] Then the 
English went because they have this bad climate, the fog 
and everything. The Scandinavians have even a worse climate — 
it's dark the whole winter--so in Italy everywhere you could 
find Scandinavians. But they were very unobtrusive and very 
nice people. Although they were tall and blond and didn't 
look — you could see it.... But they were so well adapted 
immediately. The best adapted foreigners I found always were 
the Scandinavians. And then French you never saw anywhere 
because they didn't go out of the country: they didn't 
want to learn any other language, and also they had such 
a beautiful country, they didn't need it. Everything is in 
France. In Germany they said, "You live like gods in 
France." That was a proverb. (In Austria also they say so.) 
Because they had the North Sea, they have the Mediterranean, 
they had beautiful lakes, and they had beautiful, the highest 
mountains to go skiing, they had the beautiful rivers, and 
they had — everything is in France. You had part of the 
lake of Geneva, and Evian [-les-Bains J is a French spa, and 
those beautiful castles along those rivers, those old castles 


from the medieval time on, and the rivers were very slow, so 
you could fish everywhere. You had Paris, which is unique 
in the world — why should a Frenchman travel? [laughter] 
WESCHLER; So here we are with this community of what 
amounts to exiles in paradise. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, that's true. Also in the beginning, 
we didn't feel any homesickness, because it was so beautiful 
there, you know. We knew that now it's already cold in 
Germany or raining, and we could still swim in the Med- 
iterranean. We always liked the Riviera very much. 
WESCHLER: Getting back to this question of how the French 
reacted to you, and you to them, was there much intercourse 
between the two communities? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, we liked the French. You know, the people 
on the Riviera they are mostly — how do you call that? — 
Provincial. But not the word "provincial"; it is a part 
of the country known as Provence, ja. But in English it is 

WESCHLER: Proven(jois, in French. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja. But we speak English, so we have — 
I think it's called Provincial. 
WESCHLER: Possibly, okay. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, and those people are half-Italian, in 
a way; they are very romanesque, romanish, very outgoing. 
The most funny thing is that they all voted Communist always. 


They had not the slightest idea what coimnunism was, but 
they were against Paris and against those people in 
the north, which they found much more sophisticated. 
They were simple and gay and optimistic, and so they voted 
not for communism, but against the government. It was 
very funny. It was most remarkable how they always voted 
communism. And you know, the whole country is so easy 
to live there. There are grapes for wine, there are — 
everything; there were fishes of the Mediterranean. It 
was an easy life there in the little villages. More to the 
east, towards Cannes and Nice, that was something else. 
But in the western part, it was very simple, and the people 
were very--that part was also the country of Van Gogh. 
And it's picturesque. All the men had those Basque caps, 
berets Basques, so they didn't look different. The only 
thing was that the Germans, we introduced pants there. 
It was not much known, the pants--they came from Italy 
originally, women's pants. They were called pyjama in 
those days, and only the English and the German had those 
pants; the Americans and the French didn't have them. 
Finally they adopted it, but in the beginning you could know 
that the girls were either English or German. 
WESCHLER: Why was it, do you think, that such a large 
community developed in Sanary specifically? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Because we were there. The others came, too, 


because they heard Feuchtwanger is out there. Then came 
Thomas Mann and all the others. From the Germans orig- 
inally, there was only Rene Schickele there, and he had 
also some friends, of course; so it was just--but we were 
the nucleus of it. 
WESCHLER: Well, having talked about that, let's talk a 

little bit about two people you've mentioned just now, 
Schickele and Huxley. You might start with Schickele and 
tell us a little bit about him, what he was like. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, that was so funny. Schickele had a big 
car — maybe it was a secondhand car, I don't know, but it 
was a big car — and also with his Basque cap he was sitting. 
There came a very rich banker, I think, from Frankfurt, 
to see him, or he was a friend of his. He must have had a 
lot of money outside of Germany; he had other business in 
France. Anyway, Schickele came with a big — no, it was not 
a secondhand, it was the car of this man, a big open 
limousine. So there was sitting always this man, and we 
saw him always driving by; he had his hand above, because 
it was an open convertible. And we always said, "Those 
two bankers." We didn't know anything — we didn't even know 
that one was a banker — but they were sitting in this car, so 
we had this feeling they were bankers. But then finally came 
an invitation by Mr. Schickele to come for tea, and there 
we saw the bankers there. [laughter] We became very good 


friends, and he was not at all a banker or so. He was a 
very simple man, and both he and his wife were Gentile. 
They were great friends of the Jews, and also very upset 
about the whole thing in Germany. And then there was 
another friend who was also Gentile: that was [Julius] 
Meier-Graef e. He was one of the great art historians of 
the time. He wrote a novel with the title Vincent ; it 
was about Vincent Van Gogh [ Vincent Van Gogh: A Biographical 
Study ] . He had a Jewish wife, but he was a wonderful- 
looking Gentile man. And then Brecht came to see us. 
But Meier-Graef e also was a long time there in another . . 
little town, Saint-Cyr [-sur-Mer] , which was even more 
primitive than ours. I remember that when they invited us 
once for dinner with Schickele, and Brecht I think came 
with us, they had prepared very good cutlets, and when we 
came to the table, then the cat has eaten the whole thing; 
the neighbor's cat came into the kitchen and ate the whole 
meal. But he had so much humor, and we all laughed about 
it. We said, "I'm sure there is something else to eat." 
And then she got also--it was always difficult to get 
good meat there, because it was a little place, but she 
got something still in the last moment. But it was very 
funny when he came out — he had the great humor, you know, 
this Meier-Graefe. He said, "I'm sorry I can't offer you 
dinner because the cat ate everything." He went every year 


to Germany because he had money there, he and his wife; 
they couldn't get the money out, but they could buy things. 
So they bought a Hanomag. That was the littlest car I 
ever have seen, much littler than you ever can have here. 
It was called Hanomag. This Meier-Graefe was a very tall 
man, and the Hanomag wasn't a very solid car. They came 
from the Rhine over the mountains to the south of France. 
And on the road, all of a sudden, the Hanomag broke apart, 
and with his long legs Meier-Graefe stood on the street. 
You know, his feet came down and he was standing in the 
middle of the wreck, standing. Nothing happened, but it 
must have been very comical. [laughter] 


AUGUST 8, 1975 

WESCHLER: We're in Sanary, and we're discussing some of 
the denizens of that community. One of them certainly 
who will be very interesting to talk about, I would think, 
would be Aldous Huxley. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, Aldous Huxley was very much against 
every foreigner. He was a great friend of [D.K.] Lawrence, 
the English writer Lawrence, who died also there [on the 
French Riviera (in 1930) ] . But he was very much against 
Germany, already before the Nazis. He didn't like German 
literature. He knew better German than he ever admitted, 
because he was a very erudite man. But he was very much, 
also like Heinrich Mann, for French literature. He especially 
was against German literature. We didn't know much about 
him; he was not very famous then. He became more famous when 
he wrote this Brave New World . But before he wasn't so 
famous yet: only in England, but not outside of England. 
So he was a little bitter, I heard. But that was not how we 
met him. When we were still in La Reserve, there came a 
man, a very tall strong man, who introduced himself as Mr. 
[William B.] Seabrook. He was an American writer, very 
famous in those days; he wrote mostly books about his travels. 
One made a great sensation in America because he wrote about 


cannibalism, in which he took part in Africa or so [ Jungle 
Ways ] . He had to, I think, because if he hadn't then he 
would have been killed also. 
WESCHLER: It was either eat or be eaten. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, ja, something like that. Anyway, I 
don't know anything much about the book. I read it, but 
it was not so sensational for me, because in literature 
you can read all kinds of things. There is incest and 
whatever you know; there is an English playwright, a classic, 
where the father loved his daughter, and the same was with 
the Borgia pope [Alexander VI] , who had an affair with his 
own daughter, Lucrezia. So I was not so easily shocked 
like the Americans. 

WESCHLER: You were pretty jaded already. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja, but the Americans were so shocked. 
And that made his fame. He came to the Reserve 
and said, "I know that you are here. I know, of course, 
your name--in America, everybody reads your books — and I 
want to introduce myself. I want to invite you to a big 
party in your honor." We said, "Where do you live?" He 
said, "This is not my house. I live in the hotel. The 
party's at Huxley's." So we went there, with great pomp 
and expectation [laughter] . I made myself as pretty as I 
could, and we brought also the secretary with us; because 
she lived with us, we couldn't leave her alone. And there. 


under a beautiful cherry tree, sitting in his garden was 

Aldous Huxley and his wife [Maria Nys] , looking very 

young, like a boy and a girl. All the people who were 

already there we met, many for the first time, even some 

who were German. I have also photos of this, some photos, 

which Mr. Huxley made, so he is himself not in the picture. 

But I am very much in front, because he wanted me to lean on 

the door, so I'm much too much in front of everything. Mr. 

Seabrook had only a swimming trunk and hair. [laughter] 

He was clad in his own hair. 

WESCHLER: What was Huxley's house like? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was not yet his house--it was a rented 

house — but later on he built another house. But it was 

very Proven(j:ale, you know, like in the Provence, the style 

of the Provence. Those houses were not obvious; they were 

in the landscape, like the other farmers lived and so. 

It was very beautiful, for my taste, but rather primitive. 

Later on he built a more comfortable house, and they had 

beautiful furniture there which her brother.... She was 

Belgian, and her brother [Nicolas] was a glass painter, and 

he built glass tables. It was absolutely new; later on 

it came also here, it has been imitated here. Glass paintings 

on tables: underneath the glass there was the painting. 

They were rather greenish, blackish, very beautiful, and 

with great taste. The whole furniture was mostly with 


glass and so. 

WESCHLER: Did you become better friends with Huxley 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, we were never very great friends. We 
saw each other, we invited each other, and also later here, 
but we also felt always some coolness from him, from his side. 
And then I heard also that in his diaries, he writes against 
the German writers, before he met us, how he's looking to 
this invasion of these German writers--and he spoke also about 
Feuchtwanger — that they all come here, and how will it be 
here then when they are all here? You know, he was very 
reluctant. And he had also great French scientists in his 
house, some Count of Neuilly. But he tried to be nice. 

There was another thing. Later on, when I looked for 
a house for a long time, [I had] the help of Sybille von 
Schonebeck. She was the daughter of a German general and 
lived also there and was a friend of the Huxleys. The 
Huxleys told me, "Sybille will help you find a house. She 
knows everything here in the neighborhood." She was a 
beautiful blond girl with blue eyes, rather a little fat, 
but very intellectual, and a great fan of Huxley. She was 
always, you had the feeling, always on her knees before him. 
We went around in a little Ford which had no doors, and through 
thick and thin and ruts — the roads had only ruts or so — but 
finally we found a house which was very much to my taste. It 


was really on a kind of peninsula. And the whole peninsula 
was — there was no real street there, just those dirt roads. 
And on the most outward tip, there was a little primitive 
house. Inside there was no furniture. It was the Provincial 
style: one big terrace the length of the house, and two 
stories. But downstairs there were only small rooms and no 
kitchen. There was only a very small room with an open fire- 
place where you had to cook. You could only cook with coals 
or with wood in the open. It was very good to cook there-- 
but what a work! And there was no garden; it was only the 
wild wilderness, with brush all around. And then you had to 
go down a very steep little walk, and you had a private 
beach. The whole thing was a kind of bay, you know. On the 
other side went the street up the hill with a beautiful line. 
It was so beautiful, the line. Like — somebody who came here 
said, "It's a little bit like your house in Sanary." Because 
you see Sunset [Boulevard] going up here like that. But 
of course there it was all wild with native trees, and no 
plaster or concrete or something, you know. 
WESCHLER: How far were you from other houses? 
FEUCHTWANGER: We had to walk thirty minutes to go to the 
village. We could go by car, but it was only ruts, you 
know . 

WESCHLER: On which side of the village were you? 
FEUCHTWANGER: On the west side of the village. But this house 


was just the ideal thing. After we had this comfortable house 
in Germany, you wouldn't believe that we loved it so much. 
But we forgot everything about our beautiful house in 
Germany, about the rugs which we lost and all the silver and 
whatever we lost, because the landscape was so beautiful. 
Behind there was nothing but brush, and in the background 
mountains, you could go for miles and miles without meeting 
anybody. Then I found out a gardener in the neighborhood; 
he had only a little cabin, a little hut, and big gardens 
with artichokes and those things. You could get everything 
there; he allowed you to. He said, "You pay me someday some- 
thing." I could go there and pick up the artichokes and the 
beans and everything without even seeing him. He never 
wanted anything. He said, "Ah, you are neighbors, you take 
what you want." And I found even a maid there for 
some hours. I needed a maid, because there were lots of 
people coming all the time, not only for tea. 

The first one was again Thomas Mann. Colo came with 
him. And there were people who lived with us. For instance, 
Kahn-Bieker — I told you about him: he also escaped from 
Germany, although they told him at first he can stay because 
his father was decorated and died in the war. He came with 
his Hollandisch girl, and they lived in a room beside the 
garage. We had no furniture — I found some mattresses some- 
where hidden — and they slept on the mattresses. I bought some 


linen, and they just lived there. They didn't even make 
their beds — they went right away in the morning swimming — 
and I had always to make the beds for everybody. And the 
secretary was with us. For five people I had to make beds 
and cook; and in the afternoon always came people for tea, 
and I had to arrange, I had to get the things to eat--it 
was just. . . . 

I had a little car, a Renault, which was I don't know 
how old. It was one of the first cars ever built, I think, 
and it was in terrible shape. It sounded like a sewing 
machine, but it worked. It was great, and also it went over 
all the bad roads, even in bad weather or whatever it 
was. You had to hold always the gears, because if not the 
gears jumped out sometimes; you know, you had to hold the gear, 
WESCHLER: It was not a Buick. 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was not a Buick, but I didn't miss the 
Buick, you know; it was so funny. It was so beautiful you 
can't imagine. 

WESCHLER: You've mentioned Thomas Mann now several times. 
It sounds as though you were becoming better friends 
with him during this period. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, we were very good friends there, and we 
saw each other very often. He came always with one of his 
daughters or sons or so. They were not always there, the 
children — they came and went — but he and his wife would visit. 


But his wife couldn't walk so far. I think she was not in 
this house; she came then later to the other house. 
WESCHLER: What was his general mood during those years? 
FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, he said, "Where I am is Germany." So, 
when all those German-speaking people--also in their houses 
were big parties always — they weren't dinner parties; it was 
tea. We had always high tea in the afternoon with lots of 
hors d'oeuvres or so, sandwiches and so. 
WESCHLER: Appetizers. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja , ja. But that was mostly in the afternoon. 
But also in the evening there were.... But it was outside, 
in the open; we had to sit on the ground. Also the Huxleys, 
they liked that so much. When you saw them going, he and his 
wife, you thought they were two scouts — boy scouts or girl 
scouts — they looked so young. He had always his arm around 
her shoulder, and they were very much for those picnics around, 
They went somewhere on the ocean. They didn't live on the 
ocean — we were on the ocean--but they often went on a beach 
where we lived, on the other side of our house, which was a 
public beach. A little beach also. And I saw them. Some 
of his friends swam in the nude there, we could see from 
above. On Sunday came people from the village with their 
cars and looked down and saw those nutty foreigners swim- 
ming in the nude, mostly the English (the Germans didn't 
dare that) . [laughter] 


WESCHLER: They were so cheap they wouldn't even have 
bathing suits. 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, no. [laughter] No, those people were 
not the cheap people. They were the people around Huxley. 
One was a lawyer, a famous lawyer, and there was a member of 
Parliament, Mrs. Wilkinson, a lady who came also to see the 
Huxleys — so there was also an English colony in a way. But 
those were not considered the cheap people. Only the nutty 
people. I remember once I saw two policemen with their 
bicycles, standing behind trees — they hid the bicycles some- 
where — and looking down. They should have arrested them, you 
know, but they wouldn't have thought of that; they just 
looked down to see them. [laughter] 

WESCHLER: How about Brecht? You've said that he came to 
visit you occasionally. 

FEUCHTWANGER: He came to see us, ja, ja. My husband was 
working very hard then, and so I took him to excursions 
around the very beautiful cities there, little towns, and 
also to Toulon and up the mountains beside that. From 
the medieval times little villages which you would think — 
they looked from bt?low as if they were abandoned. Very 
interesting with little, white walls around. Nobody knew 
about it. Only the Huxleys told us about it, because they 
always went going and discovering things. So they found 
this little village, and they only told us about it. So 


all the visitors who came — Brecht and Friedrich Wolf and all 
those people then, and [Kurt] Hirschfeld (who was later on 
director at the big theater in Zurich, in Switzerland, who 
played first in German Brecht 's plays) --they came all to 
see us, and I brought them around with my car. I had then 
an English car, in which you had to sit on the wrong side, 
but it was a very good car, a Talbot, very good, a big car, 
also a convertible. So I always had the whole car full of 

But first I had this little — "but that is another 
story," as Kipling said. First I had this little Renault. 
I have to finish with that because that's not so comical 
anymore afterwards. Once I came with Brecht and Zweig, who 
was also there at this time. They lived in a little hotel 
outside, on the other side of Sanary, on the east side. I 
picked them up with my car to come to us for dinner....* 

I always--! had no gas or so; it was always on the open 
fire that I had to make the dinner in the kitchen. We 
finally got from the landlord who was a lawyer in Toulon, and 
very tight — I told him, "I cannot take the house with, when 
I have no furnitur^; at all" (we didn't have anything). So 
he brought some old chairs from his house. They were very 
beautiful chairs, because they were antiques--they didn't 
know that. And then, we lived — we all had mattresses, we had 
no beds. And then what we needed most was that my husband 

*This story continues on page 904. 


had to have a table where he writes and where the secretary 
would write with a typewriter. So the carpenter in the 
village made a big — I told him to make a very big, long 
board, with two sawhorses on both sides, a big table. It 
was very beautiful wood: hard wood and a little reddish, 
but raw, you know, and it was just polished a little bit. 
This carpenter was a real miracle man, what he could do with 
nothing. He never asked for pay; I had always so difficulty 
to pay him. He just had — it made him so much joy to work 
for us. So we had some primitive furniture, some broken- 
down furniture which I repaired and glued together with a little 
gingham, a Provenyal material which looked like checkered, 
you know (the farmers had that). So I made that. I made a 
floor lamp. So it was very nice. It was primitive; it looked 
like a camp. [laughter] And all the famous people came from 
everywhere, from the whole world, to see us there in this 

WESCHLER: I'm wondering if you could perhaps in some way 
reproduce for us what some of the conversations were like 
about Hitler during that period. What did you, Brecht, Mann, 
Zweig, feel. . . ? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, that was not necessary to talk about. 
Everybody knew what there was about Hitler. We didn't even 
mention him. 
WESCHLER: Didn't you talk about him, about what would happen? 


What did you think as you were staying in exile...? 

FEUCHTWANGER: But we didn't think, didn't know — we didn't 

know anything what happened in Germany except that they 

prosecuted the Jews. That was all. 

WESCHLER: What was your sense of what would happen in the 

future at that point? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Mostly we were very pessimistic, except my 

husband. Very pessimistic. 

WESCHLER: How did that come out? What did some people say, 

for instance? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Oh, they didn't want to speak about it. They 

just said Germany is lost. They were hoping that there would 

be war against Hitler, that the other countries — they spoke 

much more about other countries than about Germany. They 

said the other countries are so cowardly, [letting him] do 

everything what he wanted and giving in all the time. 

But he was not mentioned because everybody knew about him, 

what this nightmare was. Most of the people were--about the 

world politics they spoke, that he can do without being 

punished. Everything was admitted, accepted, what he did. 

We were all upset about the other countries, that they were 

not upset about Germany, because we knew that it was just 

a nightmare. We did not speak very much about him. We only 

spoke about how we hope only that these people can come out. 

We didn't even know what happened with the concentration 


camps in those days. It was only later: after '38 it 
became, but the worst was after '40 when the war began. In 
those days it was just that we knew the Jews have been thrown 
out and their businesses have been dynamited or something like 
that. But mostly upset they were about the other countries 
who took everything for granted. Like with Ramsay MacDonald: 
they "swallowed" him. 

WESCHLER: Another question along this line: in what kind 
of visa situation were you with regard to the French govern- 

FEUCHTWANGER: That is a law since the revolution to take 
in everybody who asked for refuge. The other countries made 
great difficulties, but not the French. Everybody could come 
in. In Switzerland, they sent people back to Germany, they 
didn't accept many. And many they interned because they had 
no permission to work in Switzerland; and when they didn't have 
any money, they put them in concentration camps. It was very 
tragic in Switzerland. Of course, we could recognize that 
it was a small country and they were afraid of Germany 
because they always thought that Germany could invade them. 
And also then they had not enough work for their own people 
maybe. So they were very unkind. Only the rich people in 
the grand hotel could stay. And some have even been murdered 
by the Germans. For instance, the brothers Rotter — those were 
the famous theater people; they had great theaters in Berlin — 


they came to Switzerland by train, I think, and were already 

on the other side. But the Nazis followed them, and they 

were just going down a kind of embankment when one was killed 

and the other could escape. I think he was wounded. 

WESCHLER: That conflicts somewhat with the image that 

Switzerland has as having been throughout history a place 

for political refugees. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Many single refugees, refugees, yes, like Trotsky 

or Lenin or so, but not when they came in bundles, and not with 

their families. Usually there was one or another coming, and 

mostly that was more in French Switzerland; in Geneva there 

were lots of those people. But in France they were really 

— but also England made great difficulties and interned 

people. The brother of my husband [Ludwig] was interned 

on the Island of Man. They didn't even let them in. Finally 

they did, but it was difficult for everybody. 

WESCHLER: Continuing the catalog of people who were in 

Sanary, you said Arnold Zweig was in Sanary? 

FEUCHTWANGER: He came only to visit us. First he came 

with his wife and his two boys, and then they left for 

Israel; and then he came again from Israel with his older 

son, who wanted to go to America. So we saw him then. We 

brought them with our car from Sanary to Marseilles to the 


WESCHLER: I see. Was Ludwig Marcuse in Sanary? 


FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he lived there, too. We didn't know 
him well before. He was in Frankfurt most of the time. 
He was a born Berliner, but he lived in Frankfurt, so when he 
came to see us--everybody came first to see us--then we met 
his wife, too. He had a very nice little house. It was not 
bigger than this room, I think. Yes, not bigger than this 

WESCHLER: This is a fair-sized room, but not too big. 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, really not. He worked — he was more simple 
than even I would be. He worked on the terrace. There was 
a little terrace where they ate, of course, and they had 
always also visitors, and for eating she [Sascha Marcuse] 
was very sociable and had always cooked something for the 
visitors. They worked on the outside. This little house 
was in the middle of a garden--! think it belonged to a gar- 
dener — but not a garden like we had, too, with the vegetables: 
it was a flower garden. So it was surrounded by beautiful 
flowers. It was like an impressionist picture. And there 
he lived. But it was not possible to heat, so in winter he 
went to Paris. But in summer he was always in this little 
house. Very primitive. And he liked to write. He said, 
"You know, when I'm writing I don't even know where I am. 
I just want to write; that's all I want to do, writing." 
And everybody came, the very good friends — Schickele, Toller— 
and they were thus a kind of iron center, because they came 


every year again. 

WESCHLER: Like a magnet. How about Heinrich Mann? Was 
he there? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Heinrich Mann lived first in Nice, I think. 
Yes, he came to Nice. He didn't have to leave, of course. 
And then he came also to Bandol. He didn't find something 
to live there; there was no house for him. They were all 
gone already, the little houses, and he wanted a very little 
house--he didn't have so much money anymore. He earned enough 
money in the beginning of the twenties, you know, when his 
books which were prohibited came out, but then.... You 
know the writers always.... And then he was married with 
a very rich woman, but he divorced her, so he didn't have 
much money in Berlin. So he lived in a very small house, and 
he came sometimes walking from Bandol to Sanary, to this 
house. (You know we had two different houses in Sanary. I 
speak now from the first house, which was on this cliff.) 
And he came--sometimes he walked alone — just came on foot, 
and I brought him back with my car. I remember once it was a 
terrible tempest and a terrible rain; it was just a torrent — 
the water came like a river down--and I brought him back. We 
couldn't even see anything; you saw only yourself in the 
windshield. And it was very difficult to go from this 
peninsula. You had to go on very narrow little path up and 
down — no street, you know. When another car would have come. 


we never could have passed. Fortunately, there was no other 

car. So we went there, and there was deep water in the 

ruts. Finally we came to the road, to the highway, and from 

there it was easier. Then I brought him to his house, and I 

had to turn around my car before his house. But he didn't 

enter in his house: he stood outside, until I have turned 

around the car, with his hat in his hand until I had left. 

He was really a grand seigneur , you know; he was the last 

knight, you could say. He didn't go into his house as long 

as I was there. It was fantastic. 

WESCHLER: You mentioned that he, among the German emigres, 

was extremely important. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, he was. He was very.... He was more 

recognized than any other writer in France. For a long 

time, he was in Paris, and he was in touch with the great 

writers in Paris. And also they made this big Congress of 

the Burned Books. Without him, they never would have made 


WESCHLER: Can you describe that a little bit? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know if he has instigated it, but 

because he was so popular there and so estimated.... He wasn't 

a man who would be "popular"; he was too much of a grand 

seigneur . 

WESCHLER: Respected. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Respected, ja. And that was a big affair. 


WESCHLER: What did that consist in? What was it? 
FEUCHTWANGER: There came all the writers who were emigrants, 
and also French writers and some English writers. And 
[Andre] Malraux was the president of the whole thing. There 
was a big congress with speeches, and there was also.... 
Malraux was the president of the PEN Club in those days, 
although later it was Jules Remains. But I remember that 
Malraux spoke about Franco, because there was also emigration 
from Franco's Spain. And he spoke about this wonderful writer 
who has been killed by Franco. 
WESCHLER: Federico Garcia Lorca. 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja, Lorca. He spoke, in French, of course, 
about this pure writer. He wanted to say that he was nothing 
else but a writer, a pure poet. And then the Spanish delegate 
jumped up and shouted at Malraux that this man was a traitor 
and all kinds of things, and it was a great, great scandal 
how he behaved. The day before we had been at the reception 
of the Spanish in the great Hotel Georges Cinq (it was one 
of the best hotels) . There was a big reception of the 
Spanish delegates, and we all were there, and then on the 
next day he behaved like that. 

WESCHLER: This was a world congress of emigres in Paris 
at that time? 

FEUCHTWANGER: It was the PEN Club and also one which was 
called the Day of the Burned Books. There was also a big 


exhibition of the burned books [Bibliothek der verbrannten 
Biicher] . And there I met for the first time Anna Seghers , who 
was later in Mexico (there had been made a movie out of 
her book. The Seventh Cross [ Das siebte Kreuz ] ; it was 
a famous movie in those days). And everybody came there who 
was still in Europe. Not from America, I don't remember. 
But English writers and French writers and also Emigration, 
the great Emigration. And at the PEN Club, my husband has 
been named the German delegate, the president of the German 
delegation. That's why he was received by [Albert] Lebrun, 
the [French] president. The Germans from Hitler Germany 
were not allowed to come. It was very unusual, because before 
they always said no politics has to do with the PEN Club-- 
it's only a kind of republic of writers. But they didn't 
allow a delegation of the Nazis. So my husband was the 
president of the German delegation, which were only emigrants, 
of course. 

WESCHLER: Did that have any practical consequences or was 
it mainly honorary? 

FEUCHTWANGER: No, the only practical consequences was maybe 
that the government was more relenting to the Emigration, 
you know, because they saw what an important thing it is. 
Because you can't — maybe those officials in the government 
usually didn't know very much about literature or so. Nobody 
knew anything about Thomas Mann, for instance, who was not 


much translated in those days yet. Heinrich Mann was 
better known, and my husband (his books were translated) , 
although Thomas Mann received the Nobel prize. It was 
Heinrich Mann who played a greater role in France. 
WESCHLER: Looking at all the writers we've been talking 
about, how was it with their writing? Were some of them 
unable to write in exile in France, or did they all continue 

FEUCHTWANGER: They should have been unable, because they 
really didn't have much to eat; but sometimes, somehow, they 
managed, with also the help of the French writers and so, 
the people. But it was very sad, a very sad position for 
many. Mostly in Paris it was worse than on the Riviera, 
because in Paris it was also in a way more expensive, and 
then in a great city, you also get lost more. It's also 
more difficult to find help. And it has been said that 
many took out of the garbage cans something to eat. 
WESCHLER: Do you know of any writers who became unable to 
write in exile? 

FEUCHTWANGER: They were unable to write because. they had 
no stay, and they had no — but I wouldn't know. They tried 
to write; everybody tried to write probably. But I wouldn't 
know what happened in Paris; that was quite a different kind 
of thing. 
WESCHLER: But the writers in Sanary continued writing, all 


of them? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Yes, they could write all the time. They 

had also — there were newspapers, two German newspapers in 

Paris. One was the Paris Gazette [actually Pariser Tageblatt ] , 

I think it was called, and its publisher was the man who 

was the publisher before of the Vossische Zeitung , Georg 

Bernhard. He was a famous newspaper writer of the Ullsteins. 

And this publisher of the Vossische Zeitung was in Paris and 

published this newspaper. Of course, many people subscribed 

it, like we too, also. And then Leopold Schwarzschild 

published his periodical [the Neue Tagebuch ] . And everybody 

who worked for those papers--except my husband; he didn't 

accept any pay — had been paid when they worked. So people 

who had any name could make--not a good living, but at 

least they didn't die, they didn't starve. 

WESCHLER: What was the situation with regard to publication 

and royalties? \Vhen a German writer in exile had written 

a book — you've mentioned Querido in Amsterdam — what were 

some of the other houses that were publishing German writers? 

FEUCHTWANGER: There was another publisher in Holland. I 

forgot his name. [Walter Landauer's Allert de Lange] 

WESCHLER: Was it mainly in Holland that German writers were 


FEUCHTWANGER: Only in Holland, because in Holland they spoke 

a lot of German; it was very.... Later on there was also in 


Sweden several publishers who also published books of my 

husband. One was Gottfried Bermann-Fischer . 

WESCHLER: And how about royalties? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Nothing was changed. When somebody had a 

success, he got royalties; when he had no success, he didn't 

get any royalties. 

WESCHLER: They all came directly? There weren't agencies 

in Germany which were taking in money and not returning 

them to writers, for instance? 

FEUCHTWANGER: But they didn't send the money to Germany. 

WESCHLER: This was a problem with composers, very often, 

that the German performing rights societies did not any 

longer give money to composers. But that was not a similar 

problem for the writers? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I don't know about — what was that? But when 

a composer composed in another country and had there a 

publisher, he wouldn't send the money to Germany. 

WESCHLER: It was necessary to get whole new arrangements 

for composers with performing rights societies like ASCAP 

and BMI. That's a different story. But that was not as 

much a problem for writers? 

FEUCHTWANGER: I know only that lots of my husband's books 

have been sold by the Germans. They pretended that they 

have burned them, but they burned only one copy, and the 

others they sold. And this was a terrible damage, of course. 


because my husband didn't get the royalties. They sold 
them to all the German-speaking countries: in Austria, in 
Switzerland, even in Israel they sold the books of my 
husband (they didn't know that the money went all to 
Germany) . And for Querido it was a great damage, because 
when he offered the books in Switzerland, they said, "Yes, 
we have already the books. We bought them already." The 
bookshops had already German books, and the royalties went 
back to Germany. But that was because the Germans sold 
them for what they called valuta ; they got dollars for them. 
And poor Querido, he printed all the books and they were 
already sold, mostly with those who were famous in those 
days and had big editions. With the less-known writers, 
they didn't make the big editions, so there was much less 

WESCHLER: Well, I think we will stop for today. When we 
continue next week, I'd like to talk a bit more about life 
in France, and any anecdotes you have, but also.... 
FEUCHTWANGER: But also my accident. That happened then: 
I had this terrible accident. 

WESCHLER: Well, actually we have time to talk about the 
accident today — there is a little bit more tape--so if you 
want to tell that story right now, we can do that. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Once I went to Sanary, to the village, to 
pick up Arnold Zweig and Bertolt Brecht, to bring them to 


our house so we would sit together in the evening, what we 
often did. I brought them back with ray car [the Renault] , .' 
and I held the gears so that even on this very narrow hill 
street — it was not high, but it was very narrow and moun- 
tainous and hilly — it was all right. I turned around the 
car when they arrived so I could right away go back with 
them later. I put the brakes on, and I put the gear in 
reverse. Everything was right. I went out. All of a sudden, 
when we came out, there was a rain of meteorites. It 
rained meteors. It was a beautiful, clear night, full of 
stars, and the meteors rained down. 
WESCHLER: Down to the earth? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Down. It was beautiful. I remember it 
was the ninth of October [1933] . It never happened before — 
such a rain, such a shower of meteorites. Big meteors. 
They didn't hit us because they were usually extinct before 
they came to the earth. But it was all around. 
WESCHLER: But they landed on the ground near you? 
FEUCHTWANGER: No, I told you, they didn't, because they were 
extinct always. They explode in the air usually, and it's 
very rare that a meteor comes down. But it was just a shower 
of big, long — it was more like fireworks, you know. And 
all over the Mediterranean--it was a very clear night-- 

you could see them: it looked like they were falling in 
the sea. We had never known beforehand something like 


that. So we came just out of my little car, we saw that, 
and Brecht said, "Let's go down to the beach" — you know, 
our private beach--"because then we wouldn't be disturbed 
from the light of the house and can see better the whole 
spectacle." So he went down the hill on foot with Zweig, 
and I went into the house and said, "Lion, come fast, come 
out. Brecht and Zweig are already down on our beach" -- 
he didn't even know about it; he was inside the house-- 
"to see the meteorites." So he came out and went also 
down the hill, the very steep street, and I followed him. 

All of a sudden, when he was already half-down and he 
met the two others--! saw the three standing there — my 
car moved. I was out of the car. Moved and went by me. 
It just moved. And I was... they were directly ... it rolled 
directly in the direction of the three men. So I jvimped 
up from outside, and through the window I wanted to brake 
the car. [But the handle] didn't move because it was al- 
ready braked so fast. The brakes underneath were broken: 
the reverse gear had jumped out, what it did very often, but 
the brakes were broken, too. And the car was just running. 
So I jiomped on the running board, turned the steering wheel 
to the other side, and the car — one of the wheels came into 
a rut — overturned to the left and rolled over me (I was 
lying underneath) , landed on the other side of the street, 
and went up again. Was straight in the same direction. And 


I was lying there. I touched myself: I didn't feel any- 
thing at all; it seemed good. And then, all of a sudden, 
I felt here, and that was all blood. My hand was full of 
blood. I had a compound fracture of the ankle. They 
later found that the ankle was broken into twelve pieces, 
and above the shin was broken, and that too was compound. 

So there I was lying, and then I shouted down--the sec- 
retary, Lola, was still up [at the house], and she came out 
when I shouted so much — I said, "Lion, come up. I'm lying 
here." And then Brecht came also, and I said to Brecht, 
"Give me your belt so I can stop the blood." I've told 
you that we had no telephone, and it was night, so the 
two men wouldn't know how to go there, to the village. So 
I said, "I have a flashlight in the car. Take the flash- 
light and go to Huxley's." I said, "You follow the road 
behind, just follow the road, it goes around--there is no 
other road--just follow the road and then it comes to the 
house of Huxley. There they have a telephone." So the two 
men went there with my flashlight and told the Huxleys that 
I am lying down here and that they need a doctor and an 
ambulance. Mrs. Huxley was very, absolutely fantastic, 
so efficient. She called the doctor, who came, a very old 
doctor. (I asked the doctor for morphine, because I thought 

maybe I would have a terrible pain afterwards.) And then 
she also telephoned to Toulon, which was two hours away, to 


send an ambulance. Then she waited at the beginning of the 
peninsula, on the road; she waited for them, [otherwise] 
they would never have found where we lived. So she waited, 
in the middle of the night, waited for the ambulance. The 
doctor told me he wouldn't give me any morphine. He 
has it with him, he said, but it's better not. I wanted it 
because I knew my husband would accompany me in the am- 
bulance, and I wanted to speak with him. I thought I cannot 
speak when I have so much pain. But I don't remember, 
even without morphine, that I had any pain. It was perhaps 
the shock. I only told my husband that I probably am dying, 
because these compound fractures were always deadly in those 
times, and it was infected. It was raining before, and I 
was lying in the mud with the wound, so I thought there is 
no doubt it's infected, and I didn't think that I would come 

We had had the intention to go--several weeks afterwards 
we wanted to go to Israel, but we never came to Israel 
because this happened. And I made myself always a remorse. 
I was very remorseful; I thought something is wrong. It 
was my fault, I always said. But it wasn't my fault, because 
Brecht the next day came to see the ruins of the car — the 
car was still right there. He tried also, and he said he 
couldn't even loosen it, so strong had I pulled the brake. 
Later it has been fixed, and I sold the car for the same 


price as I paid for it. 

WESCHLER: Well, among other parts of this story, you can 
be credited with saving a big fraction of German literature. 
FEUCHTWANGER: Ja. If it wasn't for Mrs. Huxley, though, 
I would never have lived through that. I was in the damp 
dirt, with an open wound in this dampness, because it had 
rained so much.. 

v;ESCHLER: Did you then become sick? 

FEUCHTWANGER: Ja . When I was in Toulon it was.... I 
got a very good doctor [Dr. Villechaise] who learned about 
all those things during the First World War. He said he 
had many experiences like that. He was the first one who 
could take bullets out of the lung; he made the first 
operation. That was never before. But he said that almost 
for a week I was in danger to lose the leg; he said he prob- 
ably has to amputate the leg under the knee. And he always — 
everybody wanted to see me, you know, and he said nobody can 
come in there. The secretary was wild because she was so 
angry that I didn't receive her. But I didn't know anything; 
I had nurses — they were nuns, you know, wonderful nurses — 
and they didn't let her in. She said it was my fault, but 
I didn't even know she came, because I was with fever. The 
doctor said that as long as I have fever, I am in danger 
to have an infection and then he has to amputate. But finally 
the fever left me, and he didn't have to amputate. 


WESCHLER: How long were you in the hospital? 

FEUCHTWANGER: A long time. We gave also up our house. 

My husband went to Paris, he had something to do there with 

a newspaper thing, something like that. And also winter came- 

it was October — and the house could not be heated. I gave 

up the house. For a short time the secretary was still there, 

I It was not her fault, but when she wanted to take a bath.... 


j The only thing which [the landlord] really did for us was 

that there was a bathtub there, but no heating. [So he put 

in] a gas--butane, it was called; it was hanging — a heater. 

The gas had to be brought from Toulon in a bottle. So she 

turned it on, and it exploded, and the whole thing was 

black. Nothing happened to her, fortunately, but then we 

had to pay for all that, because he was a lawyer and he 

took advantage because I was alone. 

Later on I came from Toulon to a sanitorium in 

Bandol. I had a very good doctor; the same doctor who was 

at that night with me took me there, and he didn't charge 

anything, except what I had to pay for the room. 

WESCHLER: How long were you in the hospital? 

FEUCHTWANGER: The whole thing was six months. 

WESCHLER: Good Lord. Well, as a footnote — although I 

suppose that's the wrong word — it should be mentioned that 

you don't limp at all today. 


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