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Journey of No Return

Among the 70,000 refugees from Nazi Germany who had entered Britain by 1939 were many intellectuals of the Weimar era. This book tells the story of five emigre writers, three German, two Austrian - the Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig, the leading Berlin theatre critic Alfred Kerr, the popular lyric poet Max Herrmann-Neisse, the radical, pacifist journalist Karl Otten, and the Austrian novelist and parodist Robert Neumann. All were banned from publishing in Germany from which they fled for their lives. Only Zweig was already known in Britain. Using unpublished diaries, letters and government records, the author describes the difficult often dramatic and tragic lives of these men and their families. New light is thrown on London publishing and, in particular, on the wartime BBC, especially the new German Service. Attention is also focused on the political disputes among the emigre's; also on those who tried to help them. These exile writers were harshly treated by a less cosmopolitan and more ignorant society than today's. This book aims to rescue their lives and work, recreating circumstances, experiences and achievements which would otherwise be lost to British 20th century cultural and multi-cultural history. There are quotations in the text in English from the work of all five authors.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Departure - the flight of the intellectuals: Alfred Kerr - the king of critics; Max Herrmann-Neisse - the poet as outsider; Karl Otten - a writer of conviction; Robert Neumann - with the pens of others; Stefan Zweig - the world's most translated living author; and arrival. Part 2 The waiting-room, 1933-1936: the cultural context - Stefan Zweig - "miles away from politics"; Robert Neumann - lost in translation; Max Herrmann-Neisse - "my life is ever emptier"; Alfred Kerr - "an irreproachable and harmless young man of 67 years". Part 3 Isolation or integration, 1936-1939 -aspects of appeasement: Karl Otten - the shadow of Spain; Alfred Kerr - living "from miracle to miracle"; Max Herrmann-Neisse - "monologue on a foreign stage"; the end of Austria - Stefan Zweig - the burden of success; Robert Neumann - an expert in survival; peace in our times. Part 4 Enemy aliens, 1939-1941: the phoney war and internment - "concentration camp -English style"; the world of yesterday; "quietly and inconspicuously"; "doing their bit" - German writers at the BBC; "marching on" - Karl Otten as scriptwriter; "serving the cause" - Alfred Kerr and the BBC. Part 5 No man's land, 1941-1945: writers without language -death of a European; metamorphosis - the making of an "English author"; the limits of cultural mobility; "after the war is over..." - thoughts on Germany; free Austria. Part 6 Return journey: once an emigrant, always an emigrant.

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