The writer L.F. could compose prose at the rate of 25 lines per hour and poetry at
the rate of 50 lines. During an hour of composing prose, he generally lost 13 ounces in
weight. His writings were banned 278 times, 922 reviewers extolled his inner religiousness,
1,075 reviled him for his blasphemy and called for the Public Prosecutor. He met
912 authors, among whom were 18 really gifted men and one and a half geniuses; one of these
geniuses did not write.
on himself (1940)
The Jewish/German Lion Feuchtwanger, born 1884 in Munich, Germany, is probably well known
for his book Jew Suess (Jude Süß) published in 1925. The book, well received
in England and America, inspired the Nazis in making their propaganda movie "Jude Süß
Feuchtwanger studies Germanistik and Philosophy at the University of Munich (1903) where
he makes friends with other contemporary writers like Frank Wedekind,
Marta Löfler (who he marries in 1913) and Heinrich Mann. The dramatic events in the
First World War (He and his wife manage to escape from internment in Tunis) and the Social
Revolution in the former Weimar Republic, become two main reasons to become friends
with the radical poet Bertolt Brecht. In 1918 he finishes a short play, 'Jude Suß', which
is a huge success at several theatres.
Starting from the early twenties he works closely with Brecht: together they write
several plays: 'The life of Edward the Second' (Leben Eduards des Zweiten von England, 1924),
directed by Brecht and set design by Caspar Neher and 'Calcutta, May 4th' (1925) (Kalkutta, 4. Mai).
1925 is also the year that 'Jude Suß' reappears, now published as a novel: the tale about the tragic
life of the Jew Oppenheimer who lived in the 17th century. Obviously, Feuchtwanger's novel draws historical parallel lines with
the life of Walter Rathenaus.
In 1927 his short play The Oil Island (Die Petroleuminsel) (with songs composed
by Kurt Weill) premieres. The play is probably one of his last works for the theatre
in Germany: From 1927 onward, Feuchtwanger concentrates on writing novels. His
first book of the trilogy Josephus appears in 1932, in a Germany that is shaken up
by the rise of the Nazi party.
In 1933, when Feuchtwanger visits America, Goebbels labels him as the worst
enemy to the German people and stripps of his German nationality and doctorate
degree. His house and property (including manuscripts) in Berlin are confiscated.
Feuchtwanger finds asylum in France, and starts writing his first political novels
against the Nazis, like his Hitler satire, 'The Pretender' (Der falsche Nero) (1936).
Eventually he and his family are interned in Aix-en-Provence (1940), but with the help
of his wife, he manages to escape to Spain/Portugal and arrives in America.
He rejoins with Brecht in Los Angeles, collaborates with him on several Anti-Fascist
rallies and completes his Josephus trilogy. His American citizenship application is
denied: he's being accused of having Communist ideas by the Joseph McCarthy committee.
From 1950, he mainly dedicates himself to portrait Jewish traditions writing
several novels like 'Jephta and his daughter' (Jefta und seine Tochter) (1954).
Feuchtwanger dies in 1958, Los Angeles.
Feuchtwanger Memorial Library