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Weimar in Exile: Exile in Europe, Exile in America

Overview

The artists and writers who left when the Nazis came to power were “the best of Germany.” Palmier weaves their diverse stories into a history of magisterial scope.

In 1933 thousands of intellectuals, artists, writers, militants and other opponents of the Nazi regime fled Germany. They were, in the words of Heinrich Mann, “the best of Germany,” refusing to remain citizens in this new state that legalized terror and brutality.

They emigrated to ...

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Overview

The artists and writers who left when the Nazis came to power were “the best of Germany.” Palmier weaves their diverse stories into a history of magisterial scope.

In 1933 thousands of intellectuals, artists, writers, militants and other opponents of the Nazi regime fled Germany. They were, in the words of Heinrich Mann, “the best of Germany,” refusing to remain citizens in this new state that legalized terror and brutality.

They emigrated to Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Oslo, Vienna, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Mexico, Jerusalem, Moscow. Throughout their exile they strove to give expression to the fight against Nazism through their work, in prose, poetry and painting, architecture, film and theater. Weimar in Exile follows these lives, from the rise of national socialism to the return to their ruined homeland, retracing their stories, struggles, setbacks and rare victories.

This absorbing history covers the lives of Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Doblin, Hans Eisler, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann, Anna Seghers, Ernst Toller, Stefan Zweig and many others, whose dignity in exile is a moving counterpoint to the story of Germany under the Nazis.

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Editorial Reviews

Le Monde
“A monumental work.”
Le Monde Diplomatique
“Jean-Michel
Palmier published books on Georg Trakl, Hegel, Lenin, Lacan and
Marcuse, as well as studies on German expressionism and a great work on the fate of anti-Nazi intellectuals, Weimar in Exile,
celebrated by the Académie française. Everything fascinated him. He was a scholar who anxiously, almost mystically, quested after knowledge,
and reminded one of a medieval philosopher even more than of a
Renaissance man of letters. He was obsessed with art and culture. He was a surveyor of the past who tracked its faintest traces.”
From the Publisher
“A monumental work.”—Le Monde

“Jean-Michel Palmier published books on Georg Trakl, Hegel, Lenin, Lacan and Marcuse, as well as studies on German expressionism and a great work on the fate of anti-Nazi intellectuals, Weimar in Exile, celebrated by the Académie française. Everything fascinated him. He was a scholar who anxiously, almost mystically, quested after knowledge, and reminded one of a medieval philosopher even more than of a Renaissance man of letters. He was obsessed with art and culture. He was a surveyor of the past who tracked its faintest traces.”—Le Monde Diplomatique

Le Monde
A monumental work.
Le Monde Diplomatique
Jean-Michel Palmier published books on Georg Trakl, Hegel, Lenin, Lacan and Marcuse, as well as studies on German expressionism and a great work on the fate of anti-Nazi intellectuals, Weimar in Exile,
celebrated by the Académie française. Everything fascinated him. He was a scholar who anxiously, almost mystically, quested after knowledge,
and reminded one of a medieval philosopher even more than of a Renaissance man of letters. He was obsessed with art and culture. He was a surveyor of the past who tracked its faintest traces.
Publishers Weekly
One of the many sobering lessons of the Third Reich was the failure of Germany's intellectual elite to stop the rise of Hitler. Starting in 1933, with Hitler's assumption of power, German poets, philosophers, playwrights, artists and scientists-including Bertolt Brecht, Thomas Mann, Walter Benjamin, Stefan Zweig and thousands of others-seeing the writing on the wall, packed up and found new homes. French scholar Palmier has written a well-nigh exhaustive work on this cultural diaspora. His staggering achievement is to portray the exquisite poignancy of these exiles' situation: powerless Germans forced to watch their country implode from abroad. Palmier's deceptively straightforward structure cloaks a far more cunning and generous approach. "Europe" ends in Barcelona, while the American phase ends with McCarthy; thus, he shows, these cultural stalwarts were learning new forms of political disappointment with each passing day. Palmier's command of this vast subject is truly breathtaking; he finds space to address exiles in Turkey, China and Latin America; exiles in American academia; and the legal problems they faced. And all the while, the story of these exiles is really, by indirection, the story of the Third Reich itself constantly agitating against them. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844670680
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 7/15/2006
  • Pages: 896
  • Sales rank: 598,820
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Michel Palmier was Professor of Aesthetics at Université Paris I, specializing in German artistic movements of the 1920s and 30s. He is the author of, among other works, L’Expressionnisme et les arts and Retour à Berlin. Weimar in Exile was awarded the Prix Eugène Piccard for a work of modern history by the Académie Française.
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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Exile in Europe 1933-40 : from Reichstag fire to Spanish war
1 Assassination of a culture 23
2 The beginnings of emigration 49
3 The stages of exile in Europe 134
4 Exile as everyday tragedy 227
5 The organization of support 267
6 First reflections on the meaning of the emigration 281
7 The struggle against national socialism 299
8 Birth and decline of the Volksfront 331
9 Press, publishing and literature in exile 361
10 Antifascist theatre in exile 410
11 The emigres and the Second World War 426
Pt. 2 Exile in America 1939-45 : from the Second World War to McCarthyism
12 The confrontation with Nazi Germany 457
13 Weimar in America : the strangers in paradise 499
14 Academic in exile 552
15 The breakup of the political emigration 559
16 Emigration in Latin America 571
17 The emigres in wartime America 580
18 Perspectives of Germany 604
19 The antifascist emigres and the beginnings of McCarthyism 619
Epilogue : Cassandra 647
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