Academic journal article German Quarterly

Hitler's Exiles. The German Cultural Resistance in America and Europe

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Hitler's Exiles. The German Cultural Resistance in America and Europe

Article excerpt

Zühlsdorff, Volkmar. Hitler's Exiles. The German Cultural Resistance in America and Europe. London, New York: Continuum, 2004. 240 pp. $29.95 hardcover.

For anyone interested in the study of German cultural emigration in the years after 1933, this book, originally published in German in 1999, will prove indispensable. Volkmar Zühlsdorff, who was a political editor of the West German weekly Die Zeit and member of the diplomatic service, gives a detailed account of the Deutsche Akademie der Künste una Wissenschaften im Exil and its various activities in Europe and the United States. In a thoughtful and spirited narrative, Zühlsdorff recounts the story of this organization from its foundation in mid-1936 as a platform for German intellectuals to speak out against Hitler to its dissolution at the end of 1940. Hitler's Exiles is clearly structured, well-written and offers countless valuable insights into the plight and hopes of an émigré community, portrayed by the author with quite emphatic overtones as a representation of the andere Deutschland. Several chapters deal with the biographies of lesser known emigrants like Prinz Hubertus zu Löwenstein, founder and spiritus rector of the Academy, whereas other sections reflect on the rather prominent and well researched exiles Thomas Mann and Sigmund Freud, presidents of the literary and scientific division of the Academy respectively. In addition to these illuminating biographical parts, the author traces the development of the Academy in various fields, e.g. its ambitious plan to support German cultural refugees by scholarships or its public relations strategies in the U.S. and in England to acquire the necessary funds. The translation by Martin H. Bott is superb and should comply well with non-German-speaking readers, especially by providing English editions of titles cited and quoted wherever possible.

However, two central aspects of this work require some critical remarks. First, the book is indisputably a solid and well researched analysis, relying heavily on the current literature as well as on unpublished archival materials, most notably from the Deutsches Exilarchiv in Frankfurt am Main. …

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