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September 21, 1979 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-09-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

42

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, September 21, 1919

Jewish Intellectuals Proliferated in Pre-Nazi Germany

By ALLEN WARSEN

"Part of my purpose in
writing this book is to give
British and American
readers some inkling of
what was lost in the collapse
of the Weimar Renaissance,
and how much of remains
forgotten to this day. Those
who have not studied the
arts of Germany in detail
can hardly be expected to

grasp the magnitude of the
disaster."
Thus wrote Frederic V.
Grumfeld in his book
"Prophets Without Honor,"
published by Holt, Rinehart
and Winston.
The volume is an historic
account of the Jewish intel-
lectuals who were among
the foremost scientists,
literati, critics, and publi-

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cists in pre-Nazi Germany.
They included Fer-
dinand Julius Cohen, the
founder of bacteriology;
Paul Ehrlich, the inven-
tor of the first practical
form of chemotherapy;
Franz Boas, the tather of
cultural anthropoloty;
Albert Einstein, who in-
troduced the theory of
relativity; Sigmud Freud,
the founder of
psychoanalysis; the
poetess Else Lasker-
Schuler; poet-critic Wal-
ter Benjamin; and scores
of others.
In spite of their immense
contributions to German
culture, these intellectuals
were despised and maligned
by German Jew-haters.
They accused Einstein of in-
troducing Jewish physics;
Freud of inventing Jewish
psychology; Mahler's music,
they claimed, "spoke with a
Jewish accent — sie judelt."
The author recounted
eloquently the life-stories of
the most renowned
German-Jewish intellectu-
als. Among these are Sig-
mund Freud and Gustav
Mahler.
Freud, the father of
psychoanalysis, was born in
Freiberg, Moravia in 1856.
His mother, born in Galicia,
died at the age of 95 and is
remembered for her vitality
and impatience. His father,
Jacob, a descendant of a
Lithuanian family, strug-
gled all his life to find "ways
of earning a living." Yet, de-
spite their poor living condi-
tions, the family
encouraged Sigmund in his
studies; and he "always,
managed to be first in class
in school."
While in his teens, he



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enrolled at the University of
Vienna where he felt the
sting of Austian anti-
Semitism.
Years later, he re-
minisced: "Because I was
a Jew I found myself free
of many prejudices
which restrict others in
the use of the intellect: as
a Jew I was prepared to
be in the opposition and
to renounce agreement
with the 'compact major-
ity. ,
Not
surprisingly,
psychiatrists who came to
Vienna in the 1920s from all
over the world to study
psychoanalysis were as-
tonished to hear: "Prof.
Freud? Never heard his
name."
"The Introduction of
Dreams," published in
1899, is regarded as
"Freud's greatest adventure
in his exploration of the un-
conscious" and the begin-
ning of psychoanalysis. This
great book was followed by
"Psychopathology of Every-
day Life" and other books.
His last published book was
the controversial "Moses
and Monotheism."
Soon after the Nazi inva-
sion of Austria in 1938,
Nazis broke into Freud's
home, robbed it, and were
ready to send him and the
members of his family to a
concentration camp. But
thanks to the intervention
of friends who ransomed
him, Freud and his family
were allowed to leave Vie-
nna for London where he
died in 1939.
Prophetically, "When
the war broke out he was
certain that it would
mean the end of Hitler,
but when a speaker on
the BBC declared that
this was to be the last
war, Freud said wearily,
Anyhow, it is my last
war.' "
Gustav Mahler, the
foremost conductor of his
generation, was born in
Kalischt, Bohemia in 1860.
His mother, Maria Her-
mann, was the daughter of a
soapmaker, whom she mar-
ried against her better
judgment. Some time later
Gustav remarked that his
parents were "as ill-
matched as fire and water."
Remarkably, Gustav at
age of four knew by heart
200 popular songs, reports
Bruno Walter. "Whenever
he could not be found at
home, it was certain that he
had gone marching off with
some regiment, or else he
might be standing on a
"Kaffeehous" table singing
songs for a throng of cus-
tomers."
Years later, Mahler be-
came known as the greatest
Wagnerian conductor. Yet,
he was excluded from the
Bayreuth Wagner Fastval
by the composer's widow,
Cosina Wagner.
Natalie
Bauer-
Lechner, Mahler's first
wife, described him as
follows: "Mahler, who is
below middle height, has
a delicate, slender and
spare body, though an
extraordinary strength
and suppleness, hardly
equalled even by the tal-

lest. In Budapest, he used
to carry his sister Justi,
who is heavier than he is,
fully dressed in her
winter clothes and fur
coat, up three flights of
stairs every day to save
her having to walk up;
since she was very ill."
Mahler's final triumph

took place in Munich in
1910 when he conducted his
"Symphony of a Thousand"
before an "audience that in-
cluded most of the
luminaries of the Austro-
German musical world."
He died a year later, in
1911, at the age of 51 in a
Viennese sanatorium.

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