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Judaica] Zweig, Stefan.

Address…In Aid of German Jewish Women and Children. (With TLs by Anna Freud, #5302)


Stefan Zweig Rallies Aid For German Jewish Children, 1933,
Together With
A Letter About Zweig By Anna Freud
[Judaica]. (Zweig, Stefan). [From the front wrapper:] Address by Mr. Stefan Zweig, At the House of Mrs. Anthony de Rothschild, On Thursday, November 30th, 1933, To the Committee for the Luncheon at the Savoy Hotel, Dec. 20th, 1933, In Aid of German Jewish Women and Children. [n.p., 1933].
12 mo.; interior fresh and bright; hard cardboard printed wrappers, sewn; wrappers lightly soiled; red cloth spine; an attractive copy of a most scarce publication.
Boxed together with:
Freud, Anna. Typed letter signed, "Anna Freud," to Mr. T. MacCallum Walker, London, 4th October 1956.
8vo.; one leaf, typed on one side only; folded horizontally for mailing; else fine.
First edition of a privately published speech by Zweig on a most important cause, together with a typed letter signed by Anna Freud (a respected psychoanalyst in her own right) in which she discusses her father's assessment of and friendship with Zweig.
The address by Zweig is a perceptive, eerily prescient talk about the dangers impending for Jewish children and adults in Germany. Zweig discusses the harsh conditions for Jews in then-contemporary Germany (which would worsen as the decade progressed), examining both the external and internal psychological harms inflicted upon German Jews on a regular basis. He implores his audience to contribute to a fund to send German Jewish children to Palestine, suggesting this as the only viable alternative to subjecting an entire generation to ceaseless abuse:
I…wish to speak now not of the entire tragedy of the Jews in Germany, which staggers, but only and solely of the terrible plight of the children.
Certainly, the catastrophe that has come upon the Jews of Germany has affected all alike, people of all ages, men and women. It has torn innumerable people from their home, from their work, from all that life meant to them, from a community of which they had formed part for centuries, and the record of this devastation has already filled many volumes.
….The adult may find consolation in the history of his ancestors, in similar events in the past, and he has the comfort of knowing that by far the greater part of the world condemns what is now being done in Germany. (p. 1)
Zweig goes on to discuss the impact of the German situation on children, who are much more vulnerable; he mentions Freud and his theories in passing:
It is the defenseless, the children, the young people, the growing generation who must have all our care, for they are in danger, almost in mortal danger, faced by a double peril.
The first menace that confronts the Jewish children in Germany to-day is the sense of inferiority. We know, through the splendid work of that great Jewish master of the soul, Sigmund Freud, that the sense of inferiority is not merely a light shadow cast upon the soul…but a very serious malady which saps the vitality and destroys the joy of life. And we also know, thanks to his revealing researches now long accepted by the entire world, that the malady is almost invariably implanted in childhood.
….This sense of inferiority is the terrible epidemic that is menacing the Jewish children of Germany to-day, and we Jews know better than anyone the sinister nature of this malady, for it has afflicted our whole people for centuries. It has been the endemic disease of our race, the terrible infection to which we succumbed for centuries in the Ghetto… (pp. 3-4)
Zweig ends this short but powerful speech with a plea to send "as many Jewish children as possible" from Germany to "the native soil of Palestine" so that they can live in freedom and with self-respect (p. 7). His concluding paragraph is particularly chilling, when juxtaposed with the historical reality:
The children to whom you are extending your kindness do not yet know for how much they will have to thank you. But from the books of our forefathers we have learnt that no good deed is ever lost in obscurity, and free and happy Jewish men and women will one day, with bright and shining eyes, thank you for having saved their youth for them and thus retained in them the capacity of loving with unbroken soul this world that is common to us all. (ibid. 8)
Zweig's pamphlet is housed with a later letter from Anna Freud, who writes about Zweig's relationship with her father Sigmund Freud in 1956 in answer to a query. The letter merits quoting at length:
So far as I know, my father never wrote a review of one of Zweig's volumes of novels. He also never made a study of Zweig's character and I can assure you that Zweig has never been in psycho-analysis with my father.
All I can tell you is that my father thought extremely highly of Stefan Zweig's literary work, enjoyed reading it and enjoyed discussing it with him. Also he always showed great liking for Stefan Zweig personally and was always willing to see him as a visitor when he came to Vienna, or later in London.
Anna Freud, Austrian-English psychologist and the youngest daughter of Sigmund Freud, was born in 1895. Anna left school early, and after teaching at primary school became her father's secretary and pupil. In 1922 she became an active member of the International Psychoanalytical Association and began practice; in 1925 she was Secretary of the Vienna Training Institute, headed by Helene Deutsch. Over the next few years Anna Freud established herself as a specialist in child psychology.
In 1932, the threat to Jews in Austria obliged Anna to emigrate with her father to England, where he died in 1939. During World War II she directed Birlingham, which afterward became the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic, with Anna as Director. She did not return to Vienna until 1971, when she was given a standing ovation at the 27th International Psychoanalytical Congress. In 1972 Vienna University awarded her an honorary M.D., one of many such honors she received. She died in 1982.
Stefan Zweig, writer and intellectual, was born in Vienna in 1881. He went to college and received a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna. Zweig modeled himself and his work after the fin-de-siecle decadents like Verlaine and Baudelaire, beginning with poetry and turning to the short-story as his preferred format. His early writings were primarily published serially in Viennese literary newspapers.
At a more mature age Zweig turned to biography, the form for which he is most remembered. Several of his biographies were written as "triptychs"-meaning that three persons were covered in one work. One dealt with Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, and Freud. He also explored drama, writing, amongst other plays, Jeremias, a work that the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia describes as popular among German Jews as it was "a call to peace when there was still hope of peace" (Vol. 26, p. 680).
Zweig emigrated from Vienna to London and then to Brazil just before or, perhaps, during the war; accounts vary. He ended his life in Brazil on February 23, 1942, never seeing the resolution of the war whose resistance had so occupied him.
(#5303 / #5302)

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