Oral Histories

Interview of Marta Feuchtwanger

German émigré. Wife of author Lion Feuchtwanger.
Subtitle:
Emigré Life: Munich, Berlin, Sanary, Pacific Palisades
Topic:
German Émigrés
Literature
Interviewer:
Weschler, Lawrence
Interviewee:
Feuchtwanger, Marta
Persons Present:
Feuchtwanger and Weschler.
Place Conducted:
Feuchtwanger's home in the Lion Feuchtwanger Library, Pacific Palisades, in the modern German literature room.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Lawrence Weschler, Assistant Editor, UCLA Oral History Program. B.A., Philosophy and Cultural History, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Processing of Interview:
Marta Feuchtwanger had been a primary candidate for a UCLA oral history for several years already at the time that Lawrence Weschler of the Oral History Program staff approached her in June 1975 to contribute to a series of short interviews that he was conducting with friends of his grandparents, Ernst and Lilly Toch, to supplement the program interview of Lilly Toch. Mrs. Feuchtwanger, as a dear friend of the Tochs, was pleased to participate. Following this session with Mrs. Feuchtwanger, Program Director Bernard Galm decided to extend this initial contact into a full-fledged oral history of Mrs. Feuchtwanger herself. Mr. Weschler resumed the interviews with Mrs. Feuchtwanger on June 17. The two undertook a rigorous schedule of tapings, sometimes as many as three per week. As the interview proceeded, Mrs. Feuchtwanger prepared typed outlines of material she wished to cover, and, somewhat nervous about her fluency in English, she insisted on reviewing the outlines at the outset of each session before the tape recorder was turned on. Once the interviewing had begun, Mr. Galm sought independent funding to help in processing the mammoth transcript. Negotiations with the University of Southern California (the custodians of the Feuchtwanger Library) were brief and cordial, and by May 11, 1976, Harold Von Hofe, dean of the USC Graduate Division, and Mr. Galm agreed on a plan of evenly shared sponsorship of the oral history.
Length:
50 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Audio:
A few more Berlin stories: first airplane ride--An early thought of living in France--Copyright angle concerning Jud Süss and resultant legal wranglings--Yiddish language production--Life in Bandol--Urging by English Prime Minister MacDonald that Lion write an anti-Hitler novel Die Geschwister Oppermann--The various fates of Lion's family--The German émigré colony on the French Riviera--Rene Schickele and Julius Meier-Graefe.
Further tales of Sanary--Aldous Huxley--The Feuchtwanger home in Sanary--Thomas Mann, Brecht, Zweig, and others: thoughts on the fate of Germany--Legal status of German Émigrés in France--Ludwig Marcuse--Heinrich Mann--The PEN Club's Congress of Banned Books in Paris-Productivity and publication of German writers in exile--A terrible accident: Marta's crushed leg.
A few more German stories: repression of Thomas Mann's Wälsugenblutt--Georg Bernhard, Hjalmar Schacht, and Black Friday--Further tales of Sanary--Alfred Kerr and Richard Strauss--Nazi spies in Sanary--Kahn-Bieker, Lion's assistant--The second Feuchtwanger house in Sanary--Employing other political refugees: overwatering the garden--Refugees from the Spanish Civil War--The Sanary library and its fate.
Books and money in Sanary--Arnold Zweig in Israel--Eric Scudder--Alma and Franz Werfel--Werfel's writings--A Nazi spy--Werfel's politics and religion--Lion's Moscow trip, 1937--German émigrés in Russia--An interview with Stalin--Lion's changing attitude toward Stalin--Meeting Russian writers and theater people.
More on Lion in Moscow, 1937--Moscow 1937 and émigré reaction--The betrayal of Leopold Schwarzschild--The False Nero--Exil. [Video Session] (August 13, 1975) The onset of the war--Lion interned by the French--The Werfels--Nazi takeover: Marta's internment in Hyères and Gurs--Marta's escape--Tracking Lion down.
Tracking Lion down in Vichy France--Lion in the internment camp at San Nicolas, near Nîmes-Marta sneaks in the camp, disguised as a black marketeer--The suicide of Walter Hasenclever--Plotting Lion's escape: Marta in Marseilles--The American consulate in Marseilles--Lion sprung by Marta and the Americans--Life in a Marseilles attic.
The suspenseful escape out of Vichy France--Help of Varian Fry and Hastings Sharp--The prior departure of the Heinrich Manns and the Werfels--False papers for Lion--By ruse out of Marseilles, by foot over the Pyrenees--Close calls on Spanish trains--Arrival in Lisbon--Lion's quick departure--Marta in Portugal alone: further terrifying misadventures--The kindness of the Werfels--White Russians in charge of the Lisbon émigré office--By ship to New York at last: one further snag--Arrival in New York.
Thoughts on marriage and fidelity--Lion's gambling--The pressure of exile--Further tales of Sanary--Huxley and friends--Other residents and visitors--Julien Luchaire--Baron Rothschild--Ernst Bloch--The Frankfurt School in exile in Pacific Palisades: Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno--Thomas Mann, Schoenberg, and Doktor Faustus--The last days in Sanary: coming war and internment.
French internment of Communists prior to the war--Interned Communists sent to Soviet Union--Lion's last days in Sanary: Les Milles and San Nicolas--Further tales of Hyères, Gurs, and Marseilles: prelude to escape. [Second Part] (August 19, 1975) Further tales of the denizens of Sanary--Arrival in New York, 1940--An attack on Lion in Time--American anti-communism--Louis Nizer--The Roosevelts--Welcoming parties at the homes of Robert Nathan and Jules Remains.
Sidebar on Adolf Schicklgruber--Lion and Marta: from New York to Nogales--The Schoenberg family in America--Back into America and to L.A.--The Devil in France--Die Brüder Lautensack. [Second Part] (August 22, 1975) Further tales of Munich and Schwabing--Further tales of New York: Sascha Rubinstein and the Free French Movement.
More tales of New York: procuring a secretary--The successive homes in Pacific Palisades--A grateful Alexander Granach--Emil Ludwig--Finding the house on Paseo Miramar--Its history--Digging out and digging in--A beautiful rug--Furnishing the house.
More on the house on Paseo Miramar--The Brechts, from Moscow to L. A.--Initial residence of the Brechts in L.A. and move to Santa Monica--Lion and Brecht collaborate on Simone--Fritz Lang and Brecht collaborate on Hangmen Also Die--More on Simone and its eventual production. [Second Part] (August 27, 1975) Charles Laughton and Brecht collaborate on an English-language Galileo--Later history of Brecht performances in L.A.--Salka Viertel.
Salka Viertel's "salon"--More on Brecht in L.A.--His friends and difficulties--His relations with his children--Heinrich Mann's sad final days--His wife's alcoholism and eventual suicide--Present at his death--Thomas Mann in L.A.--Further thoughts on the Nobel Prize.