Eine Jugend in Deutschland

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek


Ernst Toller (1893-1939), born in Samotschin/West Prussia, actively contributed during his time in Munich to the November Revolution of the first Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner, who was later murdered. In 1918, he was elected as member of the directorate of the Bavarian Workers, Farmers and Soldier councils and condemned after the defeat of the Soviet Republic to five years of imprisonment in the fortification of Niederschönenfeld. Toller counts among the most important dramatists of expressionism; he wrote his dramas in part during his time in prison ("Die Wandlung", "Masse Mensch", "Die Maschinenstürmer", "Der deutsche Hinkemann"). His autobiography "Eine Jugend in Deutschland" (A Youth in Germany, 1933) is probably the most famous German confessional book from the period immediately preceding the taking of power by the national socialists. It recounts Toller's development from a German bourgeois person towards a revolutionary socialist and tells about his childhood in Samotschin, about his being an outsider as a Jew and about his experience during WWI. In addition, it charts the political work of the post-war years up to his prison sentence. Central topic is the contradiction between humane aims and inhumane means. The book ends with Toller's discharge from prison in 1924 with an air of restrained optimism: "I am thirty years old. / My hair turns grey./ I am not tired." Datum: 2016


Peter Czoik

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