Zweig, Arnold


German-Jewish writer Arnold Zweig was born in 1887 in Glogau (now Głogów, Poland). He studied history, philosophy, psychology and literature at various German universities. In 1912, he published his first novel, Claudia; its psychologically complex characters become Zweig’s trademark in all his following works. Although he volunteered for military service and fought in France, Hungary and Serbia during WWI, Zweig left the army a convinced pacifist. Der Streit um den Sergeanten Grischa – the novel that brought him international fame ­– was based on his own combat experiences and was the first in a series of war novels. Zweig also became known for his essays, some of them co-written with his close friend Lion Feuchtwanger, about Judaism, anti-Semitism and the theories of Sigmund Freud. Zweig was one of the first authors to consider psychoanalysis in his writing, in part due to his long-standing friendship with Freud. In 1933, Zweig emigrated to Palestine via Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, and France. In Palestine, he worked on Das Beil von Wandsbek (published in Hebrew in 1943, in German and English in 1947), based on a newspaper article he had read. In this novel, he explored the psychological underpinnings of resistance and conformism in Nazi Germany.


In October 1948, Zweig returned from exile and settled in East Berlin, where he obtained high official positions. He became the president of the German Academy of Arts of the GDR (from 1950 until 1953) and the German P.E.N. Center East and West (after 1967 P.E.N. Center of the GDR).  He died on November 26, 1968 in Berlin.


Bibliography & More:

1962 Traum ist teuer (A Dream Is Expensive)
1957 Die Zeit ist reif (The Time Is Ripe)
1954 Die Feuerpause (Ceasefire)
1943 Das Beil von Wandsbek (The Axe of Wandsbek)
1935 Erziehung vor Verdun (Education before Verdun)
1934 Bilanz der deutschen Judenheit (Taking Stock of German Judaism)
1932 De Vriendt kehrt heim (De Vriendt Goes Home)
1931 Junge Frau von 1914 (Young Woman of 1914)
1927 Der Streit um den Sergeanten Grischa (The Case of Sergeant Grischa)
1920 Das ostjüdische Antlitz (The Face of Eastern Jewry)
1912 Claudia


1962 Arnold Zweig (doc. about his life, dir. Joop Huisken)
1951 Das Beil von Wandsbek (The Axe of Wandsbek, based on his book)


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