The Great Families (Die großen Familien)


In the trial of our friends Küster[1] and Jacob before the Imperial Court, the State Prosecutor, Herr Jörns, rose, and spoke to Berthold Jacob[2], „Do you have a brother in Paris?” “Yes.“ „What is your brother doing there?“ „He is studying literature and history. He is about to publish a book.“ The prosecutor, „Does your brother have contacts to the French General Staff?” “No.” “To the scond level of the French General Staff?”

Continue reading


Journey into Bliss (Fahrt ins Glück)

Halbinsel Darß, Urlauberinnen im Strandkorb

I drag my Rolls-Suiza out of the the boathouse, check the propeller, and set off. The overland route is through Holstein, past the village of Lütjenburg, where Jakob Wasa fought the famous battle of Lütjenburg with Georg the Heizbare, in the year 1601, in which six horses were killed under him. The crowns of trees and hills greet me, and there lies the Baltic Sea. The road leads through Haffkrug, Scharbeutz, and Timmendorfer Strand.

Continue reading

Oh you, my sweet evening star! (O you my sweet evening star!)


Dear Emil Ludwig[1], buy Columbia no. 14002, don’t look at the label, and play the record on the precious gramophone which I hope that our publisher Rowohlt has bought you in an attack of megalomania. What will then happen is as follows: someone plays Wagner, the lovely song about the evening star. But how does he play it? In the only way in which one can still play it, as jazz. Dear Emil Ludwig, it‘s great!

Continue reading

Women are vain. Men? Never! (Frauen sind eitel. Männer? Nie!)


It was in Hamburg, where every sensible travel itinerary should end, because it is Germany’s most beautiful city, and it was in front of the three-part mirror. The mirror was in a hotel, the hotel was in front of the Alster, the man was standing in front of the mirror. The morning clock showed exactly five and twenty past nine.

Continue reading

Un Allemand


The huts stand grey and hopeless against the illuminated colours of the cemeteries. Their occupants, workers from the industrial area of Valenciennes. Flemings with plastered down, red-blond hair and broad, helpless hands, take refuge between the graves on Sundays. They promenade backwards and forwards on the clean gravel paths. Defiantly exhilarated, they inhale the scent of the trees, which belong to the dead.

Continue reading