For the books of a hundred and twenty-year-old whose work has been completed for 40 years, it is astonishing how much of it is still present in the bookstores and how much biographical literature has been added. Not undeserved, as Anna Seghers was one of the defining German writers of the 20th century. Impossible to present all titles here. We therefore limit ourselves to a selection.
In time for the anniversary, the diligent Anna Seghers researcher Monika Melchert has the volume “Under the protection of the eagle and the snake. Anna Seghers in Mexican exile « submitted. In it she describes the time of the flight from the as yet unoccupied Marseille to neutral Mexico. The originally chosen exile in the USA was denied Seghers because she was under “suspicion of communism”. What is particularly interesting is the description of the bureaucratic madness to which the people waiting for entry permits and crossing were exposed. In addition to the political refugees from all over Europe, half a million Spaniards had temporarily found refuge in France. But there was also selfless help. The Mexican consul issued 40,000 visas to refugees before the consulate was closed by the Nazis. Overseas emigrants organized material support and helped to gain a foothold in exile. A compelling story with many illuminating cross-references.
Seghers herself has the Marseille experience in her novel »Transit« processed. After his escape, the German Georg interned in the labor camp assumes the identity of another refugee who killed himself out of desperation. By chance Georg meets his wife Marie, who has separated from her husband, but needs his signature for the saving visa and is therefore looking for him. Georg is trapped in his wrong identity, falls in love with Marie and cannot reveal the secret. Maybe they could come together, but time is not made for love. Georg stays in France, while Marie’s ship will not reach its destination.
After the film adaptations of 1977 and 1991, both charming in their own way, the director Christian Petzold took on the story again in 2018, but relocated the roughly identical plot of “Transit” to contemporary France. An ingenious approach that emphasizes the timelessness of this exile story and gives the female characters more depth than the Seghers original. Originally Petzold wanted to make the film together with Harun Farocki, but he died in 2014.
Monika Melcherts comes like an elegant sketch “Wild and tender dreams. Anna Segher’s years in exile in Paris 1933 – 1940 « therefore, a reasonably carefree time for Seghers, at the same time a swan song to the age of European bohemians, when the anti-fascist popular front failed. “Coming back to a cold country. Anna Seghers in Berlin 1947 – 1952 «, by the same author, describes the return of the exiles, accompanied by hopes and fears. It was time to expel the fascist spirit and build democracy, but the western emigration was met with violent distrust of those who were loyal to Moscow. Her presentation can be checked against that of Christiane Zehl Romero “Anna Seghers. A biography. 1947 – 1983 “, the second volume of the entire biography, which deals critically but empathetically with Anna Seghers’ role in the fierce ideological debates about the “New German Literature” and the claim to an all-German vs. deals with separated literature. The conversations with Anna Seghers that Achim Roscher, editor of the magazine of the same name, had and recorded with her are nice to read. “Fly into the open with a double door” takes the aura of the unapproachable in a charming way, lets them speak their Mainz dialect, also be a little quirky and reveals a lot about a country in which literature was taken seriously. Again and again supposed to “The Seventh Cross” Recommended: the children, grandchildren, and especially those who think fascism is again or still an opinion.