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Return to America

MERICA. MAY 1,” began Ludwig’s entry in his journal, recording the year “1934” a second time, as if to declare his rebirth.1 Together with Thelma, Jim, and Nanny, Jim’s Swiss nurse, he had arrived in Montreal the previous day,2 and had spent an agitated night. Ludwig’s first speaking engagement was scheduled for that first evening, but the trunk with his formal attire remained unaccounted for, and while Nanny continued to experience the ill-effects of the sea crossing, Thelma grew so out of sorts over her son’s crying that Ludwig finally booked a separate room for her. As Ludwig attempted to calm Nanny so that she could care for Jim while he addressed those assembled in his honor, a woman appeared at his door weighted down with copies of his work, seeking his autograph in each. “Without putting Jimmie down, and without ceasing his consoling German to Nanny,” Ludwig fulfilled her request, set Jim to rest, and went forth to meet his new audience.3

Settling into their new home with Thelma’s mother in Burlington, he would write Canfield on May 12 that “from the day of our landing twelve days ago, everybody has been [so] admirably kind to me, that we are modestly but comfortably placed here, as I hoped we would be.”4 Thelma recalled their homecoming in more triumphant terms a half dozen years later: “The Vermont hills looked up into the sky with a peace and benediction. My mother welcomed us with open arms and for the first time all of us were together—my mother, Ludwig, my son and I. The whole town turned out to do us honor.”5

If Ludwig was relieved to be home, he remained hesitant to feel as positive of the larger and smaller communities across the country who, through their government representatives, had first conspired to keep him in a state of exile, and then restricted his travel while still refusing to permit him to legalize his marriage and legitimize the status of his son. “After the miseries and the drying up of both hope and resources of the past two years, my initial impression of America is probably more favorable than just,” though he did admit to some possible need for its revision. Only a few days earlier he had “sat for hours with a group of splendid lads at Dartmouth … and won their confidence and answered their questions and found, what I had hoped, that my kind of thinking was not unwelcome to our youth. That heartened me greatly,” he told Canfield, who had by now shared Altar’s disappointing notices. “For half-clear but half-obscure psychological reasons American reviewers are determined to do me in.” How these younger lads had “consoled me for the drivel of the parlor-Bolsheviks and gin-age survivors and id omne genus who write the reviews.” He would need more time and a chance to see other cities and meet with other people, but something was stirring within him even after so brief a period back home, something he would want to write about, “an amusing and not unimportant article on my return: The American Scene After a Decade, or simply: Exile’s Return.”6 Twenty years later, Ludwig’s friend from Paris, Malcolm Cowley, would write in a book of this latter title that

A generation of American writers went out into the world like the children in Grimm’s fairy tales who ran away from a cruel stepmother. They wandered for years in search of treasure and then came back like the grown children to dig for it at home. But the story in life was not so simple and lacked the happy ending of fairy tales. Perhaps there was really a treasure and perhaps it had been buried all the time in their father’s garden, but the exiles did not find it there. They found only what others were finding: work to do as best they could and families to support and educate. The adventure had ended and once more they were part of the common life.

Cowley would also speak of what Ludwig had quickly sensed in himself, of how

During the years when the exiles tried to stand apart from American society they had pictured it as a unified mass that was moving in a fixed direction and could not be turned aside by the efforts of any individual. The picture had to be changed after the Wall Street crash, for then the mass seemed to hesitate like a crowd in a cross wind. Instead of being fixed, its direction proved to be the result of a struggle among social groups with different aims and of social forces working against one another. The exiles learned that the struggle would affect everyone’s future, including their own. When they took part in it, on one side or another (but usually on the liberal side); when they tried to strengthen some of the forces and allied themselves with one or another of the groups, they ceased to be exiles. They had acquired friends and enemies and purposes in the midst of a society, and thus, wherever they lived in America, they had found a home.7

If Ludwig had not yet found a home, he had at last found a refuge and a struggle to engage him.

Other matters, of course, occupied his thoughts in these first days. “I am, as you can readily imagine, financially stripped to the bone,” in part because of “the redoubtable Anne,” whose lawyers’ latest legal ploy was again drawing Canfield into the judicial circle, and for which Ludwig offered his apologies, confident that he could trust Canfield “to lay it on thick” in supporting this latest settlement offering, “an extremely handsome one considering my precise situation.… Heaven knows the simple truth of the extent to which I’m in the red is gruesome enough.” Only the continuing work of his agent, Feakins, to book lectures and the hoped-for success of his forthcoming collection of essays, Toward Religion, for which he would soon rewrite the introduction to fit the latest political developments, promised to keep his family from descending into poverty, “despite the morons on the papers.”8

Mary’s seven-page response to Ludwig’s letter of the previous January, written over a seven-week period from early March to late April, had been sent by her to Canfield on April 23.9 No stranger to her threats of libel, Canfield declined to comment and merely acted again as the intermediary. Now rested, and gradually finding himself energized by his new surroundings, Ludwig was anxious to take up the challenge. “I’ll answer A. C.’s very funny letter shortly,” he assured Canfield on May 19. “She’s morally indignant over the shifts into which she forced Thelma and me by refusing to divorce me. Well that’s precisely her inimitable Crumpishness.”10

Mary’s letter, like Ludwig’s before it, was less than conciliatory, as much a brief for her own case as his had been for himself. Though Mary appeared to mourn the absence of this will toward accommodation, her rejoinder was as venomous as his opening. With right and wrong enough to share, neither was willing to own more than a small portion of the mutually destructive path they had both blundered upon. Ludwig had, of course, opened his assault with a foray against her character and an unbecoming reminder of her advanced years.11 Mary’s reaction was no less vituperative.

Your letter, the first I have received from you in eleven years, shocks me by its guile and fills me with despair for your moral sense. Nowhere in it is there any evidence of a desire to adjust the balance between us, nowhere an appeal to truth or to human kindness, no hint of relenting or regret for the irreparable wrongs you have done me—only specious eloquence, dishonest and unworthy implications, half-truths and untruths; indeed, this document of yours, carefully calculated by its crafty exclusions to exculpate yourself and fix on me the onus of our tragic situation, would not seem to have been written for me at all but rather for that public to which, after my death, you propose to exhibit it.

Once again leveling the charge of libel for Up Stream and Mid-Channel, Mary then alleged that material had been stolen from her and used in the first part of Crump, “thus achieving for yourself the invidious distinction of being the only author in recorded history who ever stole his wife’s creative work and used it to libel the creator.” She further accused him of attempting, thereby, not only to libel her for the present, but to cause her irreparable and lasting harm by offering an insidious portrait “of a despicable older woman who in your early manhood imposed herself and the burden of her children on you and seventeen years later blighted your life by refusing to release you legally to the younger woman who had displaced her and who at the end of ten years with you in Paris has now borne you a child.” If anyone was “responsible for its legal status,” it was “you and you alone … [who] with conscious hypocrisy” had created this impasse, only to “invoke my ‘humanity’” without warrant.

It was her declared intention to set the record straight, in spite of his efforts to delude himself and his readership. “Since you have the subjective delusion that truth is what you wish to believe it—having long ago revised the facts of our common past to suit your changed emotional life—let me call to your attention a few pertinent truths.” She flatly denied any refusal on her part to grant a divorce years before, but rather asserted her willingness and his refusal in 1925, and then again a year later, to reach such an agreement—though she failed to recall the financial terms she had set before him as the central issue in all of their wrangling over the previous decade. She reminded him of his deceit in having her go to California to bid her son farewell before accompanying him on his Zionist mission (for which he had asked her to study Hebrew), only to discover that he had moved out of their home during her absence. Such deceptiveness was at the root of his posing with Thelma as husband and wife—as was his long-standing falsification of the record of support for Mary’s children, which she claimed was limited to but one instance.

Having “shared your poverty, sacrificed my own career to safeguard yours, dispensed with domestic service, assisted you in all your literary work,” and cared for his parents in their long periods of illness, she sought not vengeance, but justice for “foisting the lie of your marriage to Miss Spear on the public while you libeled and starved me.” Willing to consider the possibility of his current impoverishment, she further claimed no “desire to penalize my worst enemy, all the less that he was once my dearest friend…. My primary concern is not money but reparation—reparation for the eleven year campaign of slander you have waged against me.” There was, as she so carefully worded her disclaimer, no wish to “exact my pound of flesh.” But if there was to be a settlement (though “no adequate reparation” was truly possible, for “words once lodged in the human consciousness remain”), it had to contain not merely a “statement of vindication,” drawn up by her attorney for his signature, but also “authorization to use your letters, my best vindication, in an autobiography of my own.” The record had to be corrected. Only then could they “proceed to any economic considerations…. To pass over a book [Crump] in which you have lied your true love for me out of existence, vulgarized every aspect of our past relations, ghoul-like, desecrated the memory of my mother … and held up to public ridicule my own defenseless children would be to transcend my humanity.” More than all other considerations, “Crump blocks the way … to peace and to nobler activities … a monument of shame to you, to you who meant it to mark the ruin of my reputation and my life.”12

Claiming “a genuine attempt at sympathetic insight,” Ludwig was no less unpleasant in his response. “You have your subjective vision and I have mine,” he wrote Mary on May 22. “The relation of each vision to truth will depend on the quality of mind that entertains it.” Reminding her again of her advanced age, with references to her birth and first marriage certificates (1861 and 1889, respectively), he spoke of the canceled checks in his possession as proof of support payments after his willingly admitted deceptive departure from their home. If this charade had included letters professing a renewed love for her, she had left him with little choice. “Every other means of obtaining that freedom to which every human being is entitled … had failed.” He was less than proud of his actions in this sordid business, but would “certainly not authorize you to publish any letters of mine…. In view of your protracted dealing with the Schmittberger detective agency, that particular account—handsome on neither side—is square.”

Her unwillingness to accept responsibility for “the shifts to which I was occasionally put by your refusal to divorce me,” or for the situation into which she had thrust his son, was, he maintained, inexcusable. “It is the universal custom among civilized people to dissolve a marriage if either of the partners is utterly unwilling to continue it, quite irrespective of the merits.” Admittedly lacking legal sanction “before God and man,” his marriage to Thelma had its own legitimacy “by the quality of our union for many years now.” Was she that unaware, Ludwig asked, of how her actions had “so alienated from you the sympathy of people”?

Yet, for the sake of his family, he would issue the statement Mary demanded. Clearly, “the portrait [in Crump had] hardened your heart and impelled you to become more and more deeply involved in that very malignity…. Understanding] this process and fact,” he would “make due allowance for it” in a new introduction to Crump, declaring the book “a work of the creative imagination, having no closer relation to reality than similar works, having transmuted observation into art and hence unrelated to any person living or dead or to any happening that ever took place in the realm of reality.” Curiously, Ludwig remained silent at the charge of plagiarism, perhaps aware of the thin line separating his account of Mary’s life from her own in the now lost Don Juan’s Wife.

As for a monetary settlement, there simply wasn’t anything to draw upon at this time. “I’m hard put to it today to make a modest living.” Decade-old figures for alimony had no contemporary basis in reality. He could never meet those early terms, nor the debt incurred. Even his half of the libel settlement was being paid by Harpers. Her only hope, Ludwig advised Mary, was to “divorce me and thus give me the freedom of New York where my opportunities seem to lie.” If not, “in the present almost universal poverty,” no one would “expect me to give you anything until all unjust and vindictive impediments have been removed.”

“That covers the case once and for all,” Ludwig concluded his response, asking that all future “propositions” be made through their lawyers.13 Assigning Canfield the task of go-between once again, he forwarded “this letter to Mrs. Crump” for proper routing. “It’s the last time you’ll be bothered,” he promised. “As you will see by reading it there’s no sense in wasting even a little time or energy. She’s a little mad.”14 Besides, there were other pressing items on his agenda that day, issues bearing more directly upon the well-being of his family. An upcoming address for the United Jewish Drive in Providence on June 4 would provide an excellent opportunity for the sale of This People, to be advertised, he advised Canfield, “with the slogan that I consider it my best Jewish book.” If this approach worked, perhaps “we could do a lot of business in time.”

The following week Ludwig and Thelma returned to Montreal, where, at the Mount Royal Hotel, they were guests of the B’nai B’rith convention. The absence of his books at the hotel bookshop struck him as a lost opportunity. Angry with himself for not having thought to arrange for their availability, he wrote Canfield on May 31, suggesting that Harpers’ sales department contact Montreal’s largest bookshop “while the impressions are fresh.… People do so eat up the notion, poor things, of autographed copies.” He further reminded Canfield of his upcoming talk in Providence, and added that his speech before the annual convention of American Zionists in Atlantic City on July 1 would offer another sales opportunity. With savings running out and income scarce, Ludwig ended with a further inquiry concerning Saxton’s promise of a thousand-dollar advance upon completion of the book of modern Jewish thought, now that only a “very few weeks work” remained.15

Ludwig was still at work on the introduction to his collection of essays, Toward Religion, when he wrote Canfield on June 14 to discuss a change of title to A Search for Truth, hoping thereby to broaden the book’s appeal. At the same time, he noted how the need to prepare for his public appearances had begun to take its toll upon his writing, upsetting his schedule, keeping him from meeting deadlines where once he had managed to submit his manuscripts earlier than anticipated. This was particularly distressing given his financial situation, just then complicated by the Treasury Department’s examination (“on my track before arrival”) of his tax record, for which every manner of documentation from Harpers and Europe was needed.16

“Only now, six weeks after our arrival, do I find—quite literally—the time to send you my Ave. Briefly, even today—but from the heart,” he wrote Leonard four days later in his first letter from the States to his old friend. “All things ran down abroad, financially and morally. The second as seriously as the first.” But at least he had made the right choice in coming home. “Here, above all now, is my place; here, even more as things are, than in Palestine.” His supporters—Arthur Garfield Hays, Stephen Wise, John Haynes Holmes—“understood” this, knew of the important role he could play at this critical moment, and had assisted him both in his entry and in keeping “dampened … the still living fury of the redoubtable Anne Crump.” He had already “spoken in the chief New England cities for the benefit of our persecuted brothers in Germany,” and wondered how his old friends in Madison, Hohlfeld and Bruns, “were bearing themselves in this crisis.” He asked Leonard to be certain to “tell them that my Germany is in exile with my friend and master Thomas Mann.” In continuous contact with Mann throughout this period of Nazi ascendancy, Ludwig felt confident that “our vision of the whole disaster is identical.” Yet, unlike their heartfelt disappointment with the direction Germany had taken, his central concern was the survival of his own people, whose fate he pledged to ameliorate if possible, and to share, if the moment arose, as an expression of the highest spiritual and moral values open to all mankind. “Speaking strictly for myself: I repudiate the plunge back into tribalism and the death of human personality of both the Right and the Left. If a Dark Age is coming in which both hordes of neo-barbarians offer only a choice between their Koran and the sword—I choose the sword in either case. I shall go under (symbolically speaking, I hope) with the Sh’ma Yisrael of my people (which might well today become one of the slogans of all free men, if there are any left) upon my lips.”17

In the early days of July, Ludwig expanded this same message into “An American Comes Home,” seeking to support and encourage those more reasoned voices whose goals for America he shared and through whom alone some efforts at Jewish rescue might be realized. After its publication in October, there would be little doubt left among old colleagues and young critics as to his position regarding other avenues of change. If he had once severely attacked America as culturally shallow and morally oppressive, he had come to witness the failure of higher cultural expression as a guarantor of freedom, and to see how much more deeply oppressive a regime’s exercise of authority could become. By comparison, the symbolic roles formerly played by Europe and the United States had suddenly been reversed. “An American Comes Home” marked Ludwig’s unequivocal and irrevocable break with those whose vision of society, he believed, would eventuate in the suppression of individual human freedom and dignity, as similar ideas had already demonstrated their ability to do abroad. “In many things in which Europe is supposed to excel (and did so, historically speaking, till the other day) it is now America that excels.… Recent events in certain countries, in Germany above all, have proven up to the hilt a platitude which several generations of American liberals have treated with alternate jeering and disdain: culture, the broad dissemination (nowhere as broad as in modern Germany) of abstract philosophizing and aesthetic appreciations, has of itself no saving, no humanizing power.”18

“Aware of how naive I shall be thought by a considerable number of Americans,” he hastened to assure his readers that his prior “criticisms of America … so widely applauded twelve and fifteen years ago” were not now being retracted. Rather, he sought to broaden their reach “to the entire Western World.” But, alongside this acknowledgment, he insisted upon the admission “that to many parts of that world, especially today, and especially under brutal tyrannies of the neo-barbarians, there are to be addressed criticisms compared to which any criticism of American society is still a compliment.”

If he now praised “the common people of America, the people who sustain this civilization … who have amazed me and moved me most,” he did so unashamedly and with a vision of his country humbled by hardship in this era of Depression, but also made by it “more aware, and hence an intellectually more flexible America.” There was, in this renewed spirit, something of the “America of my youth, a land cheerful, frugal, democratic, determinedly hopeful even in adverse circumstances, an unpretentious land in which the processes of living are less solemn and less difficult, less complicated and ensnaring than in other lands.”

It was as if, seeing Europe demythologized, he now saw the America of his father’s Jeffersonian vision validated. In the process of recovering this vision of the land and its people “whom I had most thoroughly forgotten,” he had come to believe “in their undefined and not quite definable conviction that, though stricken by comparable difficulties and defeats, we must find our own way out.” No need existed for the importation of ideas alien to “the core of American life” out of which, in some slowly developing organic way, the path toward recovery would emerge. It would, of course, have been foolish to ignore the inequalities in America, for they clearly existed and demanded redress. But they were a constant in all societies, regardless of the ordering, and not cause for uprooting what was fundamentally sane and humane in those values which had long created “a society overwhelmingly lower middle-class” where the community’s leaders, regardless of higher status and monetary success, rarely believed “that the qualities by which they succeeded make them better or higher-class than the ordinary citizen.”

There was no doubt in Ludwig’s mind that such ideals were increasingly endangered, and already absent in more than one place in America. But on balance, after years abroad and two months at home, they still seemed clear enough in evidence and worth preserving and utilizing in the quest to correct these inequities, regardless of what those less patient or less sentient advocated out of blind adherence to some unexperienced abstraction.

I have come out at the other end, at the beyond, of all current sophistications; heckling Communists leave me cold. I am, moreover, old enough to be resigned to the fact that the highest goods of human civilization have always been and will always be the possession of a small minority. Well, that minority exists in America and is not so different from the comparable minorities in other lands. It is the common run of American men and women that I find still to be less driven and hardened, less cruel and rapacious, far less either flunkies or snobs, kindlier, better-spirited, freer and more naturally conscious of freedom and, therefore, more tolerant than the people of other Western lands. And I attribute these qualities to certain virtues in the traditions of our polity which, despite the moral evils fastened on us by the War, by Prohibition, by the gambling fever of recent Administrations, have not wholly perished from the land.19

Ludwig reserved his sharpest attack for those of his own generation whose camp he once shared, but who had now abandoned it for the fires of a less experienced youth, undermining the very foundation upon which they had constructed their critical edifice, and from which, ironically, they were drawing the right to express ideas in which self-destruction was inherent and obvious. Few would heed his wake-up call, and fewer still would forget it in the years ahead, ensuring Ludwig’s widening abandonment and isolation from circles whose epicenter he had helped to define. In contradistinction to the political fashions of the moment, Right and Left, he insisted that “we must find our own way out.”

Why is this particular strain in American life so little noted? Because the more vociferous youth in our great centers of population has morbidly repudiated the better part of its heritage; it does not demand freedom and peace; it does not demand the application of reason to the solution of economic problems; it demands catastrophe, an imitation of another so-called revolution, the “liquidation” (a great sage called Freud could tell them something about the phenomenon of self hatred) of the class from which it sprang. And older people, who should know better, “tired intellectuals” who once fought all the battles of American libertarianism, are feebly playing into the hands of the pseudo-revolutionaries and are thus sabotaging their own resistance to the darker Fascist menace that is seeking to get a foothold on these shores.

“Let me not be misunderstood,” he insisted. Not for a moment should the reports of want and neglect in America be doubted. “I deny no accusation and discredit no report.” But he refused to deny as well—as had “liberals and radicals of my own and the succeeding generations”—that there existed, at bottom, true “virtue—virtus—in our people and our polity, in the character of our very errors and failures, in our temper and in our attempts,” precisely that type of virtue which “makes for a humane civilization” and which was now all but gone from Europe, replaced on the Right and Left by appeals “to force and to fanaticism,” the only resistance to such inhuman authority on one side of the spectrum being the other’s use of the same approach, “another brand of force and fanaticism. The Fascists expel or murder … the Communists starve them…. Even in France, even in England, you feel in the very air the menace of barbarism and blood, of torture and wild fanaticism.”20

Now, “after a long and intense experience from within, stepping into the sunshine and comparative serenity of America,” he was willing to accept “the accusation of reactionary, of self-appointed defender of the capitalistic order [that] has already been brought against me in conspicuous public places.” Those who had so quickly and loudly voiced such attacks had, quite simply, missed what he was saying. In fact, he had no preference for one economic theory over another. His only concern was that of efficient production and the equitable distribution of goods, for these were not the central issues whose determination would solve mankind’s deepest problems. Rather, “the menace of this age is not in a change of economic technic,” over which the Right and Left had quarreled and died, but “that both Fascism and Communism seek not to regulate the body but to murder the soul. All signs point to a collectivist age. It is the fanatic” from both camps, Ludwig warned, “who will destroy our civilization, the existence of which he denies, unless we are on our guard.”

Returning to America, he had rediscovered and been encouraged by its “peculiar virtue … [of] seeking to reconstruct the economic system without ideological implications,” choosing instead “the via media of a humane civilization.” Here was “the moral energy which keeps the structure of our civilization burnished” and the American people “brave and comparatively serene in the midst of threatened disaster and frequent want.” To tamper with this balance, Ludwig predicted, was to court disaster through a radical swing in the opposite direction. Even the humane and virtuous American could be pushed, in panic, to espouse ideas inimical to all that he held dear in his tradition, ideas “of the Economic Man or of Racist Purity, or of any of the new devil worships that are ravaging mankind.” Fearing the rise of fascism in America, he warned against the attempt to impose a system of ideas from the Left that would give rise to its opposite. He would live to see his fears partially realized in the early postwar era, but not long enough to experience their more furious manifestations in the decades that followed his death.

Our liberals with Communist leanings who make a joke of the New Deal and subtly sabotage the American via media pretend to have a great horror of Fascism. Well, it is they who, perhaps through obscure masochist impulses, may bring us within its danger sphere by their incessant flirtations with Moscow. Man is a religious animal. Leave the American his religion in the broader sense, as the Administration is doing, and you may be able to achieve a reconstruction of the economic order without war or terror, without cruelty or oppression. Menace him with a left-wing fanaticism abhorrent to every instinct, tradition, or loyalty, and you may drive him into the even darker fury of the right.21

Having sent the essay to Harper’s, Ludwig took his family on a two-day vacation to Lake Placid and Saranac Lake in upstate New York, far from the scope of judicial authorities whose warrant he remained subject to. Here, in the freshness of this American rural experience, he discovered how “much jollier [life was] than [in] Paris even if the cuisine leaves something to be desired.” Back in Burlington by July 14, he began to rewrite the introduction to his collection of essays, whose new title he proposed as The Permanent Horizon. He planned to finish the reading of page proofs in only a few days, by which time he hoped to receive payment for the “American” piece.22

Two weeks later, Mann recorded in his diary his response to Ludwig’s review of Young Joseph.23 To add to the family’s resources, Ludwig had begun accepting journalistic essays and reviews, of which the piece on Mann’s latest novel was among the earliest. On August 4, Ludwig sent Villard a note of thanks for his past “patience and forbearance” and asked if he could repay his compounded debt through a series of articles. There appeared to be no alternative. In time, lectures, several new books, and the anticipation of “escape [from] the insane persecution to which I am still subjected” would enable him “gradually to do justice to all obligations.” He assured Villard that despite penury, he was thrilled to be home, advising his old editor to read the forthcoming article in Harper’s, “which will show you exactly how I feel.” On a more personal note, he wanted Villard to know of his joy at “having achieved so late the kind of life, however modest, that has for many, many years seemed to me the best kind.” Believing this at last to be the haven he had been seeking, he added, as if to convince himself, that “I shall try to stick to it.”24

Ludwig had added reason for cheerfulness that day as he reported to Canfield the quick progress he was making on the Jewish anthology, now titled Rebirth. It was his hope that the text would be ready for sale during his upcoming lecture tour in October. The Zionist Organization in Jerusalem and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) were both promising to recommend it “as standard for all English-speaking countries.” Differences had arisen within the Zionist movement for which he had been asked “by the Jerusalem Executive … to propose ideological principles for the progressive cooperation of at present hostile parties.” His recent election as vice president of the New England Region of the ZOA would certainly add to his credentials and authority. Sales were inevitable. “This book, which I was known to be preparing, is the necessary preparation and tool for the proposed reforms and changes within the world-movement.” Harpers’ failure to have his books on hand at the recent ZOA meeting in Atlantic City, despite his several prior requests, had cost some two hundred sales. Ludwig asked Canfield to be more attentive. “When I do work these here Jews up to a state of enthusiasm let’s at least turn the perfectly honest pennies involved. The labourer is worthy of his hire, or better still: thou shalt not bind the mouth of the threshing ox.”25 By month’s end, Ludwig had broadened his plans to include the entire “Jewish series” that he and Canfield had discussed some time earlier in Paris. Projecting a minimum sale of two thousand copies per title, Ludwig proposed a modest beginning of two volumes for the first year.26

No potentially fertile field was now being left unsown by Ludwig in his search for supplemental income. Creative America had sold well in its first months, and a new printing was about to go to press, for which Ludwig insisted upon correcting a handful of typographical errors in the introduction while having “a quick reading of a few extra proofs.” In addition, he was discussing the possibility of a weekly column in the Hearst papers’ “March of Events” page, having already received “glowing appreciations” from its editor for a piece that had neither appeared nor for which he had received payment. “Hearst has that reputation, that you can’t count on him.” Still, he remained hopeful, though with Rebirth nearing completion, it seemed reasonable that he ask Harpers for a three-hundred-dollar advance. Promised “intact and without any permission strings to it on or before Oct. 1, 1934,” there was no risk involved, he assured Canfield. Of course, there was always the next novel as collateral, though no projected date yet existed for its delivery. “I am not forgetting [it].… But a slow ripening is necessary. I want it to be a commanding work this time. Nothing less will do either you or me any good.” In the meantime, The Permanent Horizon would recapture “the stride of my best quality once more and I mustn’t fall below. Fewer and better books from now on.”27

Two years would pass before work would begin on the novel, delayed in part by his translation of a play by Franz Werfel, with music by Kurt Weill, that was to become the Zionists’ greatest fundraising and promotional effort of the prewar years, highlighting the continuing tragedy of Jewish destruction over the centuries and the need for a homeland in Palestine, now made more imperative by the Nazi assault. When Ludwig first heard of the project, he knew only that the publishing rights were his to place and that its title, roughly rendered, was “The Burden of the Promise.” “But Werfel is almost (not as a novelist but as poet and dramatic poet) a first-rate man,”28 and so he accepted the offer. The Eternal Road, as the project was ultimately called, would be followed in time by Ludwig’s immensely popular translation of Werfel’s novel The Song of Bernadette (the story of St. Bernadette and the putative miracle at Lourdes, told by Werfel as an outgrowth of his developing assimilationist leanings), upon which the successful Hollywood film would later be based.

For now, however, Ludwig’s efforts were focused on bringing out The Permanent Horizon, “the most important non-fiction book I have written.” Canfield’s editorial assistant would use this characterization for ad copy on the book’s dust jacket. If “histories of literature come and go,” here was a book meant to “ease ‘the riddle of the painful earth’… [and] to re-establish a fundamental balance on the basis of fundamental and abiding realities.” As such, it would have, he believed, “a not inconsiderable audience” among those who, though troubled, still clung to the traditional, good-sense virtues he had celebrated in his “American” essay. “The problem of this book is to get an early response from people who are still spiritual-minded and still in doubt and haven’t taken the opiate plunge into either reaction [Fascism] or Communism.”29 Among those who worried him were the youth he had seen first in Europe, and now in America. Largely unschooled in the record of human achievement or tragedy, they were too easily taken with one or another false promise. “The tragedy of American youth is that it is so rarely any more given the opportunity to re-experience the great past of thought and poetry and history. That reëxperiencing is education. An uneducated youth is feeble before any fallacy and loses the very sense of intellectual responsibility. Ignorant people can be clever engineers and perhaps tolerable horse doctors. They cannot be, if terms are to retain any meaning, either good citizens or good men.”30

What, then, did Ludwig believe would be learned in this “reëxperiencing”? Proper study, he wrote in the book’s concluding essay, “Toward Religion,” would reveal and provide youth with a grounding in the universal and eternal force—identified at once as the God of Moses and of “the loftiest spirits throughout history … saviors and examples of mankind … [who] partake so largely of the creative principle at the core of things … [and] by their works and ways bear witness”—that force without which “we cannot organize chaos into cosmos, formlessness into form, political and economic disintegration into integration.”31 Long before man had emerged, this force had been at work in the universe, later manifesting itself at the center of man’s moral and spiritual life from his earliest days:

It has been in man from the beginning; it is his unique object of immediate knowledge; it has created civilization and bound together man and universe. It is in itself the crystallization of the crystal, the integration of the work of art, the principle that suffuses a good life; it manifests itself as conversion and as grace, as the desire for justification and salvation and also for happiness; it is the creative principle that holds the stars in their courses and keeps the philosopher and the artist true to their purpose though the heavens fall, and forces the good man to be loyal to his vision through slander and obloquy, through hunger and desolation.”32

“I have written to no purpose,” he said earlier in this essay, “if it is not clear now” that man “co-determined” the course of the world, natural and moral. “Within the universe is a power that shapes it, man and his civilization.” To be a part of its process, to share in it by accepting “the creative principle … which is at the core of us, guides us,” is to find the good life, to “in symbol … and in fact [become] the children of God” and to dwell in “the kingdom of God,” where “all ultimate causes of all earthly phenomena are in the moral life” and where “the complete interpenetration of nature with mind is both ideal and goal.”33

To abandon this “stern and even implacable power … [which] exacts obedience as the price of any good” was to abandon “the immanent creative principle of the universe that formed the planets from the nebula and is active increasingly in all things. To sin against it is to break form and shatter the universe,” engendering in return a shattering response upon human designs that would eventuate in “economic chaos and political chaos and moral chaos and the chaos of war. For chaos is that which has no informative principle … [without which] life and the soul and the soul’s transformation of nature, which we call civilization, lapse back into the waste and void which preceded the days of creation.”34

For Ludwig, this “formlessness,” this disobedience, seemed at the center of the slide into chaos which he had witnessed over the last decades. There seemed a far greater commitment to the ill-conceived solutions of the ill-informed (among whom were many of his detractors) than to a “sense of the presence of the creative principle [of which] the humblest can partake in crises and in hours of moral change.” Without it, he insisted, one “invites immediate retribution to the body and to the soul.… This is the ultimate fact and the ultimate mystery.”35 As a prophet in the wilderness, he sent forth his warning in a vision still worth considering.

We have put machines and mechanistic superstition and hate leading to war first. We have invited chaos, and chaos is upon us. The Russians and the Germans have sunk even more deeply into that darkness and even rationalized it. Desolation is upon them both and famine at their gate. We permit intolerable corruption in our cities and have given power to the stupid and greedy and promulgated laws which free men, who must work out their own, their personal salvation, dare not obey and in the training of our youth we have abandoned the eternal wisdom and experience of mankind for the frivolity of games and the tinkering with machines. We have invited chaos; it is here; we have abandoned form and made a pact with confusion. And now we think that further tinkering with things and external techniques will help us. Nothing will help except a change of heart. If all the subtlest and most powerful men in the world had that change of heart they could, nature being all but conquered, devise means wherewith to curb the evils that exist only by human will and through human connivance—the supreme evils of war and want. Without that change of heart, that inner conversion, they will drag us deeper and deeper into misery, whether their names be Capitalist or Communist, Ford or Stalin.36

The first copies of The Permanent Horizon reached Ludwig only a few days before its publication. “We both had a real thrill when … we found the copies on the porch yesterday,” he wrote Canfield on September 14. It was his first book since coming home, and he was pleased that such a role had been saved for a work that “is a source of deep moral satisfaction to me.” He wanted to see all of the reviews, nationwide, to better gauge the country’s climate, and further asked that to his usual list of complimentary recipients be added Louis Newman (Hasidic Anthology) and Mordecai Kaplan (Judaism as a Civilization), whose own books had recently arrived unexpectedly, a sign of his growing involvement in Jewish affairs in America.37

The Permanent Horizon seemed to exacerbate Ludwig’s break from those whom he believed had failed to see the dangers inherent in such “devised means” for change, a break already witnessed in his previously published attack upon their positions, “The New Meaning of Revolution,” which he would soon repeat in “An American Comes Home.” Those fallacies of doctrine praised by the “young idealists” of both the Right and the Left were destined to condemn future generations to struggle against the as yet unforeseen evils they would foster by abrogating sanity and individual rights in some shortsighted attempt to correct temporary problems.

Some day, perhaps, the history of all revolutions will be rewritten in the light of contemporary experience and the glory of even the best of them will be tarnished. But civilized and humane people who talk of revolution today or play into the hands of revolutionary agitators of any kind are taking upon themselves the most fearful of conceivable responsibilities and are confused romantics who will not face the iron music of contemporary facts…. Whatever element of truth or good there is in any revolutionary ideology of today has been invalidated and defiled and rendered intolerable by the assumption of an absoluteness that is enforced by starvation and exile and murder in torture-chamber s. It is the physical pattern and the resultant tactics of contemporary revolution that make it the unspeakable menace that it has become. It is no longer the content of the revolutionary ideologies that is worth debating. It is this type and kind of revolution that must be resisted if we are not all to become quite literally filthy savages in the howling wilderness of a desolate earth…. All true progress proceeds from uniformity to multiformity or … from homogeneity to heterogeneity. It is so in the world of organic life; it is so in the world of social organization; it is so in the entire world of the human spirit. The ultimate reflections of science and the honest observation of unlearned men are one on that point. That society is a civilized one in which all kinds and varieties of human personality and character can function freely and in peace. Let it not be objected that I omit the economic problem. No sane man objects to state measures that remain strictly in the realm of economics. But the so-called revolutionaries are bent on making robots of us all. If they succeed in that attempt, whether the slogans and quarter-truths be those of the Left or of the Right and turn the Western world into a universal Sparta and Cæsarean Rome, they are but laying up the blood and tears of truer revolutions for their posterity. It is our children or our children’s children who will have to destroy the monsters of authoritarianism and rebuild both Athens and Jerusalem.38

Solutions to the legitimate problems of economic hardship, unequal opportunity, and discriminatory treatment based on social station or race, he insisted, had to be found in ways that would enhance rather than diminish the “profounder processes of human life.” Against the “slavish obedience” alleged by the new revolutionaries as necessary in the interim, Ludwig held up a vision of the truly humane that was inclusive of differences of thought and person, and truly caring toward the historically disenfranchised, those kept outside the American circle whose right to enter had to be satisfied if the promise embodied in the nation’s traditional ethos was to be fulfilled.

For the humane means freedom, flexibility, progress by trial and error, room for the expansive energies of the soul of man. Of all these there is an ample and a not decreasing measure, except in time of war, in America. Let us by all means increase that measure; let us guard … against a recurrence of the conscription of life. Let us strive for a more scrupulous treatment of the racial and cultural minorities—the Jews, the Negroes—who are integral parts of the American people. But let us do so in the name of the American past and of the libertarian tradition of America, not in the name of those sinister absolutisms that cloak their tyranny under the name of revolution.39

The centrality of Ludwig’s Jewish concerns naturally continued to inform nearly all that he did in the months and years that led to the coming of war. His essay titled “The German Revolt against Civilization” was reprinted that fall in Nazism: An Assault on Civilization, a volume edited by James Wise and the Christian pro-Zionist Pierre Van Passen, which included essays by Alfred E. Smith, Dorothy Thompson, Emil Lengyel, and a dozen others, as well as a preface by U.S. Senator Robert Wagner.40 “To My Son,” a poem first appearing while Ludwig was still in Paris, was reprinted as well that September in Opinion. If not a poetic masterwork, it spoke clearly of Ludwig’s need to identify his life and his posterity with the fate of his imperiled people.

       This is the meaning: you and I

       Stood at the foot of Sinai

       Together, by an equal fate

       Merged in a world without a date.

       We stand, and from within we draw

       Ever the same eternal Law;

       Earth rocks—inalterable our part:

       The circumcision of the heart.

       For this did I beget you; so

       We burn together in a glow

       Of oneness, ageless in the terse

       Echad that is our universe.

       Does your soul know? In infant wise

       Smiling as through your mother’s eyes

       You mark the old indelible strain

       Of Israel: memory, triumph, pain.41

For the first time in his life, Ludwig was now fully involving himself in Jewish communal life, moving beyond essay and lecture and into the experience he had shared largely through abstractions. That Yom Kippur, with Thelma finding a place among the women of the local community, Ludwig assumed a position of honor as he was called to the Ark of the Torah and asked to expound on the meaning of those passages traditionally read on this most solemn day of the Jewish year. It was a profoundly moving experience for them both, as he wrote Wise shortly afterward. “We have here 1000 Jewish souls, unbelievably orthodox—Litvaks. They are very sweet to us both and so on Yom Kippur you should have seen Thelma in a little Parisian hat weeping in the woman’s gallery and me in talith and yarmulke doing a droshe and (honor having been duly bought and presented to me) opening and closing the Ark. And I love it; I—forgive the phraseology—I eat it up.”42

Two weeks later, on October 6, Ludwig wrote Harpers regarding publicity for The Permanent Horizon. He wanted the ad copy to include references to his major works, including Crump, and to their translation into a dozen languages. Similarly, he insisted that a profile photograph of himself with Jim be used, not “that beefy one,” which he had thrown away. “I’m not a bit photogenic, you know, and as a rule come out both dour and sour which I’m truly not.” Thelma, for whatever reason, was not to be included.43

As Ludwig had anticipated, the book’s reception by some critics was anything but positive. The earliest of these, Newton Arvin’s in the New Republic, offered Ludwig’s name for “a distinguished place” on any “white list of recent books … [drawn by] the American Liberty League…. More and more completely, and at last startlingly, Mr. Lewisohn reveals himself as an admirable press agent for reaction.”44 A reviewer in the Journal of Philosophy pointed to “his sketchy tract” for building a future, despite “his eloquent expressions of disgust” as a defense of “the liberal and humanistic spiritual values which he mistakenly believes to depend upon the fortunes of the middle class.”45 It was an old attack upon Ludwig’s claim that home and family and one’s community constituted the basis of a normal life. Reinhold Niebuhr at first praised Ludwig in the Nation for insights other modernists had failed to achieve, but went on to condemn his attempt to find a way of honoring both the rightful claims of traditional religion and current political concerns. For Niebuhr, the attempt at compromise had failed. “He has a very sane and wise insight into the interior problems of the human spirit and a true understanding of the organic relations of life which modernists fail so frequently to comprehend. But his position is vulnerable because he is still too much the liberal individualist and moralist either to do justice to the merits of radical politics or to restore classical religion without doing violence to it.”46

In the face of these reactions, Ludwig remained as convinced as ever of the accuracy of his assessment, and spent little time in 1934 responding to his critics. So much else needed to be done. Six years later, he would characterize their critique as evidence of their failure to heed what he had continued to propound in lectures, essays, and two subsequent volumes, and of the prescient nature of his message.

Nothing was kindled by these ideas in any American mind so far as any evidence of kindling came to me. All the “pinkish” lusters after their own enslavement found the first chapter of The Permanent Horizon (“A Bourgeois Takes His Stand”) funny and, coming from one who had always been known as a liberal, a little shameful. And they did not see—and I don’t believe they see yet—that in order to save liberty (which is the job of the liberal, I believe) we must first get rid of all the sequelae of 19th-century materialism and the whole corroding notion of the primacy of the material, the economic.… All the currents of contemporary thought converge upon a recovery of man’s spiritual life and his spiritual instincts, upon a shift from quantitative to qualitative thinking, as our only hope and only source of freedom and redemption.… Self-enslavement to state-idol, leader-idol, party-idol, is so powerful today because the belief in God has withered. Men who believe in God and their dependence on His inscrutable will, do not make a god of State or man, nor will they tolerate the inscrutable arbitrariness of a dictatorship.47

This fierce and uncompromising insistence upon the struggle against such false gods was undoubtedly strengthened by Mary’s continuing pursuit through her use of the state’s apparatus. “Curses on the Crump,” Wise wrote in late September as the warrant for Ludwig’s arrest continued to prevent him from lecturing in New York for Wise and the Zionists.48 In October, Mary responded to Ludwig’s letter of the previous spring by charging him with “deliberate treachery” and a long-practiced “habit of untruth [that] had so blunted the keenness of your perception to the difference between the false and the true”; with forging evidence to disprove her legal claims against him for financial support; with having “perverted truth and debased literature” by “filthily libelous” characterizations of the living and the dead; with hypocritically being “an avowed enemy of Christian monogamic marriage” while claiming a spiritual union with Thelma, much the way, as Mary saw it, that he had “embraced Zionism … without inner conviction”; and, again, with plagiarism of her unpublished novel, Wayfarers, in the opening book of Crump, stealing passages which were then “slimed … over with salacious innuendo and disgusting additions.”49 Ludwig’s rejoinder has not survived, and may never have been written, perhaps out of juridical caution or an inability to answer her final accusation. That he appropriated her family’s story appears likely, given the autobiographical nature of the work. But in the absence of Mary’s alleged text, his theft of her work remains speculative and unsubstantiated.

“American life seems to be desperately crowded,” he wrote Lewis Gannett on the day Mary penned this latest attack. In reality, Ludwig and Thelma had been to New York several times that summer, entering unannounced to avoid legal complications, she to see a voice coach, he “for four days so busy (ten hours a day) on a rotten job for some film-people.” Much of his remaining time, when not completing work for Harpers or on some income-producing bit of journalism, was spent with his family or in preparation for the upcoming lecture tour that was to begin in Boston on October 14 and carry him, intermittently, as far west as California and south to Texas, nineteen states in all, plus Canada, by early March 1935. In this rush to meet his many obligations, he found himself reading more selectively than ever. “I love fiction, but I can’t read the damned things. They’re about nothing at all in a kind of gibberish.” He had, however, read and reread Aldous Huxley’s Point Counterpoint. “The more modern the better,” he said of the few novels he did read, “but it must be thought and writing, not drivel and mumble.” Mostly, then, he read ancient history, Dante, Mann’s Magic Mountain in German (“for the tenth time”), Greek philosophers, Martin Buber’s essays on Judaism, Hasidic tales, and “the legal codes in Leviticus and Deuteronomy at last triumphantly in the original without a lexicon.”50

Thelma’s musical career had also begun to develop in this new setting, despite certain limitations of talent. Hailed in Europe as “one of the best-known American singers in Paris,” according to a correspondent for the New York Evening World, she had found representation in the States through the Seven Arts Feature Syndicate in New York. By early November she had given concerts throughout New England and had performed several times on New York radio’s WEVD Jewish music hour. In time she would add concert appearances in New York as well. As Thelma later recalled, “I went to the city and took up my musical career where I had left off. Soon I was appearing in concerts in Town Hall and Steinway Hall and the critics were kind to me. I could sing in seven languages and my life had been so full and happy in the years since I first started my musical career that I sang with greater depth and more assurance. Then I had radio offers and made recordings. My life now was beginning to shape itself.”51

Promotional material prepared by Thelma’s agents, like that of Harpers for Ludwig’s Permanent Horizon, displayed no spouse. Instead, it included both a flattering (and earlier) portrait of her alone, as well as one with Jim.52 Other evidence appears to point to a gradually worsening strain in their relationship, and an attempt by both sides to paper over it. Correspondence between them and an occasional poetic effort written during one or the other’s absence from Burlington increasingly mixed the two as the months and years moved them toward their inevitable breakup. Hints of this were already present in the fall of 1934. In a letter to Thelma while she was in New York rehearsing, Ludwig spoke of his love for her, and added, in apparent response to her questioning, “Yes, I miss you.” Yet, only a few days later, he chided her for not doing as he had asked. “Work is what this time you definitely went for. So you’ve gotten the maximum of profit out of your trip. But you could of course have gotten in touch with the people I suggested.” Ludwig’s impatience with Thelma was undoubtedly aggravated by his feelings of unjustifiable isolation in Vermont while she enjoyed the city denied him by Mary. “I’m not a particularly gregarious person,” he added with a rare touch of openness, “but this is a lonesome hole.” He asked that she bring back a copy of Mann’s newest book, which alone “would refresh me.” In the interim, he and Jim would visit their local rabbi and friend, Saul Spiro (“he was good and sweet”), or play together on their own. How it must have looked to the neighbors when, with flag and mouth organ in hand, father and son “had a parade with music around the block!”53

Ludwig had not been able to create for Thelma the career she felt entitled to, nor to secure reviews favorable enough to satisfy her needs. Instead, he wished her “success with all my heart,” offering the sound, objective advice he thought comforting, unaware that she would receive it less magnanimously. “If you get the reviews you should you will be entirely rewarded for everything in every sense that the undertaking costs…. Don’t expect more. It is not there,”54 he wrote with a desire to cushion whatever blow might be struck in the press. But like so much else in their relationship, this, too, must have made Thelma feel as if Ludwig was not truly empathetic, that from his promontory above the fray of lesser mortals, he had trivialized her experience and, at times, had forgotten her needs. In poetry, Thelma noted,

       You set me free because the mountain climb,

       To soaring Alpine reaches where no tree,

       Nor bird nor green of shelter over thee,

       Because for this high altitude sublime,

       You needed solitude and austere prayer,

       As Moses in the Desert spoke to God,

       And from the burning bush and stupid clod

       Of earth, gained strength to mount the ultimate stair.

       I wish you God Speed and from Sinai’s rock

       Sometimes cast down a glance at mortal me,

       Whose love for you will burn at a far shrine.

       Lead upward as Isaiah these your flock,

       But listen sometimes for the melody

       Of Schubert soaring—my spirit calling thine.55

At once caring for and resenting each other’s needs, they would spend the next five years questioning one another’s commitment and intention until the questioning would dissipate all that remained between them. If on November 6, 1934, while in Chicago, Ludwig could profusely express his love to Thelma (“The gift of your dear self … saves me, redeems me to life and which is all I ask.… You are always with me—a light to my eyes, a guide to my soul, a spring time in my heart”),56 he could yet ask self-reflectively a week later, “Do you miss me?”57 Returning home briefly between engagements, he would write to Stephen Wise how “it is a deprivation not to be with Jimmie constantly,” making no mention of Thelma in this context. “It is also wonderful at the end of ten days or two weeks to come home and to see his growth and development and now, too, the infinitely precious lighting up of his whole small being when he sees me again. This is the center and purpose and reward of life—this. I always suspected it. Now I know.”58

Lonely, fatigued, missing Jim and uncertain of Thelma, Ludwig nonetheless presented a formidable figure wherever he appeared. Nearly a half century after his many visits with Louis Asher’s family in Chicago (as a result of Asher’s faithfulness and repeated financial assistance, Ludwig had dedicated Mid-Channel to him, inscribing a copy, “Emphatically re-affirmed at Chicago on Nov. 6, 1934”),59 Asher’s daughter Martha could recall them as “dramas unto themselves. He greeted us. Conversed late with relish. For a smallish man, he radiated enormous physical presence—a centrifugal force of his own. He might well have slept with that same irrepressible vitality—a charged sleep!” Even as a child, she could sense that “he was always ‘between’ wives, or marriages, or affairs,” though nothing seemed to diminish his energy.60

He remained animated by a continuously renewing sense of purpose during these years. “I have,” he wrote Wise that November, “the moral satisfaction that I am functioning, functioning Jewishly and not merely grinding out another ‘American novel’ (‘An Altar in the Fields’ sticks in my crop) because I have to have the advance royalty.” In the midst of the Nazi onslaught and in response to the dispiriting of American Jewry under the weight of a friendlier assimilatory pressure than ever previously experienced, he was out there fighting—and this struggle brought life as nothing had in so many years of writing and speaking. He wanted to do more, to put aside what work he did merely to pay the bills at home (for rent to Thelma’s mother, for a small life insurance policy, for living “modestly enough”), and to devote his energies to the preservation of Jewish life, threatened physically in Europe and spiritually in America. Why, he asked his old friend, could not the Jewish community make it possible to profit from those with dedication such as his? Why must he squander talent when the needs of his people were so great?

It is a pity that we have no organized method in Jewish life whereby people like myself can give themselves entirely to the needs of the people instead of having to spend so large a part of their strength miscellaneously. For instance: I go on writing weekly bits of drivel for Hearst in order to afford to write the [Jewish Daily] Bulletin editorials. Etc. I merely constate. I get some personal fun out of the Hearst performance. But the whole situation is Jewishly wasteful. Hence I told Rothenberg the other day that if he would revive the New Palestine in a decent and serious and hence promising form, I’d drop all the other journalistic engagements. We shall see.61

Morris Rothenberg, elected president of the ZOA two years earlier with a mandate to reunite and strengthen the factious and financially troubled organization, would not be able to offer such a position to Ludwig in the next several years.62 Instead, the two Zionists would meet and share their deepening concerns over the fate of Jewry in Europe and America, and their belief that Palestine offered solutions found nowhere else. In Ludwig’s mind, the struggles for survival on both sides of the world were but two parts of the whole. In late 1934, Ludwig would characterize the slain Weimar minister, Walter Rathenau, and his marginally Jewish world as “an unforgettable and authentic picture of a man, a type and a society forever perished—gone down despite its immense abilities and almost heroic virtues in utter disgrace, in unspeakable disaster, gone down and cruelly done to death in vain, sordidly, clownishly, hideously because it lived and then died … not with the Shmah Yisroel but with Deutschland Ueber Alles in its hearts and on its lips.”63 Ultimately, Ludwig’s growing association with this struggle, expressed in countless lectures and in print, would solidify his appointment as the New Palestine’s editor, and his position as one of the key rallying voices in this anguished time.

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