Stefan Zweig as Guest in Burgenland

Die Presse (05/20/03)

Kurt Schubert’s latest book was presented at the opening of the Zweig exhibit in Eisenstadt.

The Viennese Professor of Jewish Studies, Kurt Schubert, not only founded the first pan-European Institute of Jewish Studies in Vienna which he chaired from 1966 to 1993, but also initiated the founding of the Austrian Jewish Museum in Eisenstadt in 1972. Chief Rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, presented the most recent work of the eighty-year-old scientist entitled, "Christianity and Judaism in Changing Times" by Böhlau Publishers.

Kurt Schubert was fifteen years old when Hitler marched into Vienna. He took National Socialism for "anti-Christian heresy." After having graduated he chose studies of "Ancient Semitic Philology," in order to be able to study Hebrew. In summer of 1945 he held his first lecture on "Hebrew for Beginners."

The exhibit "Stefan Zweig - A European from Europe" opened in the Jewish Museum in Eisenstadt, after having toured twenty European and South American cities. It goes back to an exhibit in Salzburg based on photographs, letters and various documents and depicts the various life phases of the author: protected childhood as son of an industrialist, studies in Vienna and Berlin, first publications in the daily, the Neue Freien Presse, travels to India, Ceylon, Burma, Cuba and the U.S., residence in Salzburg, literary successes, exile in London and suicide in London.

The exhibit refrains from nostalgic transfigurations and reveals also the dark sides of the successes experienced by the writer: During WW I, Stefan Zweig wrote hymns of praise of the war’s heroes for the War Archives in Vienna. He, himself, referred to these works abjectly, calling them "Hairdressing the Heroes." Some volumes with titles such as "Our Heroes" are the product of this work. Soon after, Zweig predicted in his theater piece, "Jeremias," a defeat of the biblical prophets.

Apart from manuscripts and letters, the exhibit also presents Zweig’s school grades and letters from Joseph Roth who warns of underestimating the dangers of National Socialism for the Jews. In the "Stürmer", an article appeared on August 22, 1940 on the longest emigrated "Jew Stefan Zweig" who had contributed "to spoiling and jewing German art."

The exhibit will be open until September 20, 2003. Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.