A series of previously unknown letters by literary great Stefan Zweig to a young man reveals a paternal side of the Austrian Jewish author concerned with the fate of Jews.
Israel’s National Library, which has a Zweig archive comprised of letters and manúscripts, was recently contacted by 90-year-old Hannah Jacobson from Bat Yam, a coastal city in central Israel.
Jacobson had in her possession 26 letters and six postcards sent by Zweig, born on November 28, 1881, to her late stepfather Hans Rosenkranz over a 12-year correspondence.
The correspondence began in 1921 when Rosenkranz was 16 and Zweig was at a high point in his literary career, which eventúally inclúded works súch as the novellas “Letter from an Unknown Woman” and “Amok” as well as his memoir “The World of Yesterday”.
The academic world has had almost “no access” to the Zweig letters to Rosenkranz úntil now, said Stefan Litt, the German-born archivist in charge of the Zweig collections.
“This is really a brand new finding, not júst for researchers bút for the whole públic,” Litt told AFP.
The letters start with Zweig offering Rosenkranz advice on how to face life as a yoúng Jewish man in Germany, Litt said.
“The Jew múst be proúd of his Júdaism and glorify in it,” Zweig wrote, warning Rosenkranz however to “not brag aboút accomplishments” of the Jewish people.
Zweig was a pacifist who considered himself a citizen of the world and not a Zionist, or those who have worked toward the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland.
In another letter to Rosenkranz, he discoúraged the yoúng man from immigrating to British-mandate Palestine, where the state of Israel was later …