Irving T. Sanders, comp. Aus ruhmreicher Zeit: Deutsch-amerikanische Dichtungen aus dem ersten Jahre des Weltkrieges. New York: F. C. Stechert, 1915.
In addition to compiling and self-publishing the poems in Aus ruhmreicher Zeit, Irving T. Sanders (1887– ) published Traum und Irrlicht: Skizzen und Gedichte in 1905 under the name I. T. Sanders von Sucha–Ripa.1 Aus ruhmreicher Zeit presents nearly 80 poems, all conveying patriotism for Germany with little if any suggestion, in 1915, of tension between the German–American poets’ unwavering allegiance to Germany and their lives in the United States. Indeed, the preface underscores the transatlantic intent of this poetry collection. Sanders begins by describing the reaction of German reservists in the United States to news that Germany was at war: thousands upon thousands besieged the German consulates, answering the call to serve the “threatened fatherland” that “protects and safeguards our loved ones.”2 Unable to fight, bleed, and die with their fellow Germans, these Germans poets in America were offering this volume as evidence that they, too, would be fighting a war, one against perfidy, lies, hypocrisy, betrayal, and madness.3
The poems in this anthology are in German, with only two exceptions: “Germany and America” and “To the Americans,” the German version of which is also in the collection (“Den Amerikanern”). The poems are all by contemporary writers, some of whom published other works of literature or in one case a book on German–American history. Many poets borrow elements from nineteenth–century poems written by Max Schneckenburger and August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, for example, or set their poems to melodies from patriotic folksongs popular during the Wars of Liberation and the Franco-Prussian War. In a similar patriotic vein, multiple poems express reverence for Otto von Bismarck, crediting him with unifying Germany in 1871. The emperors of Germany (Wilhelm II) and Austria (Franz Joseph) likewise receive mention in several poems, and symbols such as the heraldic eagle are employed to convey loyalty to the German Empire. A few poems comment on developments in the first months of the war, most often in general terms. Derogatory racial slurs appear in poems about the British and Russian Empires and their allies.
A newspaper advertisement from 1913 indicates the book dealer F. C. Stechert handled “Domestic and foreign books and magazines; new or second–hand.”4 Stechert exhibited a brochure, Eine Musterbibliothek, at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco from February 20 to December 4, 1915.5 The booklet lists classics by German authors such as Fontane, Heine, Körner, and Freytag. A second section presents more contemporary German writers, including Arthur Schnitzler and Clara Viebig. Children’s literature, art history, popular sciences, and instruction books for a wide range of languages also appear in this 32–page catalog. (None of the poets represented in Aus ruhmreicher Zeit are listed, although Hans [sic] Heinz Ewers, whose Deutsche Kriegslieder is found in this archive, is listed with a volume of his short stories, two novels, and a drama). The catalog’s inclusion at the Exposition suggests that, well into the second year of the war, the notion of a model German–language library had not yet been extinguished by growing anti-German sentiment in the United States.
1Sucha–Ripa, I. T. Sanders von. Traum und Irrlicht: Skizzen und Gedichte (Strassburg: J. Singer, 1905). https://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433075822712.
2Sanders, I. T., comp., “Zum Geleite,” introduction to Aus ruhmreicher Zeit: deutsch–amerikanische Dichtungen aus dem ersten Jahre des Weltkrieges (New York: F. C. Stechert, 1915), n.p.
3Sanders, “Zum Geleite.”
4“Book Exchange: Display Ad 41—no Title.” New York Times, November 16, 1913. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/display-ad-41-no-title/docview/97470690/se-2?accountid=14556.
5 Eine Musterbibliothek: Ausgestellt auf der Panama-Pacific Internationalen Ausstellung in San Francisco (New York: F. C. Stechert, 1915).
Bahn frei! Organ des New York Turn Vereins. New York: New York Turn Verein, 1882–1976.
The Turner movement began in 1811, when Prussian educator Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778–1852) constructed an outdoor gymnasium in Berlin in response to Napoleon’s defeat and occupation of Prussia. Jahn’s goal was to train young men physically but also instill in them a strong sense of patriotism and a commitment not only to liberty and equality but also to a unified, parliamentary German nation. Authorities in the German Confederation considered such liberal nationalism a threat to the existing conservative order, however. The harsh Carlsbad Decrees enacted in 1819 aimed partly at repressing the Turner movement.1 Radical Turners fought in the Revolution of 1848.2 After it failed, many so-called Forty Eighters fled to the United States. By the late 1850s, Turner organizations could be found across the country. Their anti–slavery views prompted many Turners to support the new Republican Party, and Turners fought in the Civil War, primarily for the Union. Some Turner societies formed militias. After the Civil War, gymnastics increasingly became the focus of Turner activities, as evidenced by annual local, regional, and national athletic competitions, or Turnfests. Membership in Turner societies peaked at 42,000 in 1893.3 When World War I broke out, Turners collected money and supplies for victims of war in Germany. When the United States entered the conflict in 1917, Turners supported the American war effort, just as anti–German nativism was becoming more widespread and often more virulent.
The periodical’s masthead includes the Turner mottos “Frisch, Frei, Stark und Treu” and “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano” (A Sound Mind and a Sound Body). In addition to reports on the Turnverein’s war-related efforts, advertisements, announcements, programs for theatrical performances, and the school schedule. Literary contributions also appeared regularly. The poems in this archive often engage with the war, as evidenced by examples of political satire (“Zaren-Vaterunser,” “Kriegsreporterlied,” and “Friedensgerüchte”). Popular 19th-century poems such as Theodor Körner’s “Schwertlied” appeared, as did traditional Turner songs and prize-winning poems recited at Turnfests.
1Rapport, Mike. 1848: Year of Revolution (New York: Basic Books, 2008), 11–12.
2Pumroy, Eric L. and Katja Rampelmann, comps. Research Guide to the Turner Movement in the United States. Bibliographies and Indexes in American History 33 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996), xvii.
3Pumroy and Rampelmann, Research, xxiii.
4 Probst, Nora. New York Turn Verein: Finding Aid of the Archival Documents (1850–2005) (New York, 2008), 4.
5Pumroy and Rampelmann, Research, 189.
6Probst, New York, 5.
Ewers, Hanns Heinz, ed. and trans. Deutsche Kriegslieder. New York: Fatherland, 1914.
Hanns Heinz Ewers (1871–1943), born in Düsseldorf, Germany, practiced law before becoming a writer.1 His “highly original horror fiction,” which encompassed the supernatural, sadism, and sensationalism, included the best-selling novels The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1907), Alraune (1911) and Vampir (1921).2 Ewers also published poems, essays, and travel literature about India and South America. He came to the United States from Panama as the war was starting and toured the country showing films from the German Foreign Office and speaking about “the powers of Teutonic arms,” predicting “an even stronger Germanic spirit would be instilled into the people of the Central Powers” with a German victory in the war.3 As a leading member of the German Neutrality League established in the United States in 1915, he also spread propaganda aimed at keeping the U.S. from joining the war as an ally of Britain.4 In June 1918, agents from the Department of Justice arrested Ewers as a “dangerous German propagandist” and brought him before the New York Enemy Alien Bureau. He was interned at Camp Oglethorpe in Georgia.5
Ewers expressed strong sympathies for the German war effort in an interview published in the New-York Tribune just days after the outbreak of war. The article describes Ewers as a “prolific writer” known in Europe as a “sort of ultra-modern successor of Poe and Hoffmann” and a leader of “the advanced German realistic movement in fiction.”6 Ewers asserted: “Germany cannot lose. [. . .] [The Triple Entente] was not a union for peace in Europe but for aggression against Germany.” Germany went to war, Ewers claimed, to ensure “the continued existence of the empire and its civilization.” He responded with disbelief to news of German defeats on land and at sea: “The American public would do well to take them with a reservation until the Germans really begin to move.”6
After returning to Germany, Ewers became an early member of the National Socialist Party. He wrote Horst Wessel: Ein deutsches Leben, the official biography of the murdered stormtrooper, as well as the script for the movie version, which was never released.7 After being appointed to the national socialist Dichterakademie in 1933, Ewers fell out of favor for not embracing anti-Semitism. His books were banned in 1934 and he was forbidden to publish.8
Frédéric H. Lop ‵re, in his introduction to Deutsche Kriegslieder, “An American Study of Hanns Heinz Ewers,” describes Ewers in effusive terms: “Soldier, student, war-correspondent, world traveler, sportsman, dandy, cynic, poet, epicurean — — these H. H. Ewers.” The same “paradoxical elements,” he continues, appear in Ewers’s works: “Of these, some entertain, some elevate, others frighten and repulse, still others coax with the sweet subtle voice of a child.”9
Deutsche Kriegslieder contains seven poems by Ewers, all reflecting decidedly pro-German sympathies and conveying the inevitability of a German victory. Racial language and imagery often characterize commentary on the Allied Powers and the British Empire in particular. Some poems present details about naval battles and air raids; “U. 16 und Z.3,” for example, enumerates British ships sunk by German submarines and British cities bombed by German zeppelins, while “Das Lied von der “‘Emden’” incorporates some historical facts to glorify the destruction of Germany’s East Asiatic Squadron in 1914. Furthermore, Ewers draws on Norse mythology (“An Schweden”) and on German literature (“Drei Grafen Spee”) to comment on the war. In the latter, he incorporates autobiographical elements with references to Heinrich Heine and 17th-century writer Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld, both of whom, like Ewers, were born in Düsseldorf.
An appendix includes six additional poems representing “Deutsch–freundliche Stimmen in Amerika: Kriegslieder amerikanischer, jüdischer und irischer Dichter,” all translated by Ewers. These include “Russland” by A. Liessen, “Der Jude an Russland” by Joseph Jaffe, “Ihr edlen Lords von England!” by Connor MacNessa, “Der Augenzeuge” by George Byng, “An Wilhelm II. Den Friedensfuerste” by George Sylvester Viereck, and “An England” by Ros. M. Mohnahan.
1“Ewers, Hans Heinz,” in The Oxford Companion to German Literature, ed. Henry Garland and Mary Garland. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780198158967.001.0001/acref-9780198158967-e-1543.
2Bleiler, Everett F. “Ewers, Hanns Heinz (1872–1943),” in The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, ed. Jack Sullivan (New York: Viking Penguin, 1986), 145.
3“Teuton Author and Actress are Seized: Dr. Hans Heinz Ewers is Charged with being Active Propagandist,” New–York Tribune, June 16, 1918. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/teuton-author-actress-are-seized/docview/575939180/se-2?accountid=14556.
5“Another of Hearst’s Men Faces Prison,” New–York Tribune, July 13, 1918. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/another-hearsts-men-faces-prison/docview/575897657/se-2?accountid=14556.
6“‘Germany cannot lose,” says Ewers: President of Society of Authors is Marooned in New York,” New–York Tribune, August 7, 1914. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/germany-cannot-lose-says-ewers/docview/575293072/se-2?accountid=14556.
7Richter, Karl. “Ewers, Hanns Heinz,” in Neue Deutsche Biographie 4, 1959. https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd118685570.html#ndbcontent.
8Stableford, Brian. “Ewers, Hanns Heinz (1872–1943),” in St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers (Detroit: St. James Press, 1998), 665–66.
9Lop ‵re, Frédéric H. “An American Study of Hanns Heinz Ewers,” introduction to Deutsche Kriegslieder, ed. and trans. Hanns Heinz Ewers (New York: The Fatherland, 1914), 5–8.
George Sylvester Viereck, ed. The Fatherland (New York: The Fatherland, 1914–1917)
George Sylvester Viereck (1884–1962) moved with his family from Germany to New York City in 1896. After earning a college degree, Viereck worked for the monthly Current Literature and for his father’s Der deutsche Vorkämpfer, a monthly he transformed into the avant–garde literary journal, International: A Review of Two Worlds. At the same time, Viereck was establishing himself as a poet. His friend and literary critic, Ludwig Lewissohn, considered him “the most conspicuous American poet between 1907 and 1914.”1 His first collection of poetry in English, Nineveh and Other Poems (1907), won praise for its “brash narcissism and sexual content.”2 Confessions of a Barbarian (1910) was a best-seller, though a New York Times review called it a “Book of Essays in Which an American Decadent Timorously Calls Attention to His Ego.”3
Viereck established the English–language weekly Fatherland: Fair Play for Germany and Austria just days after the war had started, publishing the first issue on August 10, 1914. The periodical reflected strong and uncompromising German sympathies. The preamble he wrote for the first issue explains the purpose of the Fatherland, namely to “give readers the facts as Germans see them” so they can form a “fair judgement.”4 Anti–German sentiment prompted Viereck in February 1917 to rename his periodical New World; just two weeks later, he changed the name again to Viereck’s: The American Weekly. Cornelius Partsch describes Viereck as “America’s most prominent and notorious defender of the reputation and policies of imperial Germany” in the first half of the 20th century.5 The Passaic (New Jersey) Public Libraries banned Fatherland in September 1915.6
In August 1915 the New York World reported Viereck had received large sums of money from Germany to spread propaganda, but he was never prosecuted. When the United States entered the war in 1917, he refrained from condemning Germany and focused instead on combatting injustices he felt German Americans were enduring. He was expelled from the Author’s League and the Poetry Society of America, which he had helped establish. In 1933 he returned to propaganda, serving as a public relations consultant for the National Socialists. He was sentenced to jail in October 1941 for not complying with the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 and was indicted in April 1944 for conspiracy to disseminate publications aimed at causing insubordination in the military.7
This repository presents a selection of poems from Viereck’s Fatherland. They underscore the purpose of the Fatherland described in the “Preamble.” They tend to comment on particular aspects of the war, such as foreign relations or individual battles. The poems frequently refer to the Allied Forces, especially Britain and its colonial troops, in racist terms. Some are critical, direct responses to other poems or commentary published in the periodic press.
1Doenecke, Justus D. “Viereck, George Sylvester (1884-1962), poet, writer, and propagandist,” in American National Biography, February 1, 2000. https://www.anb.org/view/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.001.0001/anb-9780198606697-e-0600673.
2Partsch, Cornelius. “Viereck, George Sylvester,” in Germany and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, eds.Thomas Adam and Will Kaufman (Santa Barbara: ABC–CLIO, 2005), 1097.
3“‘The Confessions of a Barbarian’: A Book of Essays in Which an American Decadent Timorously Calls Attention to His Ego,” New York Times, May 21, 1910. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/confessions-barbarian/docview/97083782/se-2?accountid=14556.
4Viereck, George Sylvester. “Preamble,” Fatherland 1, no. 1 (August 10, 1914), 3.
5Partsch, “Viereck,” 1097.
6“‘Fatherland’ Barred in Passaic Libraries: Trustees Shut Out G. S. Viereck’s Pro–German Publication.” New–York Tribune, September 19, 1915. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/fatherland-barred-passaic-libraries/docview/575437117/se-2?accountid=14556.
Segall, Julius. Gedichte. Milwaukee: self-published by Julius Segall, 1920.
Born in 1860 in Nakel an der Netze, in the Prussian province of Posen (present–day Poland), Julius G. Segall (1860–1925) migrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1874. He returned to Germany to study art at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Segall created representational art throughout his decades–long career, including commissions for portraits and landscapes.1 Segall and his wife were both Jewish; she was born in the Austrian province of Bucovina (present–day Ukraine).2 In his Milwaukee studio, he painted marine scenes, still lifes, and genre paintings, winning prizes in competitions in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.3 After teaching drawing and painting at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Segall returned to Milwaukee, where he began painting religious and hunting scenes. He made five trips to Europe (Germany, Italy, Russia, Romania), the last shortly before the outbreak of the First World War.4 An obituary in the New York Times noted that the “internationally famed artist and poet,” whose paintings were on display in museums in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York, had received the diploma of honor from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice.5 The In 1926 the Christian Science Monitor published a review of a memorial exhibit that included twenty of Segall’s portraits, claiming that, of all the German panorama painters who had settled in Milwaukee after the Civil War and made the city a flourishing art center, Segall was the only one who continued “to shed the light of his talent.”6
Segall also wrote poetry, self-publishing Gedichte in 1920 and contributing poems to the Milwaukee periodicals Freidenker and Germania-Herold. According to Peter Merrill, some of Segall’s poems were set to music and translated into English by his friend, Otto Soubron, a German-born dramatist and poet.7 A socialist, Segall contributed articles to the Milwaukee newspaper Vorwärts. He also wrote plays in German that were performed but not published.8
Merrill describes the poems in the anthology Gedichte as “usually philosophical in tone, many of them reflecting Segall’s pacifist reaction to the First World War.”9 The Chicago Sonntagspost published a description of Segall by Martin Fuchs: “He had the heart of a child. He was a dreamer who did not see people as they were, but as he would have liked to see them. An almost unshakeable trust in the goodness of man burst forth from everything he said.”10
This archive contains poems in the first two sections of Segall’s volume: Krieg and Freiheit, Wahrheit und Menschenrechte. The first section begins with an epigram, a verse from the initial poem in the collection, “Die Klage der Muse”: “Warum morden die Brüder sich doch?” The poems in Krieg are written from the perspective of someone experiencing the war first–hand and address themes such as death, destruction, grief, guilt, and prayer. This section also begins with a quote from the first poem in the section: “Frei soll stets mein ganzes Sinnen, / Frei soll stets mein Handeln sein!” These poems explore topics such as freedom of thought and speech as well as social issues such as poverty and hunger.
1“Julius G. Segall (1860–1925),” Wisconsin Museum of Art, accessed May 14, 2021. https://wisconsinart.org/archives/artist/julius-g-segall/profile-151.aspx.
2Merrill, Peter C. “Julius Segall (1860–1925),” in German–American Painters in Wisconsin: 15 Biographical Essays (Stuttgart: Hans–Dieter Heinz Akademischer Verlag), 114.
3“Julius G. Segall.”
4Merrill, “Julius Segall,” 114.
5“Julius Segall, Artist: Special to The New York Times,” New York Times, January 21, 1925, accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/julius-segall-artist/docview/103602003/se-2?accountid=14556.
6“Milwaukee Art Notes,” Christian Science Monitor, March 17, 1926, accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/milwaukee-art-notes/docview/511822786/se-2?accountid=14556.
7Merrill, “Julius Segall,” 115.
8Merrill, “Julius Segall,” 117.
9Merrill, “Julius Segall,” 117.
10Quoted in Merrill, German–American Painters, 117.
McKay, Claude. Harlem Shadows: The Poems of Claude McKay. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922.