Toller, Ernst, 1893-1939

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1893-12-01
Death 1939-05-22
DE
French, English, German

Biographical notes:

Ernst Toller was born in Germany, and studied in France and Germany. Toller was prominent in the German revolutionary government in 1918, and later was imprisoned for this activity. During his time in prison he wrote many plays. Toller fled to England in 1933 and continued writing. In 1936 he moved to the United States and wrote film scripts. In 1938 Toller travelled to Spain and began organizing relief efforts.

From the description of Ernst Toller papers, 1922-1976 (inclusive), 1934-1939 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702167128

Ernst Toller was born in Samotschin in 1893. He studied law in Grenoble and volunteered for World War I, but was relieved from his duties because of medical reasons in 1917. He continued his studies in Munich and became friends with Kurt Eisner. After Eisner's death in 1919, Toller became the head of the Unabhängigen Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands (USPD) in Bavaria. In July he was arrested for treason and sentenced to five years in prison. During his imprisonment he wrote several plays and moved to Berlin after his release in 1924. In 1933, he moved to Switzerland and later immigrated to England and the US. He died in 1939.

From the guide to the Ernst Toller Collection, 1917-1972, bulk 1917-1938, (Leo Baeck Institute Archives)

Toller had emigrated to the U.S. in 1934 and committed suicide in New York City in 1939. Else Toller was Ernst's cousin and also a close friend; she lived in New York City and was a physician, apparently still completing an internship. Ernst Peter Tal (1888-1936) was a Viennese publisher, the head of E. P. Tal & Co. Verlag (Tal at one point published work by Toller); Lucy Tal, Ernst's wife, was a good friend of Alma Mahler.

From the description of Correspondence with Alma Mahler and Franz Werfel, 1922, 1941. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155864626

Ernst Toller was a German playwright and activist. Scarred emotionally by the bloodshed he witnessed as a soldier in World War I, he began speaking against the war and was imprisoned, where he wrote a drama based on his experiences. He helped establish the short-lived communist government in Bavaria, and was again arrested, again using his prison time to write drama. He spoke against fascism and the Nazi rise to power, emigrated to California, and wrote screenplays for MGM until his suicide in 1939.

From the description of Ernst Toller letters and postcards, 1922-1938. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 55506780

German writer; leader of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, 1919.

From the description of Ernst Toller appeal, 1919. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754867888

Biographical/Historical Note

German writer; leader of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, 1919.

From the guide to the Ernst Toller appeal, 1919, (Hoover Institution Archives)

Ernst Toller was born in Germany, and studied in France and Germany. Toller was prominent in the German revolutionary government in 1918, and later was imprisoned for this activity. During his time in prison he wrote many plays. Toller fled to England in 1933 and continued writing. In 1936 he moved to the United States and wrote film scripts. In 1938 Toller travelled to Spain and began organizing relief efforts.

Ernst Toller, German dramatist and political activist, was born of Jewish parents on December 1, 1893, in Samotschin, a small town near Bromberg. After receiving his primary and secondary education in Samotschin and Bromberg, he attended the University of Grenoble, France.

At the outbreak of World War I, Toller returned to Germany from France. He enlisted in the army and served on the western front. Discharged from the army because of poor health, Toller continued his studies at the universities of Munich and Heidelberg.

When the Bavarian Revolution broke out in Germany in 1918, Toller was prominent in the revolutionary government. For activities connected with this position he later served five year's imprisonment.

The term in prison was a prolific period for Toller. Plays which were successfully produced during his confinement include Die Wandlung (1919), Masse-Mensch (1921), Die Maschinenstürmer (1922), and Hinkemann (1924).

Toller's play Hoppla, wir leben! opened in Berlin in 1927. The year 1930 saw the opening of Feuer aus den Kesseln! in Berlin and the publication of Quer Durch .

Toller went to Switzerland in 1933. During the same year he was deprived of his citizenship by the Nazi government, his property was confiscated, and his books were burned. He fled to England and subsequently became a British subject. At the end of 1933, Toller's autobiography, Eine Jugend in Deutschland, was published.

In 1935 Toller produced Draw the Fires! in Manchester and published Briefe aus dem Gefängnis. No More Peace! opened in London in 1936.

Toller made his first trip to the United States in 1929. He again came to this country in 1936 with his wife, Christiane Grautoff, whom he had married the previous year, and lectured both here and in Canada on the dangers of Hitler and fascism.

In 1937 Toller was hired to write film scripts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. During this time he resided mostly in Santa Monica, California.

Toller traveled to Spain in 1938 and witnessed the suffering of the civilian population in the midst of a civil war. He initiated a large-scale relief project for civilians on both sides of the Spanish Civil War and secured the cooperation of the United States and several European countries in raising money for food suplies. The bulk of Toller's correspondence and essayistic prose from this period reflects his deep commitment to aiding the Spanish refugees.

Toller's last play, Pastor Hall, was published in the spring of 1939.

Toller committed suicide on May 22, 1939, in New York City.

From the guide to the Ernst Toller papers, 1917-1978, 1933-1939, (Manuscripts and Archives)



Biographical notes are generated from the bibliographic and archival source records supplied by data contributors.

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http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6js9pqt
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SNAC ID:
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Subjects:

  • Exiled Jewish authors -- California -- Correspondence
  • Communism Germany.
  • Literature--History and criticism.
  • Dramatists, German--20th century--Correspondence
  • German literature
  • Zionism
  • German literature.
  • Communism
  • Literature--History and criticism
  • Jewish authors -- Germany

Occupations:

  • Authors.

Places:

  • Spain (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Spain (as recorded)
  • Bavaria (Germany) History Revolution, 1918-1919. (as recorded)
  • Germany History Revolution, 1918. (as recorded)
  • Europe. (as recorded)
  • Bavaria (Germany) (as recorded)