Toller, Ernst, 1893-1939

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Frank, Leonhard, 1882-1961. German Expressionism collection, 1909-1961 (bulk 1916-1934). University of Maryland Libraries, UMD Libraries
referencedIn George Grosz papers, 1893-1981 (inclusive) 1919-1959 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Toller, Ernst, 1893-1939. Ernst Toller appeal, 1919. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Wolff, Kurt, 1887-1963. Kurt Wolff archive, 1907-1938. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Rand School of Social Science, Dept. of Labor Research records, 1916-1923 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Oswald Garrison Villard papers, 1872-1949. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Renger-Patzsch, Albert. Albert Renger-Patzsch papers, 1890-1980 (bulk 1924-1966). Getty Research Institute
referencedIn MacCarthy mss., 1863-1991 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Weinberger, Harry, 1888-. Harry Weinberger papers, 1915-1944 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars records, 1927-1949, 1933-1945 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Horace Mason Reynolds papers, 1895-1965. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Albert Renger-Patzsch papers, 1890-1980, 1924-1966 Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Toller, Ernst, 1893-1939. The Theatre Guild presents Man and the masses (Masse mensch) [microform] : a play of the social revolution in seven scenes / by Ernst Toller ; translated by Louis Untermeyer ; the production designed and directed by Lee Simonson. University of Southern California, USC Libraries
referencedIn Sir William Rothenstein correspondence and other papers, 1887-1957. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Lewis Gannett papers, 1681-1966 (inclusive) 1900-1960 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973. In memoriam Ernst Toller autograph poem 1939? The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library
creatorOf Ernst Toller papers, 1917-1978, 1933-1939 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Leon Trotsky exile papers, 1929-1940. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Matthews, Michael, 1950-. Ernst Toller--requiem for an idea : for actor and solo cello / text by Per Brask ; [music by] Michael Matthews. University of Manitoba Libraries
referencedIn Kurt Wolff archive, 1907-1938 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Jerome, V. J. (Victor Jeremy), 1896-1965. Victor Jeremy Jerome papers, 1923-1967 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Toller, Ernst, 1893-1939. Correspondence with Alma Mahler and Franz Werfel, 1922, 1941. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Albert Renger-Patzsch papers, 1890-1980, 1924-1966 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Dan H. Laurence Collection. Stalin-Wells Talk : The verbatim record and a discussion by G. Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, J.M. Keynes, Ernest Toller and Others..., London, 1934. University of Guelph
creatorOf Rand School of Social Science. Dept. of Labor Research. Rand School of Social Science, Dept. of Labor Research records, 1916-1923. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn E. Martin (Elliott Martin) Browne papers, 1925-1975. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Toller, Ernst, 1893-1939. Ernst Toller papers, 1922-1976 (inclusive), 1934-1939 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Ernst Toller Collection, 1917-1972, bulk 1917-1938 Leo Baeck Institute Archives
creatorOf Toller, Ernst, 1893-1939. Ernst Toller letters and postcards, 1922-1938. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Ernst Toller appeal, 1919 Hoover Institution Archives.
referencedIn Meloney, Marie Mattingly, 1883-1943. Papers, 1891-1943. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aschberg, Olof, 1877- person
associatedWith Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973. person
associatedWith Brailsford, Henry Noel, 1873-1958. person
associatedWith Browne, E. Martin (Elliott Martin), 1900- person
associatedWith Casparsson, Ragnar, 1893- person
associatedWith Cerf, Bennett Alfred, 1898-1971. person
associatedWith Chwolles, Fritzi person
associatedWith Clark, Barrett Harper, 1890-1953. person
associatedWith Dan H. Laurence Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Dunn, James Clement, 1890- person
associatedWith Eidem, Erling. person
associatedWith Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars corporateBody
correspondedWith Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966 person
associatedWith Greenwood, Arthur, 1880- person
correspondedWith Grosz, George, 1893-1959 person
associatedWith Jacobson, Hans, 1872- person
associatedWith Jensen, Christian, 1879- person
associatedWith Jerome, V. J. (Victor Jeremy), 1896-1965. person
associatedWith Johnson, Hewlett, 1874-1966. person
associatedWith Joss, Fritz, 1886-1939 person
associatedWith Koht, Halvdan, 1873-1965. person
associatedWith Lang, Cosmo Gordon, abp. of Canterbury, 1864-1945. person
associatedWith MacCarthy, Desmond, 1877-1952 person
associatedWith Manning, William Thomas, Bp, 1866-1949. person
associatedWith Marley, Dudley Leigh Aman, baron,d1884- person
associatedWith Matthews, Michael, 1950- person
associatedWith McIntyre, Marvin Hunter, 1878-1943. person
associatedWith Meloney, Marie Mattingly, 1883-1943. person
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973. person
associatedWith Pickett, Clarence Evan, 1884- person
associatedWith Rand School of Social Science. Dept. of Labor Research. corporateBody
associatedWith Renger-Patzsch, Albert. person
correspondedWith Reynolds, Horace Mason, 1896-1965 person
associatedWith Reynolds, Reginald, 1905-1958, person
associatedWith Riós y Urruti, Fernando de los. person
associatedWith Riós y Urruti, Fernando de los. person
associatedWith Roberts, Walter St. Clair Howland, 1893- person
correspondedWith Rothenstein, William, Sir, 1872-1945 person
associatedWith Roth, Eugen 1895-1976 person
associatedWith Roth, Joseph, 1894-1939 person
associatedWith Savage, Michael Joseph, 1872-1940. person
associatedWith Searle, Robert Wyckoff. person
associatedWith Simonson, Lee, 1888-1967. person
associatedWith Strom̈, Fredrik, 1880-1948. person
associatedWith Tal, Ernst Peter, 1888-1936. person
associatedWith Temple, William, abp. of Canterbury, 1881-1944. person
associatedWith Toller, Else. person
correspondedWith Trotsky, Leon, 1879-1940 person
associatedWith Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977, person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Weinberger, Harry, 1888- person
associatedWith Wells, H. G., (Herbert George), 1866-1946. person
associatedWith Wolff, Kurt, 1887-1963. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Spain
Germany
Germany
Europe
United States
Germany
Spain
Bavaria (Germany) History Revolution, 1918-1919.
Germany History Revolution, 1918.
Europe.
Bavaria (Germany)
Subject
Exiled Jewish authors--California--Correspondence
Jewish authors--Germany
Communism--Germany
Literature--History and criticism
Dramatists, German--20th century--Correspondence
German literature
Zionism
Communism
Occupation
Authors
Function

Person

Birth 1893-12-01

Death 1939-05-22

Germans

French,

English,

German

Information

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