Eleanor Alexander
Monty Jacobs -
Letters to his Mentor
(1899 - 1923)

I was particularly interested in the letters from Monty Jacobs to Fritz Mauthner because Jacobs was a friend and colleague of my father at the Vossische Zeitung. Monty Jacobs was the theater critic and editor of the feuilleton, and my father, the editor of a legal page "Recht und Leben" (Law and Life). The paper was first published in 1805; the Ullstein brothers bought it in 1913.

When Fritz Mauthner gave up his position as a theater critic with the Berliner Tageblatt around 1900, he was able to pass his job on to Monty Jacobs who was most grateful. Jacobs remained there until 1910, and in 1913 he started working for the Vossische Zeitung. He was committed to assisting Mauthner in his scholarly work and always willing to go to the library for the information that Mauthner needed. He also was most helpful when Mauthner was in trouble with his publishers.

Montague Jacobs was a British subject, but he considered himself a German and served for four years in the German army during the First World War. His army service was interrupted by a stay in prison as an enemy alien. The mood of the letters changes after the lost war; there is a general malaise: unemployment is high, inflation devastating and the political leaders unable to deal with the situation.

There are 104 letters and 24 cards, written between 1899 and 1923. They are full of information and an excellent guide to Mauthner's interests and method of work. I had to leave out many details, as I am not a scholar and do not live near a research library. But the letters give us a very good picture of the intellectual life of the time and the generosity of Jacobs who liked nothing better than to assist his mentor, Fritz Mauthner.

The first letter was written in 1899 when Fritz Mauthner resigned as theater critic of the Berliner Tageblatt, since he had not been in good health for some time, and Monty Jacobs became his successor. He was delighted and remained grateful to Mauthner all his life. On the occasion of Mauthner's fiftieth birthday, he wrote wishing him good health first of all and telling him how much he misses him.


November 1899

Sehr verehrter Herr Mauthner,

How much unforgettable stimulation we all received in the Wangenheimstrasse. I plan to have a Mauthner banquet on November 22, when I will give a rousing speech and drink a toast to your health. I am sure that many European intellectuals will do the same on this day, but you must believe me when I say that nobody could be more faithful and anxious to wish you happiness and good health than

your devoted Monty Jacobs


There are several letters written at the Fürtherstrasse which give no dates, but we know that Monty Jacobs and his family lived there at the beginning of the twentieth century.


W. Fürtherstrasse 21

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

I should like to thank you once more for your good-bye present. You know that this gift gave me great pleasure. It is not only a beautiful work of art, but it will always remind me of a room where I received invaluable stimulation during our talks for ten years.

Hoping to see you again before long in the Grunewald.

Your devoted Monty Jacobs


W. Fürtherstr. 2

Dear. Mr. Mauthner,

On the occasion of your birthday I wish you all the good things of which a grateful and faithful friend can think. Also in the name of my wife who is paying a call to a much younger birthday child; she told me marvellous things about your grandson whom I hope to visit soon. Since I cannot compete with mother's gift as a letter writer, I propose to ask you a lot of questions. I would not only like to know what you are working on, but also how you go about it. Did Freiburg fulfill your hopes, can you work better in a lonely life than in the busy Berlin turmoil?

You realize, of course, that envy is hidden behind this question, I am dissatisfied with my life, with the unending duties, working among people who in the most friendly manner ask me endless questions, taking up my time. Of course it is all my own fault, if my own work suffers. My work with the paper gives me a lot of headaches, hours of doubt at night, but also a great deal of pleasure. I have not yet met the new master, Theodor Wolff, but hope to make his acquaintance tomorrow.

I should just love to tell you, the only good listener I know, so many things and would like to ask you so many questions that I look forward with the greatest excitement to your visit to your grandson. I hope so much that you will not disappoint us. I know full well that I will be only one among many friends you want to see. I really should come and visit you and I cannot tell you how much good it would do me, but at least I should love to come see you in the Grunewald.

Please do excuse this letter that does not really sound like a birthday letter. I am sure you have better things to do when you visit, but do belleve me when I say that nobody would appreciate a letter from Freiburg more than
Your truly devoted Monty Jacobs


W. Fürtherstrasse 2

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

Since I am unable to visit you today, I would like to give you a short report of the results of my "audience." Mosse was very kind and gentle, and everything went smoothly in the interview. I will begin work on October 1st; my appointment is for three months. At that time they will decide whether the paper and I get along well. His "majesty" will then make his decision. Engels proposed that I accompany him next Friday for the dedication of the Barnovsky estate.

Unfortunately it will not be possible to divide the theater reviews in the same way as the Vossische Zeitung, as the chief editor as well as the publisher and Engels did not accept the proposal. We agreed to divide reviews of first nights at the theater between Engels and me. Since Engels seems to have the quallties of a decent colleague, I am not particularly worried. In addition to the theater reviews I will have to write three book reviews a month. The editor showed me all over the place and then introduced me to everyone working there, down to the messengers. I was received very cordially by my colleagues.

I hope you will permit me to thank you once more. I know that I owe the job to your powerful recommendation, and I also realize that the position no longer satisfied you, but to me it means a great deal; it offers everything for which I had hoped for years: a place where I can be useful, to be part of the intellectual life of Berlin, a place where I can fight for what I consider important. Since it leaves me enough time for my own work, I will probably finish my book before long. You see, I have every reason to be grateful and content. I know you do not like effusive expressions of thanks, but I do want to tell you that you made two people very happy.

With my warmest regards, Monty Jacobs


W. Fürtherstrasse 2

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

On behalf of my young son Heinrich I want to thank you for the truly beautiful elephant. He accompanies his master in a pushcart on his walks in the Tiergarten and is the only competition for his beloved trains. It is too bad that you cannot see for yourself how much it means to him.

I would have written to you even without this lovely surprise at Christmas, but I was waiting for the arrival of "Totengespräche" (Talk among the Dead) which you had promised me. Since the publication of the book has been delayed, I cannot wait any longer, but can only make my apologies for writing so late.

Your report that your work is making good progress pleased me very much. It must be most satisfactory and should make you happy, if also very tired. I know only too well how much living in Berlin and working on the paper hinders one's own work. But it would be an ungrateful denial of the truth, if I did not tell you that I serve these two tyrants with the greatest pleasure. I am especially glad that I managed to survive all my troubles with Engels and am enjoying my collaboration with Brahm-Reinhardt. My only complaint is that so little of interest happens this season in the Berlin theaters. The date of the final negotiations with the publishers of my book is imminent. I am already very excited and will report to you at once, assuming your patient interest.

I am sending you my warmest wishes for a good and healthy New Year, without any more health problems.

With my warmest regards, your devoted Monty Jacobs


W. Fürtherstrasse 2

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

I do not have any more news than usual today, but feel that I should write to you and tell you once more of my faithful and ever present thought of you. Since I have not seen my mother since her return, I have no news of Freiburg, but instead will tell you something about Berlin. First of all, I can give you good reports about the Wartenbergers; Grete and her husband were as cheerful as always, and little Fritz a healthy little boy who seems to enjoy life very much indeed. I visited them in the Grunewald where, being back in the old rooms, I had a feeling of great loss.

I told you already the other day that I am enjoying my wife's good health and the steady progress of my two boys. Our only problem is that we need better living quarters. In spite of your misgivings I will now execute my old plan and move from the city to the country. It seems a shame not to let my children grow up among trees and flowers. I will report any success of my search for a better place.

I do not have much news to give you about the Berliner Tageblatt. I wish I were as pleased with my own writing as I am with the paper, where I now have a free hand. lf only a fresher air would blow in the theaters and the arts. I hope you will let me know if I can be of assistance; you must know that I am as eager as always to help you with your work. For today only this short sign of life and my warmest greetings,

Your Monty Jacobs


Dear Mr. Mauthner,

I was delighted to hear from my mother that you have already revised the proofs - my heartiest congratulations. Sinee you refuse to send me any requests for help here in Berlin, I am desperate and have decided to move my headquarters to London from June 10th to the beginning of July. lf I could be helpful in any way, talking to people or sending information about books or pictures, I should be only too pleased. Dora will accompany me on this first trip to "my" country. We shall first visit Weimar for the Goethetag. I very much look forward to my days in England and hope to see as much as possible. I shall avoid Liverpool where seven uncles of mine live.

Things go well at the "Berliner Tageblatt" - some of my colleagues consider me a gentle lamb, others consider me argumentative. I was quite worried by a demand by Mosse (the owner of the paper) to devote myself to writing essays on literature, while the theaters are closed. Since I could prove that I had fulfilled all my contractual duties, my conscience was clear. However, colleagues have told me that Mosse likes new people to keep writing, but you had already told me about this tradition. I am doing my best to fulfill all the requests promptly.

I would so much like to be of assistance to you - is there nothing in the library or the bookstores that I can find for you? I do not have any more news than usual today, but I felt that I should write to you once more today of my ever present and faithful thoughts.

With the friendliest greetings, your devoted Monty Jacobs


Dahlmannstrasse 28
November 27, 1907

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

This year my birthday wishes come from Charlottenburg. I hope you can use a book written long ago; unfortunately it will not arrive in time because the bookstore is still trying to find lt for me. lt is Maimon's "Philosophical Dictionary."

I hope very much that you will come to Berlin again for Christmas. Since you are unwilling to visit us during the summer months, we count on your visit at Christmas time. The only attraction I can offer is our second son, but his mother thinks that he is well worth a trip. His brother Heini has been registered for Easter at the Mommsengymnasium. He is not at all interested in doing crafts, but is an inveterate reader. There is not much I can do about it.

At the Tageblatt everything seems to go along incredibly peacefully. I live in a happy collaboration with Engels, and my arguments with Stahl about heaven and earth seem to make us better friends. Our new editor of the feuilleton, Paul Wiegler, who is not unknown to you, is an excellent addition.

My own work makes steady progress and my Arnim edition will hopefully be finished by Christmas. I really enjoyed the work, but it took much more time than I had anticipated. Recently I have been trying my best as a speaker before one of the cultural associations and before a ladies' club, but I am ready to return to the inkpot. Another ease where I would like to consult you. I hope that your headaches and eye troubles will diminish and you will be able to drop me a few lines, as I am most anxious for news from you.

Kindest regards also from Dora who joins me in sending you the warmest wishes for good health for the coming year.

Yours, Monty Jacobs


My family lived half a block from the Mommsengymnasium, and my sister and I had to pass it on our way to school, a rather alarming experience.


December 27, 1907
Dear Mr. Mauthner,

I am sorry to be so late in thanking you for your lovely card and the magnificent book of animal pictures, but I was so terribly busy with preparations for Christmas that I did not find any time for writing letters, and I did not just want to send you a short note.

Heini was very happy with his beautiful book. He often looks at it - he already reads very well and at great speed; his favorite animals are whales, bats and pigs. He is very definite about what he likes and dislikes and is not influenced by others. The whole family is grateful to you. Heini will send you his thanks himself, but, as nobody is allowed to assist him and his spelling is unorthodox, the result may look somewhat curious.

Today I visited Grete in the Grunewald to wish her a happy birthday. It seemed strange to me to see your old rooms in new dress. Everything looks fine, new and clean. Grete has taken much trouble and shown excellent taste.

Your little Fritz is a charming, fat guy who unfortunately was a bit bad tempered because his mother had scolded him for some small misdeed. I had not seen Grete for quite a while, since we had both been busy with moving and preparations for Christmas. I found her well and cheerful and we chatted comfortably about old and new times.

Christmas was a pleasant time for all of us, and Monty was so very happy with his two boys. Our good mood did not last because we were worried about mother's poor health which has lasted unfortunately for quite a while. lf only her health would improve.

Greetings from all of us, Dora Jacobs


On January 8, 1910, Monty Jacobs wrote to Mauthner telling him that he had just given three months notice to the Tageblatt. He had discovered that they were trying to hire someone to replace him. lt was a hard blow to Monty Jacobs and he needed all the help he could get from Mauthner. He ends his letter:


I need hardly tell you that right now I thoroughly dislike working for the Tageblatt and I don't even like the theater anymore. However, I know that there is also a gain in the loss: I look forward to a quiet life where I will be able to study the "Dictionary of Philosophy" and other important books that I had to neglect for so long. lt also will give me time to finish some work that I had planned for a long time. I think I will be much happier when all this is over - waiting for the end of the three months is hard on me.

I do want to thank you once more for your help and kindness at the beginning and the end of my time at the Tageblatt and remain

Your faithful and devoted Monty Jacobs


November 20, 1910

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

I am glad that your birthday gives me a good reason for a letter so that I can get rid of my bad conscience. Do accept me the way I am: some one who feels close to you and glad to be able to tell you so. Please accept my warmest wishes for the 22nd.

Right now I am not sure anymore about the book that I mailed to you. It no longer gives me as much pleasure as it did when I purchased it. Just today when Falstaff led me to a re-reading of the item "Ehre" (Honor) in the dictionary, I discovered a quote of old Wald, and I am afraid that he has been on your bookshelves for a long time. I hope you will appreciate my good intentions.

In your last letter you asked for news about Berlin. Perhaps you could give me the names of the papers you are reading, so that I can add articles from other papers. I will send you copies of the Babb-Kerr controversy as soon as I find the relevant articles. You ask after Erich Schmidt. By chance I was a witness of his breakdown in Frankfurt. Fortunately he was able to regain his health and take part in the festivities for the Jubilee of the University. I love this man and am sad that one has to be so concerned about him.

After Easter I started to work in the University library, always the best cure for me. My work, now in its last stages, will seem to be of little importance to you. It deals with the history of the theater, it is only a compilation of testimonials written by others, but it seems necessary to me as a basis for a new discipline. For me it is useful as a first step in a new direction. As soon as I have something ready, I will send it to you.

With kindest regards, yours, Monty Jacobs


Nikolassee, Normannstrasse 11
November 21, 1913

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

You gave me a present for your birthday and thus I have to add my warmest thanks to my birthday wishes. I am so very happy that the "Critique of Language" has a new edition. This second edition, published so soon, will keep your ideas alive for a long time. For your birthday I wish you first of all a good holiday and no more headaches. I hope that you will soon relax in Portofino, or some other sunny Italian resort. From Berlin I can report that Erich Schmidt's successor has not yet been named.

But there is exciting news! The Ullsteins have bought the Vossische Zeitung which had become a quite unimportant paper lately. Since Scherl (editor of a conservative paper "Lokalanzeiger") may disappear soon, Mosse and Ullstein will be the only truly important newspaper publishers. I do not pay too much attention to these developments and am content to blow my flute for Paul Marx on the red "Tag" (Day).

As to my own work, I am more deeply involved in my "History of the Theater" than I had planned. Once I have finished my work for Brockhaus (a famous encyclopedia), "Five Hundred Dead and Living Comedians in the World," I will give up that kind of work. Until that time I have to go to the library regularly - at every railroad station and in every bookstore I see copies of your book. Could I not be of some assistance to you again?

Please give my best regards to your wife and accept my warmest wishes on the 22nd of November.

Your truly devoted Monty Jacobs


The news that the Ullsteins had bought the "Vossische Zeitung" brought back many happy memories. I still remember my mother showing us my father's name in the paper with great pride. My father wrote articles about politics and edited a page "Recht und Leben" (Law and Life) every Thursday. I also remember going with my father to Berlin Tempelhof where the Vossische Zeitung was printed. They had the first four-color printers and were able to print excellent reproductions. Dr. Franz Ullstein was in charge of the Vossische Zeitung, and my father respected him very much. The five Ullstein brothers published the B.Z. am Mittag (News at Noon) which was very popular, as well as the "Berliner Illustrierte", and magazines and books.

The Ullstein Verlag, no longer owned by the Ullstein family, still publishes today.

One day by chance I discovered a book called "Einst in Berlin" (Once upon a Time in Berlin) in my library which had really nice photos of Berlin in 1914. I started reading it and came across a chapter about journalists in the Berlin of those days. Suddenly I saw my fathers name, Dr. Erich Eyck.
    "To the quiet ones in the landscape, as they say at Ullstein, belongs the medium-tall gentleman with the typical head of an academic, sporting a mustache: the lawyer, Dr. Erich Eyck, who deals with legal and city affairs for the Vossische Zeitung. You will meet him wandering along the corridors where he chats with everyone who comes his way, listening quietly and with great patience to the political information of every young critter. He is a master of observation and listening. He is a deep one! The articles he writes are logical and the legal content clear and unambiguous. Erich Eyck represents the liberal spirit of Ullstein."
I think that Monty Jacobs started to work for the Vossische Zeitung soon after; he returned to his job there as soon as the war was over.

On August 4, 1914 the First World War started. lt changed the life of Monty Jacobs - and so many people all over Europe.


March 10, 1915

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

Your friendly postcard asking for information about me, sent at the beginning of the war, lies heavy on my conscience. I hope you will accept my justification for the late answer.

The beginning of the war was a great blow to me. As a British subject, I was suddenly an "enemy alien,". However, I was not molested in any way. I submitted my application for naturalization which had been turned down four years ago and applied for war service. A long period of waiting followed; finally an answer arrived requesting a medical certificate and asking me to find a regiment prepared to accept me. I submitted both quickly, but the immigration law demanded a four month waiting period, and the bureaucracy followed the usual procedure even during the war. And then November arrived and with it the internment of enemy aliens. Our commandant believed in following the rules, and thus neither protection high up nor my military papers saved me. As a favor, I was interned in the Berlin city prison, rather than Ruhleben. For four and a half weeks I was treated as a criminal; at first I was kept for 22 hours every day in a securely locked isolation cell. Finally my wife, with the help of my friends, succeeded in getting a dispensation from the War Ministry which made it possible for me to serve in the army before my naturalization, thus giving me my freedom.

I did not want to write to you during my weeks of waiting or during the imprisonment and as a soldier I was never near an inkpot. Only now, at the end of my training, I find time to write to you while recovering from a typhoid vaccination. I have been a soldier for three months now and have been promised a quick decision about my citizenship.

Even my experiences in prison never made me doubt where I belong, although they demanded a great deal of patience. I do not believe that General von Kessel really represents Germany. I have never felt more strongly than I do now where I belong. I am proud and glad that I was able to keep up with 20-year-old soldiers. As a guy who just celebrated his fortieth birthday I am the wonder of the company. For this reason I am well treated, but I work as hard as anybody else. During the first eight weeks I had many different duties: cleaning staircases, washing windows and other duties of this kind - a far cry from my studies as a PhD candidate. I live with fifteen men in one dormitory and have none of the priviliges that educated soldiers usually have. The strange thing is that I never felt better in my life than in the army. My civilian profession does not allow much exercise outdoors, and in the last month I have discovered how much I need it. All my companions here could be my sons.

I am writing surrounded by people and I do not think that you expect a formal presentation under the circumstances. But the expression of your interest in me during the fateful days of August is so very precious to me that I did not want to wait any longer. There is little hope that I will find the time for a longer letter any time soon, but I will try. The best part of serving in the army is that nobody has the time or the inclination to talk about the war. You will probably understand my feelings.

In an article of yours which I managed to find here, I was very glad to see that you speak of my friend, poor Ludwig Frank. You understand how much I have lost.

Let me finish this chatty letter with the hope that you will write to me again soon. Please address any letters to M. Jacobs. I hope to receive good news and beg you to give my warmest regards to your wife.

Your faithful Monty Jacobs


Normannenst. 11
Whitsun 1919

Dear Mr. Mauthner,

I have composed this letter in my mind a hundred times before finally writing it. I only hope that you will forgive my sins when you think of the sins of our times. First of all, I do hope that you never doubted my affection for you.

When I returned home on leave last fall, I discovered that my son Heinrich had learned a great deal reading your work to which I had introduced him. During the week that I was at home he wrote to you, but he had inherited enough silly scruples from his father not to share this letter with him. Fortunately, I was able to read your kind answer to him and was delighted with your generosity. In the meantime my philosopher has been promoted to the Oberprima (12th grade) and hopes to be a student next year, if there are still any universities.

In addition to the letter, I also had good news about your health from my colleague Klaar. Otherwise I know nothing about you, and I hope very much that you will forgive my silence during the last years and give me a report of your health and your work. I hope that you know that nobody could be more interested.

I am in a quandary about telling you about life in the last years, since I cannot remember what I wrote to you last. In France, in 1915, I heard that your letter to me had gotten lost in the army camp in Potsdam in 1914 - a great loss for me. You have two dates now: I remained in France, always as an artillery man at the front, until February 1916. I would have remained until the end of the war in this miserable Position, but was able to get away and was sent to the Eastern Front. For some time I had a very agreeable position at a military newspaper in Wilna, but went back to serve at the front, as I seemed too young at forty-one to give up active duty. I was assigned to a field artillery regiment on the Eastern Front where I remained until the bitter end.

During the first months my duties were light, but beginning early in 1918 it got very strenuous, but interesting. We marched all through Russia to the Black Sea where the Allies were fighting the Bolsheviks. In the fall we were sent to France. On our way, after the Bulgarian defection, we were turned around and sent via the Black Sea to the Balkans. After that we confronted the Mackensee Army, then went home via Romania and Siebenbürgen. In the end the only threat was internment. I became an officer in 1917. After I had been one of the healthiest soldiers during four years of war, I caught pleurisy in Budapest during our last march. Thus I returned home as a Patient, and it's taken me a long time to recover.

In February 1919, I returned to my position as theater critic for the Vossische Zeitung. I am grateful that after all these years I made it home alive, and the return to my work was purejoy. I also am ever so grateful that I am home again with my family, but find it almost impossible to live with the pressures of today's life. Life may be bearable when you live in Meersburg, but hardly in this uninhabitable city, Berlin. I envy the fools and fanatics who know exactly where Germany is heading. I certainly do not know, and I find it hard to bear what you see: the ineptitude at the top and the sheer misery at the bottom. It may well be that all these years at the front have alienated us from people and every day life at home. Every day brings new pressures and unhappiness. I often think of you in these troubled times and regret that there is no opportunity to hear what you think and where you stand in all this confusion.

I am certain that the fate of Landauer must have been a great sorrow to you, although I heard that you had been no longer as close as you were in the past. I expect the revolution to start any day now and I know that often the wrong people are killed during such times. Even if the war had ended differently, I would still remember it as the terrible event that killed my best friends, Kurt Jahn and Ludwig Frank.

Please excuse these heartfelt words; I dare write them to you because I was always able to confess my sins to you in the past. I hope so very much that in the future I will be welcome when I knock at the door of the Glaserhäusle. I hope you will excuse this honest letter and give my warmest regards to your wife.

I remain with best wishes, your old and devoted friend, Monty Jacobs


June 21, 1919

Dear Friend,

Don't be afrald that I will disturb your quiet life all the time, but I hope you will allow me to tell you that your letter was for me undoubtedly the one happy event in these terrible times. I thank you for your continuing interest and for your suggestion to begin my letters to you with the words, "Dear Friend." I fully realize the importance of this gesture.

You live in the country and you have finished a new opus - may I call you "enviable"? My travels will not lead to your lake unfortunately - I am to cure the ravages of the war at a resort on the Baltic Sea. However, I already look forward to reading your book, especially since I will be able to share my pleasure with a young reader in the next room. I am encouraging Heinrich to write to you; he would have done it long ago, but did not have - you may remember the Berliners' expression - the "Traute" (courage).

A great pleasure in reading your letter is the certainty that your political views are similar to my own. Only someone who has returned from the front after all these years can truly feel this joy; it is hard to realize how people have changed. You can perhaps imagine the kind of people one meets in Berlin; on the one hand people who only worry about one thing: money, and on the other hand, the rabble who shirked their duty to bear arms and now despise the "murderers."

It seems to me a great loss that a man of your stature refuses to speak out in the newspapers about Germany. It would be a counter-balance that the readers these days badly need. But even the experiences of the last weeks cannot make me doubt Germany. However, I turn more and more to the view of Schlegel that there are only very few true Germans. Landauer certainly was one of them. I was relieved to hear that your different attitudes to the war did not break the bond of your friendship. Thinking of my own reaction, I can well imagine what that brutal murder must have meant to you.

In the old days I was able to help your work in a modest way by going to the library for you. You know how much I enjoyed those little services, and I beg you to realize that I am always ready to help you again.

With the friendliest greetings, your devoted Monty Jacobs


After discussing the information requested by Mauthner, Monty Jacobs ends the letter with a report about the difficult situation in Berlin.


July 2, 1919

An equally difficult problem exists at this moment: how to get from the suburbs to the city. Yesterday, all wheels stopped and I was forced to wait for a long distance train to get to Berlin to view the chaos in the city. We will soon find out which side is stronger, but it is time for a decision, for things cannot go on this way any longer - life on a powder keg. The other day I visited working class quarters during the troubles. When the "Stahlhelm," (a milltary reactionary organization) showed up a wave of hatred met them. The government no longer has any support in Berlin.

That's all for today. I hope you will believe me that I would be honestly delighted, if you gave me many more nuts to crack. I owe you for four years absence during the war.

With my very best regards, I remain your faithful Monty Jacobs


September 22, 1919

Dear Friend,

Many thanks for your letter with all the information that I need. I do not have to repeat it because you know it already. That it is my heartfelt wish: to free you from any worries about the fate of your work. Should it ever turn into a necessary duty, you may rest assured that I will fulfill your wishes to the best of my abillty.

You anticipate my wishes with your kind announcement that you have sent me the proofs. I look forward to the new opus with the greatest excitement and the word "historical" heightens my interest in your work. The poems will be just as welcome. I have read, in addition to the "Grossen Revolution," a few samples in the "Simplicissimus" and a poem about a failed god. You once read a few verses to me at your home in the Grunewald, and after all these years I still remember them as powerful and moving. I hope you will not choose too few - you see I am already abusing your confidence trying to influence your decision.

Dora thanks you for your concern and sends her best regards. Unfortunately, she is a patient right now, but hopes to be able to get up soon. Just lately she has felt much stronger after suffering many ills that forced her to be very careful. I hope that she will be well from now on and that she will be as healthy as her mother who left us a few weeks ago to see Annie again after an absence of five years. The nineteen-year-old medical student, Benvenuto, met her at the frontier and accompanied her to Naples. She writes happily about her stay there and has no desire to return to the troubled life in Berlin. She will probably remain all winter with Annie who is recovering from a serious operation. A member of my family, unknown to you, Elizabeth, will be eight years old in a few days. Alas, I cannot be objective, since I am struck by a father's blindness which makes an objective description impossible.

Once more: I live near libraries and newspaper offices, ready to procure for your work anything that Berlin has to offer. By granting me my wish you will please one who sends his best regards to you and your dear wife.

Monty Jacobs


October 1, 1919

Dear Friend,

I just received the pages with your revisions and, since nobody believes any more in a prompt delivery of parcels, I want to tell you night away: they are here. At the same time I want to send you my heartfelt thanks in anticipation of the pleasure of reading them, doubly welcome in these days of much unhappiness.

With sincere devotion, your Monty Jacobs


October 3, 1919

Dear Friend.

I am most grateful to you for giving me an opportunity at last to be of some help to you. From now on I hope to enjoy your confidence very often and expect many such small requests which are really no trouble to me at all. First of all, "Revision de Philosophie," was written by Christopher Meins in 1772 ...

I think I have told you already that the proofs have arrived. I look forward to reading them after grabbing them from my son this evening. I hope you will forgive me the indiscretion of sharing them with my son. I have sworn him to secrecy, asked him not to talk about it even to a friend who is also a "Mauthnerianer." To him I owe the knowledge of the essays, "Kriege," (Wars) dedicated to you which I have already ordered. It is obviously one of the many books that I missed during my years at the front.

May I ask you a favor? I am always delighted with news from Meersburg, but your time and eyes are too precious to me to expect any thank-you notes. May I assume to have received your thanks for these small troubles without a letter from you.

With my very best regards, your Monty Jacobs


Dahlemannstr. 8
November 4, 1919

Dear Friend,

Your postcard gives me a welcome reason to break my silence. I have moved, only for the winter months, and will be in my mother-in-Iaw's apartment until April lst. The house in Nikolassee has been rented and we'll be rid not only of the bills for coal, but also of the miserable trains for a few months. After the return of the owner from Naples in the spring, we will leave the city with pleasure as we no longer like to live in busy city streets. Last night, while walking in snow-covered, quiet Nikolassee, I was suddenly seized with longing for a quiet life.

Slowly I am calming down, ready for this long planned letter. Only now am I able to tell you in this letter how much I have learned from the pages of your book on Atheism and how much I sincerely admire your knowledge and the conception of your work. A history free of historicism, a well- conceived picture of antiquity in the introduction, as well as the personality and the knowledge of the linguist - it's just the way I would have imagined a "Mauthnerische" historical study. Heini and I are looking forward to the next pages which I hope you will send very soon.

Many thanks also for "Xantippe." In all the confusion of the move I first had to be satisfied with reading the epilogue, that is with a promising sample of your memoirs, unfortunately still unfinished. Anticipating your permission I published the lovely Mommsen episode in the Vossische Zeitung. I will send it to you, as soon as I have a copy. Your two questions on the postcard wandered to Charlottenburg via Nikolassee. This explains the late answer. Unfortunately, I cannot send you a translation of Adrian Koerbagh's work.

In "Literaturblatt" there is a ten column review of "Critique of Language" by Leo Spitzer. This review points out that this excellent work is quoted too little by linguists, and he ends with the following sentence, "The language snake bites its own tail. Let us honor its tamer, Mauthner." The review loses its straight line between beginning and end with long quotations and with an effort to refute some of these quotations, usually in a respectful manner, but sometimes in a presumptuous tone. I think you will be interested in all this and have therefore mailed you a copy of the journal. I hope that the interruption in the train service will not leave this too long undelivered.

The September issue contains another review by Leo Spitzer, giving both Bonn and Vienna as his domicile. This time he reviews a work by Eduard Schwyzer (Zurich, 1914). Spitzer writes,"I would like to point out a predecessor who is read too seldom by linguists, Fritz Mauthner." He continues with two quotes from "Sprache" (Language). Otherwise there is nothing interesting in the September issue; therefore I did not send it to you. I would be happy to answer more questions; it really is no trouble, and I am learning a great deal.

It is disturbing that the present strikes prevent the publication of your book on Atheism. Is the of publication to be kept a secret?

With my best regards, I remain your devoted Monty Jacobs


Easter Sunday

Dear Friend,

I was delighted to hear that you left your desk for a few days' relaxation. I was also very pleased to receive the "Konstanzer Blätter für Kunsf" (Art News of Constance). Thanks also for the missing pages of "Atheismus." (Atheism) They will be my reward tomorrow after I finish a piece of work.

One question: would you be able to send a new book of yours to a new publisher? The industrialist Tiedemann in Dresden founded the Sybillenverlag a short time ago. He is anxious to help artists: he wants to make it possible for young artists to travel, and he does not want to make money, since he evidentlv makes a great deal of money with his work in chemistry. I do not usually trust businessman who claim to be benefactors of artists, but he seems to be a "white raven." Since they are interested in my Ibsen studies, I had a conversation with Dr. Francke, Tiedemann's adviser, and discovered that Tiedemann is a "Mauthnerverehrer" (an admirer of Mauthner) and that he is really anxious to be your publisher. I offered to find out whether you were at all interested in his proposal. lt seems to me that they want to bring out things that are almost impossible to publish today: essays, history and philosophy, not what others want most of all: novels and light reading. I would be glad to know lf you would be interested.

Your opinion of Spengler interests me very much indeed, especially since you write that you will come back to this topic. Since I have so little time for reading these days, I am stuck in the middle of the book. At present only the first volume of "Untergang der Abendlandes" (the Decline of the West) is out. Thus I cannot judge the book yet, and have many contrary feelings, but must admit that I find him a stimulating writer. Many people I talked to dislike his tendentious writing, but still do respect him.

Hoping that the short holiday refreshed you, I am with kind regards, your devoted,

Monty Jacobs


April 20, 1920

Dear Friend,

I postponed writing this letter for a few days, since I hope to meet Mr. Tiedemann, the founder of the Sibyllenverlag, during his visit from Dresden to Berlin. I wrote to you a few days ago that he would like to publish one of your books, I passed on the information, and the gentlemen are most anxious to publish one of the books you mention, and perhaps even both. Before writing to you, Dr. Francke would like to know whether "Die Drei Bilder der Welt" (The Three Views of the World) will be ready in the fall. I did not know the answer, but hope to hear from you soon, so that Dr. Francke can get in touch with you. lf you are at all interested, I would like to add that I have a very good impression of Tiedemann and all my information about him confirms this. I believe that the Sibyllenverlag is aware of what they owe you. Please excuse my acting as a marriage broker without knowing whether the Berlin-Dresden marriage finds a response in Meersburg.

I should like to thank you once more for the last pages of the first volume. While reading it my interest became stronger all the time, and I believe that other readers also will want the book to continue. So far I like the Petrarch and Erasmus chapters best; Gregor von Heimsburg is a splendid figure and the social group comes to life.

I am very sad that Kaplan's attacks destroy your peace of mind. However, your answer in the "Konstanzer Zeitung" shows no sign of fatigue and hopefully your answer will make you feel better. I should so much like to help you fight these accusations. Can I?

Heinrich wrote to you from Heidelberg - I wish I sat next to him, also getting ready for a visit to Lake Constance.

Warmest wishes from your always devoted Monty Jacobs


April 28, 1920

Dear Friend,

I was delighted to recelve your favorable answer regarding a possible publication with the Sibyllenverlag. I have informed Dr. Francke, and he has promised to get in touch with you. I hope that this contact will bring you only pleasant hours.

In the meantime I have finished Spengler's book in spite of many interruptions . The artistic gifts of this writer, his sensitivity to "Weltangst" (The pervading anxiety) bowled me over at first. But I am too much under the influence of the "Critique of Language" to be able to accept the indiscriminate accusations. In addition, I agree with the student who sent you the book: without "Critique of Language" there would be no "Decline of the West."

His critique of words and numbers is influenced by your work - in general Spengler rarely tells us the origin of his ideas. I enclose a copy of an article by a writer, unknown to me, published in the BBC News who thinks you deserve a lot of credit for the book.

You were kind enough to invite Heinrich for Whitsun. I want to thank you very much indeed and plan to tell the boy not to be a nuisance. Please do not hesitate to tell him if you are not up to his visit. I myself have no plans to get through these terrible times; lf I could afford a holiday, it would only be a visit to Lake Constance.

With the very best regards, your always devoted Monty Jacobs


Nikolassee, Normannenstr.
May 15,1920

Dear Friend,

Your second postcard reached me today, just when I was about to explain my long silence. We are moving again from the city to Nikolassee, but have had a lot of trouble: one tenant was unable to move in time, and the other tenant asked for some changes in his apartrnent. I do not want to bother you with all the details, just wanted to tell you that all this keeps me very busy. I am glad that I can stay at present in a room under the roof. Nikolassee with all its lawns and flowers seems doubly delightful after all the noise and dirt in the city. Please excuse me during the next week while I am dealing with all the changes.

But even in the midst of all this inconvenience I was delighted to hear about the beautiful May celebration of the people in Constance. I do not believe in the dictatorship of the workers - my son calls me a reactionary - but such a spontaneous show of affection is a wonderful thing. How proud you must be to be shown this sign of good will. As a soldier I learned a great deal about the mistrust of common people.

Heinrich will write to you about his trip. I will send him your address and will also tell him that you are not at home at present. Could you let him know what would be the best time for a visit? Right after your return, with no household help, does not seem the best moment. Should he come at the end of the semester at the beginning of August? He lives in Rohrbach near Heidelberg, St. Peterstr. 9.

My essay on lbsen will be part of the book; unfortunately I have not heard anything about the book for a long time. Publication at the Sibyllenverlag seems to slow down which is not surprising, as paper is in such short supply. I only hope that they will be polite to you, if publication of your book is delayed.

With my warmest wishes for a pleasant holiday, your always faithful Monty Jacobs


July 25, 1920

Dear Friend,

Today I have a question: I have been uncertain for a long time whether I should travel this year, really whether I am able to right now. Deciding to take a short trip, I should like to ask you whether you will be at home during the first week of August; and whether it would suit you, if Heinrich and I would visit you. I want to be in Heidelberg on August 1st and then continue my trip, depending on your answer. I need not tell you how much I look forward to a meeting with you. We do not want to inconvenience you in any way and will certainly be able to find a place to stay on Lake Constance.

Kindest greetings from your devoted Monty Jacobs


August 17, 1920

After rushing around for two weeks I have returned home and am anxious to send my first greetings to the Mauthners in the Glaserhäusle. Heini and I owe you and your wife three wonderful days; I am sure these days will be unforgettable to him. You will have felt how much it meant to me to spend some time with you. I bring home a great deal from Meersburg. Meeting your wife and seeing you so fresh and vigorous which I had guessed reading your recent work was a pleasure. And the joy of being on the shores of Lake Constance added to our well-being. I was delighted to be able to tell Dora all about lt. Thank you for everything.

After leaving you I met my friends in Oberstdorf where we did a lot of mountain climbing. I enjoyed it so much that I hope to return next summer. Bamberg, with all the beautiful German sculptures, opened my heart. Würzburg disappointed me a little, but I probably had expected too much. You see how much I packed into these two weeks: Heidelberg, Freiburg, Meersburg, Bamberg and Würzburg, plus the wonderful days in the mountains.

When I got home, I immediately went to the library to look up the information on Robert Cann.

I am sending you two books, together with the "Tom Pages" of the poetess back. Her philosophy of life sounds bitter, but one must have respect for a human being who preaches understanding of your fellow beings first of all. I thought that the hours I spent reading these poems were a wonderful ending to my stay in Meersburg.

I want to thank you once more for everything that you and your wife did for us and remain,

Your faithful and devoted Monty Jacobs


Normannenstr. 11
January 26, 1921

Dear Friend,

I am writing to thank you for the letter that Erhard brought me, and I want to do it on the day after the "Reading of the Buddha" (The Final Death of Gautama Buddha). lt was a deepjoy for every admirer of Mauthner to hear the moving comments of the audience, young and old. "Success" is not a word that you value highly, but I do want to congratulate you: the effect of your poetic work was deeply felt. We owe a great deal to Erhard's preparations of the event, calming down all those nervous Berliners. His personality was well suited to the task, and I am sure that the reading will add to the number of your admirers.

lt was particularly pleasant to see your daughter again after such a long time, and I thought she looked very well. We are looking forward to a visit in the near future. Unfortunately, the news that Erhard brought from Meersburg was not good, but I was delighted to hear that your wife is better; however, it seems to me that your health was not as good as it was in the beautiful summer when we went swimming together. I hope that by now you are both well again.

Gerhard Hauptmann whom I met at a lecture the other day remembered with pleasure your stay in Portofino when he was there; he hopes to returnm to Portofino, in February. His fine, kind humanity touched me again deeply. (The rest is missing.)


February 8, 1921

Dear Friend,

I was very sorry to hear the bad news about your and your wife's health, and I am sad that all I can do is to send my best wishes.

Many people have written or told me how much they appreciated the reading of your work. Many laud the person who recited it, but many more expressed their admiration for the poet. Permit me to be happy about it, even though I contributed little and, even lf you say that it is too late. There will be a repeat performance on Sunday, and Grete and I are discussing ways of making the evening a success.

News from Berlin: constant pressure and too, much work, a curse I probably would not want to miss. The Schutzverband takes all my time; it is unpleasant work, but someone has to do it.

That Heinrich works for you so efficiently pleases me. And was his work well done? Unfortunately I did not see it, since Heini, in contrast to all other young people, will show me nothing. Fathers always embarrass, says Fontane.

Wishing you both a speedy recovery, I remain, your faithful Monty Jacobs


The Schutzverband was an organization to help writers when troubles with publishers arose. There is a good deal of correspondence about Mauthners worries about the publication of his writings. It was a most difficult time in Germany in every respect.


February 28, 1921

Dear Friend,

I am saddened to hear about your worries, but all I can do is to send you my best wishes for your trip to Zurich.

I checked Reissner's files at the Schutzverband and found that everything seems to be all right, but I urge you to show the contract to the Schutzverband before signing it. The address is Schoeneberger Ufer 25, Berlin W. (This was just around the corner from where we lived.) I know that you are well versed in the law, but the way things are now, trained help is essential. Hans Kyser, our Executive Secretary, will be only too pleased to share his experience with you. I will continue my duties at the Schutzverband until the General Meeting in May, and then plan to resign at that time. lt takes too much out of me, and I did all I could during a most difficult period. During a conversation with Gerhard Hauptmann I learned of his respect and affection for you which pleased me no end.

With warmest wishes from the whole Jacobs family for a speedy recovery of your beloved patient, I remain,

Your ever faithful Monty Jacobs


Easter Sunday

Dear Friend,

On Saturday I found your letter with the article which was as welcome to my colleagues as it was to me. I am enclosing a copy of the Easter Edition of the paper which we were able to adorn with vour contribution. We are all sorry to be unable to sign the article with your name, but we felt we had to respect your wishes. lf there are any further contributions, Tante Voss hopes to be seriously considered.

A cure in Baden Baden - that sounds more pleasant than earlier news. I hope that you are no longer worried about the health of your wife.

The situation in Upper Silesia does not look very good, but the Prussian government did not expect anything better. (A plebiscite to decide whether the region should belong to Germany or to Poland.) It is much better these days not to talk to politicians, if one wants to keep the least bit of optimism about the future. At least the workers seem to be more reasonable.

All the best, your faithful Monty Jacobs


July 11, 1921

Dear Friend,

Today life is more peaceful than when I wrote you last, as I am sitting quietly on my lovely porch. Since you have always shown a great deal of interest in my affairs, I want to tell you right away about my new position. Ullstein has offered me the position of editor of the Feuilleton of the Vossische Zeitung; I will start my newjob on August 18, remaining the theater critic also. Everybody congratulates me, and I make a sour-sweet face. Of course, it would be impossible to turn down a raise at this time and thus the decision was never in doubt. Minus: I must postpone work on my next book and sell my freedom. Plus: I will be able to exploit a gift I believe I possess - the talent of organization; besides the task is incredibly attractive.

I will have to be in the office all day and live with the criticism of my colleagues, although I asked for independence when I accepted the job: at this point I want to think of the attractions only.

Yesterday I signed the contract: four weeks of vacation that I started at once on the shore of the North Sea. You are the first person I would like to be my collaborator. Perhaps you will be pleased to hear that Georg Bernhard claims that it was his idea in the first place. He sent me your letter of April 8, asking him to start negotiations with me in this matter. (Georg Bernhard was the editor-in-chief of the Vossische Zeitung; a friend of my father and his daughter a classmate of my sister.)

Well, there is no need to tell you how happy your help would make me. I realize that you will not be able to contribute anything until the third volume is finished. But I can ask you already today how you envision a regular contribution to the Vossische Zeitung that you mentioned in the letter to Bernhard. Perhaps a fixed number of essays at your convenience - I hope that it will not be a burden to tell me a little about it at this time. I am very glad that your wife is better. Please give my best regards to Grete and tell her that her friend from Dresden spoke at the meeting in honor of Dante. Hoping that you will keep your good will to me in my new position,

I remain, as always, your devoted Monty Jacobs


November 19, 1921

Dear Friend,

Please accept my warmest wishes for your birthday. I hope that the time in Zurich is only the beginning of a very good year; for you a good year means a year full of satisfying work, but I hope it will also be a healthy year. The publication of a further volume, hopefully without interruptions, will bring you new readers and admirers. A new book persuades me of this,"Deutscher Maskenball" (German Masked Ball) by Dr. Alfred Döblin. He is the strongest new talent among today's writers, a very critical and doubting spirit, and he speaks with the greatest enthusiasm about "Atheism." A copy of it is ready for you, if you did not receive a copy from Döblin (He is the author of "Berlin Alexanderplatz." An excellent movie is based on this famous and widely read book.)

I am most curious about the success of your journey to Zurich: I mean improvement of your health, which will be helped by a few days away from your desk. lt coincides with your birthday and confirms the changes in the appreciation of Mauthner.

I am occupied from morning to night with work, but at New Year the new assistant will hopefully arrive who will take over some of my duties.

All the best, your falthful Monty Jacobs



Dear Friend,

Today's edition of "Blaues Heft ' (Blue Journal) has a very silly article which led to an essay written by Heini. There was an article, entitled "Philosophen Köpfe" (Philosophers' Portraits), with a derogatory essay about it. I first thought I would write a response, but then decided that a voice from the next generation would please you more, and so I asked Heini to write an essay "Für Fritz Mauthner." I just heard that the journal will print it in the next number, but in a shorter version. I will send it to you, as soon as the article is published.

Greetings from your devoted Monty Jacobs


April 3, 1922

Dear Friend,

I am very sorry that I have not written for such a long time, but I had a bad flu and felt quite miserable. In addition, I find life very difficult these davs. I regret that your troubles with the publisher are not yet over; I promise to consult with the Schutzverband as soon as possible.

But today I am most anxious to answer your question at once: yes, of course. I am prepared and willing to keep my promise to you. I would like nothing better than to be of help and, should fate make it impossible for you to finish your work, I will be ready to finish it as well as possible. Nobody can replace you, but I promise you: I will do my very best. The only difficulty is my very demanding Job, but there is Heini to assist me so you need not worry at all. Nobody who has watched the steady output of your writing could be surprised to learn that you finally had to slow down. I hope so very much that after a few weeks rest you will find yourself back at your desk and that you will regain your strength before long.

Certainly I will do everything to help you in any possible way. Perhaps you could outline some general editorial principles when you send me the proofs; I could then do it the way you would like to have it done and free you of some of your worries. I do have the time, since I have a very efficient colleague now. I even also have an assistant, and so my work load is much easier to handle.

Another suggestion: would you like Heinrich to come at Whitsun, staying with the Meersburg "Madame", and acting as your secretary for ten days? Or would you prefer a longer visit in August, at the beginning of the long vacation? He is planning to study in Munich in the next semester, and from there it is not a long trip to Lake Constance. I could think of nothing more rewarding for him than to share your work and enjoy Lake Constance.

And one more thing - you always excuse yourself when you tell me about your health. May I, as a good friend, ask you not to do so any more? I think of you often, wishing you all the best, and nothing seems to me more important than your well-being; but you should conserve your strength in any way possible.

With warmest wishes to you and your wife, your truly devoted Monty Jacobs


September 25, 1922

Hochverehrte Frau Mauthner,

I was deeply saddened by the terrible news about your husband. I do not want to take up any more of your all too valuable time, but you know how devoted I am to Fritz Mauthner. Could you send me just a short note about your husband's state of health, and what I may do to help? Your news worries me so much that I wish I were with you in Meersburg, but, alas, all of Germany lies between us.

Hoping for some good news, I am sincerely yours, Monty Jacobs


November 21, 1922

Dear Friend,

I have been so busy that I just had no time for any private life, but what could be more important than my friendship for you, and so I would like to wish you all the best for your birthday: a complete recovery! All your friends join me in wishing you better health. By chance I heard from my sister that Olga Kuttner is in Berlin. I have not been able to reach her, but hope to learn more about the state of your health tomorrow.

The overlong birthday celebration, in honor of Hauptmann, offered much that would make you smile. I sometimes thought that he had his sixtieth birthday just as an adver-tisement for the S. Fischer Verlag. But that we live in a country that honors a poet and young people who believe in him - that was wonderful to see both in Breslau and in Berlin.

I wish with all my heart that you will be able to continue your work. You know how much your friendship means to me and what a great pleasure it is.

Your faithful Monty Jacobs


December 26, 1922

Dear Friend,

There could have been no greaterjoy for me at Christmas than your card in the old famillar handwriting with the good news that you have recovered from your illness. I am most grateful to your wife and Grete for giving me good news. In the meantime I recelved the first twenty pages of the fourth volume and, as soon as Heini, who grabbed them first, returns them to me, I will have the great pleasure of studying them. I am excited about the chapter headings "Hebbel" and "Bismarck."

My warmest congratulations - what an achievement to finish this invaluable work in so little time under such difficult circumstances, and with no encouragement from your publisher. May I express my respect, as well as the respect of so many Mauthner admirers. It is so wonderful that you were able to go on with your task in spite of illness and worries, but it also needs a bit of luck, and so I send you my very warmest wishes for the New Year and hope you will accept them with pleasure.

I was glad to hear the good news about your contract with Felix Meiner. He is very well thought of and very well-known. I think you can have confidence in him. May I ask you whether you plan to send the contract to the Schutzverband before signing?

Unfortunately many members of my family were struck by the flu, and Dora had to celebrate Christmas Eve in bed, but fortunately she is already well again.

With my warmest wishes for you and your family, your faithful Monty Jacobs


April 20,1923

Dear Friend,

I heard with the greatest regret that you were not well, but I have confidence that the satisfied doctor knows better than the dissatisfied patient.

I am most grateful to you for your suggestion of sending us fragments of your "Memoirs," and it would give me the greatest pleasure to print your contribution in the Whitsun edition of the paper. I would, of course, let you know our choices beforehand, and we would mail you the proofs in time. Just send whatever you have ready, without undue strain to your eyes. We will take good care of it.

With warmest wishes for your health and my best regards, I remain your devoted,

Monty Jacobs


Fritz Mauthner died in Meersburg on June 25, 1923. I am glad that the Vossische Zeitung had a chance to print a few chapters of Mauthners "Memoirs."

LITERATUR - Letters to Fritz Mauthner, Translation by Eleanor Alexander, Winter 2001