My Travel Diary. 1936: Between Two Worlds by Paul Tillich
Paul Tillich is generally considered one of the century's outstanding and influential thinkers. After teaching theology and philosophy at various German universities, he came to the United States in 1933. For many years he was Professor of Philosophical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, then University Professor at Harvard University. His books include Systematic Theology; The Courage to Be; Dynamics of Faith; Love, Power and Justice; Morality and Beyond; and Theology of Culture. This book was edited by Jerald C. Brauer. Translation by Maria Pelikan. Published by Harper & Row, New York, Evanston, and London, 1970. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.
Chapter 2: May
A sunny, hazy morning filled with loud birdsong. Tea in bed, then breakfast.
To town, alone. I visit the castle I had seen beautifully illuminated the night before when it had been lighted without even the slightest hint of bad taste. A wonderful view in all directions. St. Giles Cathedral has a steeple shaped like the Scottish crown. Inside, the usual Puritan devastation. The intersecting vaults are made of beautiful dark gray stone.
Down to the National Gallery; it is small but has some excellent things, only everything is too crowded. I return through Princes Street which has a view of the castle and the mountains. After lunch I go to give my lecture.
A large audience has gathered in yesterday’s hall. The Dean’s introduction strongly emphasizes emigration. Afterward there is much applause and a "vote of thanks" from Baillie. The ovation makes me feel obliged to tone things down in my reply. I say how much my having been accepted into the English-American world has meant to me in terms of a revival of my will to work. Both yesterday and today there are many magnificent heads to be seen in the hall, reminding me of the best German conferences -- even surpassing those in some respect A great many come up to thank me.
In Patterson’s car to the palace of Mary Queen of Scots. We visit the rooms; her secret supper chamber, her bedroom, etc. All very moving. Then Professor Porteous, a former student of Karl Barth’s, leads us up the 850-foot mountain called Arthur’s Seat -- because it is shaped like a lion; King Arthur is said to have ridden a lion. I marvel at this group of completely untouched grassy hills right in the center of town; neither the town, nor the army, nor private interests has laid claim to this bit of unspoiled nature. We have a good view of the town, the mountains, and the ocean.
After changing our clothes, we go to the club where, once more, we enter the small hall. The director of the library tells me about the ancient clan feuds which to this day make it impossible for a member of one clan to allow a descendant of an enemy clan to do even a typing job, or repair a pair of shoes for him.
Lots of good wine at dinner. Afterward, an intense christological discussion with Mackintosh and a pedagogical discussion with the head of Scotland’s most distinguished public school -- what Eton is to England: not a public school in our sense, but a very expensive country boarding school. I walk home through a moonlit spring night.
Up early to take the boy, Ian to the Forth Bridge. It is a wonderful, hazy, sunny day. The birds are jubilant. We take the train across the bridge, which is sixty years old and still has a grandiose air, with its gigantic tubular piers. We walk back to the ferry, then cross over on the ferry, alongside the bridge. Back by train, through masses of flowering Scotch broom.
We go to the Edinburgh docks and ride through them by car, which delights the boy. Two glimpses of the open North Sea -- the native ocean of my heart. Over there, a little off to one side, to the southwest, lies Germany! Kampen!
At lunch, a gathering of professors of philosophy. I have an intense talk with Smith about the second phase of Schelling. Then I must pack and leave for Manchester. Always that same hazy, sunny weather, devoid of shrill colors. The sun is a red ball high in the sky. Melancholy mood.
At the Manchester station Adolf receives me "like a bride." For two intense hours we walk back and forth through the streets; then to my sleeping car.
Bad night in the sleeping car from Manchester to London. In London, as the train stands in the station, they wake me with a cup of tea. I leave the train at 7:30 and go to the hotel where I find Julia Mannheim, and later Karl. Both are enormously glad to see me; "overjoyed," as they put it.
Breakfast; at the table next to mine there are some Russians, men and women from the Embassy. I meet an architect from Darmstadt, a friend of the Mannheims, whose house we had once visited.
A room with a fire burning in the fireplace awaits me at the Red Court Hotel. We talk about Europe and America; report on the program outline. Very good talk. Julia looks a bit older and more tired; Karl is almost completely unchanged. We are on intimate "du" (thou) terms right away.
After twelve o’clock I am to visit Pollock who is sick in bed at the Russell Hotel. I have lunch with Mandelbaum whom the Institute has commissioned to prepare an analysis of the economic situation in Europe. He tells me how ill at ease he felt in Paris because of the hostility of the French toward foreigners.
Then, my visit with Pollock who had contracted fish poisoning in Paris. Leisurely walk around Russell Square. European feelings.
I lie down in my room, and the Mannheims come and we have a bedside discussion.
Tea, Russell Square Park with separate key. Mannheim tells me about his professional problems. We have a good dinner at the hotel.
I am off to see Frau v. Bock and her friend, Frl. v. Fleck, a very intelligent, pretty young secretary who works at the Embassy. She has done some work for the counterintelligence division and tells many grisly stories, including one about three noblewomen who worked as spies and who were told by a fortuneteller that one of them would be beheaded.
She hates the Nazis and refuses to have anything to do with Embassy officials. Complains about her loneliness.
I leave early: it is Sunday and there are no more subways after eleven o’clock.
Wine and conversation at Mannheim’s bed.
My hotel room is very pleasant.
After a leisurely breakfast I telephone Margy Wichert, then walk to Oldham’s office, to the post office, to make some telephone calls, etc.
At 12:45 Schairer calls for me at the hotel and we drive to Golders Green. He is very nice, explains his own idea of my religious-order idea to me.
Mrs. Schairer is in slacks and blouse, looks fresh, but has aged. They have a charming house with garden. After lunch we take coffee outside on the lawn. Schairer has completely broken with the Nazis, but he openly and wistfully longs to be in Germany. His wife is strongly anti-Nazi, paints a horrifying picture of Germany. The youth problem: fifteen million young people working for rearmament in Europe. Radicalization and disappointment of German youth. Institute for Youth Studies. The tragic self-destruction of the older generation -- taking one wrong step after another. Their talk with Schacht, who is completely subservient to Hitler. I talk with Mrs. Schairer about Elsa -- Elsa Branstrom; Gerda Schairer had written about Elsa in a book; and Elsa had been hurt by her remarks. She feels quite innocent, but the whole thing depresses her.
Sybille Dreyfuss arrives, now happy as Mrs. Moholy-Nagy. She has greatly changed: her hair is now natural, her face round and motherly, her figure full. She has two children. Gropius and Schoens are in London, too; and so is Dreyfuss who works in motion pictures. She is completely out of touch with him, but sees Teddy from time to time.
We walk to her house and have tea on the lawn. It is a very modern house, with many abstract paintings by Moholy. Everyone advises him to go to America.
The Schairers take me back to my hotel; then the Mannheims and I visit the London School of Economics; ancient, crooked, crumbling houses and one huge modern building. Wooden stairs; old, worm-eaten beams.
I meet Dr. Cahn-Freud, formerly a judge, who worked with Sinsheimer right after Sinsheimer’s release from prison. A good-looking man.
A phone call from Anita Lothar: she and her husband have moved to London.
A short visit to the Parthenon Frieze at the British Museum. Then to see Canon Barry in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. We walk through ancient, beautiful cloisters to his apartment. His wife, who once lived at Union Seminary, is very nice.
The Barrys’ guests include: the Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury (who looks like a papel nuncio); the headmaster of Westminster Public School; two very distinguished old theologians whose names escape me. The hall and surrounding sections of the Abbey are sixteenth century. Candles everywhere. The old men’s faces seem to have sprung from medieval paintings. Good wine.
I try to influence the Archbishop’s Secretary against a formal commitment with Kerrl and give him specific advice on inviting the German churches to the Oxford conference. After dinner I explain my ideas about the European situation and English politics. The headmaster is practically the only one who has somewhat optimistic views -- just as in Edinburgh. The faith of pedagogues! Late to bed.
Dr. Mannheim, a cousin of Karl’s, takes me to Oxford Circus where I meet Anita and Margy. Many vain attempts to buy a suit. At last: success -- it is dark gray with light gray stripes, costs £7.10s -- $37.00. I also buy a raincoat.
Lunch at Margy’s with Lothar but without Anita. Lothar is general- representative for the Frankfurter Zeitung in England -- a steppingstone toward better things. He is very hostile to the Nazi regime but loves Germany; in his opinion, only a war will rid Germany of the Nazis. He also believes that war is inevitable.
Back to my hotel to pack; Loewe arrives for a discussion with Pollock.
May 6 -- Cambridge
I arise to warm sunshine, surrounded by fantastic birdsong. Long walk through most of the colleges and their gardens. The most beautiful sight is the King’s College Chapel, built by Henry VIII; it has huge old glass windows and a most exquisitely fashioned Gothic ceiling. Behind the main colleges there is the river with bridges, meadows, rowboats. Photographs. It is very warm. A visit to Fitzwilliam Museum.
Back to my quarters where the Dean of Caius College (pronounced Keess College) calls for me. Lunch with self-service. We walk to one of the houses by way of the well-built new library. Then by car over green hills, from where we have a wide view, as in a Dutch landscape.
To my quarters; then, with my briefcase, to the riverbank. Coffee at Lyons. Students in fencing masks fence outdoors by the river. There are tennis courts nearby and boats on the water.
There is a comparatively small audience for my lecture, which is well received. Kantorowitz is present. I discuss the situation of the Church with Canon Raven and Principal Gibbon, both members of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Church of England. Someone reports on a decision against the Kerrl committees.
Dinner at the college, where sherry and cider are served in ancient silver mugs. Coffee is taken in a little separate garden full of flowering trees.
Dr. Sommel calls for me. Before we leave, Raven thanks me for my lecture. As the first foreign lecturer, I have helped him in his efforts to counteract the insularity of English theology.
Sommel is Lecturer in German at Cambridge. As we walk, he tells fascinating stories about his trip to Germany while the elections were going on. He estimates that 60% voted for Hitler. He believes that without the Rhineland, it would have been 40%. He maintains that the Rhinelanders themselves wanted the French to march in and would have killed the Nazis. All the older groups are still there, he says, they are not organized, but are waiting for "the event." At the universities: total despair.
Around nine o’clock I call for Kantorowitz at the Caius College "combination room, and we go to his apartment where we share a bottle of Moselle. We are in complete agreement on English politics and on what our task in England must be. Later his wife joins us. She is very nice and lively. We talk about Hilde-Dore and the Bachmann group’s attitude toward her; about his dealings with the New School, and about how happy he is at Cambridge. Both walk back with me, through meadows and fields, under a full moon.
I have had them wake me at seven o’clock. It is a foggy morning. I pack and return to London where Loewe meets me at the station. My busy morning includes the purchase of a hat and a suitcase with the help of Julia Mannheim. In the street I run into Professor I.P. Meyer from Berlin, whom I don’t recognize at first. He tells me about Poelchau, Rathmann, Haubach, etc. He himself has had his house searched repeatedly, now wants to start a secondhand bookstore in London. He tells me about Fuchs, whose daughter-in-law gave birth to his grandchild in prison while her husband had to flee Germany.
I pack before lunch and, after lunch, leave for Birmingham where I am received by Mr. Wood. He is a Quaker, the leader of the Woodbrokers and a member of Oldham’s philosophy of history section. We have tea in one of the houses, accompanied by a heated discussion of English politics and of power in general. The garden is beautiful and full of birds. We walk across some meadows and past the little rill called Woodbrook to the main house which is an excellent example of Baroque architecture. I am given the same room in which Rabindranath Tagore and Gandhi had slept.
Enter Heinrich Becker, Quaker, one-time official at the Kultusministerium under Grimme. Also: Baumgart, formerly Privatdozent in Berlin -- a friend of Christian Hermann -- with his wife; Dr. Rotholz, a friend of the photographer Stephi Brandl. He carries a large photograph of me with him, for advertising purposes. At the students’ tables, girls-from every country in the world -- are in the overwhelming majority.
After dinner I lecture on the idea and the future of Religious Socialism, which creates a strong impression. Short discussion period follows. The Germans say that my lecture gave them "feelings of home." A smaller discussion group contains Communist students. They explain, in the interest of dialectic materialism, that religion says "God is," and Communism says "God is not," which they say is not a dialectical relation but a contradiction.
After the discussion I go to visit Baumgart. We talk in German and drink orange juice. One feels closer to Germany here. There is a greater urgency toward change, and less resignation than in America.
I sleep well in Gandhi’s bed.
Heinrich Becker brings me breakfast. We continue our talk in the garden, beside the pond.
We drive to Wesley College, which is also the theological faculty of Birmingham University. I give a fifty-five minute lecture on "The Religious Interpretation of History." The students are alert and react strongly.
I hurry to the station -- accompanied by Mr. Taillor who belonged to the Frankfurt Seminar and is now Assistant here
-- to catch the train to Oxford. Arrive in Oxford too early, and take a car to the apartment of Dr. Crossmann who is a Fellow at New College. The apartment is located in a remodeled stable that was built six hundred years ago. The view from the window is one of the courtyard, a garden, and some chickens. Crossmann, who was in my course at Frankfurt, speaks perfect German.
Having unpacked, I take a short walk through the college, with its ancient stone wall, its beautiful garden, church, and cloister. And then, immediately, another walk with Cross-mann who is only twenty-eight, very cheerful and not at all shy. We climb up into the old tower of New College from where we have a panoramic view of the Middle Ages and, farther away, the suburbs with their residential and industrial sections.
Tea with Crossmann and Kloepper (a young lawyer, immigrant). After this I lecture to about fifty people at Manchester College. Among the listeners are Teddy and Burchard. After-ward we say hello to each other and arrange for a meeting later on.
I dress and go to dinner and Mansfield College. In the Principal’s apartment there are about fourteen professors. I present my views on the general situation. There follow discussions of theology and of the political situation; later the talk centers on the historical Jesus.
By car to Teddy’s apartment. Indescribably good wine. And human, heart-to-heart talk. Teddy wants to have Hannah’s poems as quickly as possible. His address is: Merton College -- the oldest, most unbelievably beautiful of the colleges.
Late to bed.
Crossmann takes a bath while I shave. Teddy calls for me and we walk through the main colleges. There is a wealth of beauty wherever you look -- the buildings, the gardens -- all are beautiful. The Cathedral has round columns and a window depicting Thomas à Becket. Beautiful Christ Church Quadrangle.
Lunch at Crossmann’s with Teddy. Then Mrs. Baker takes us in her car to the park of the Duke of Marlborough. The park is pure Gainsborough, a picture of incredible charm, come to life. The most fantastic trees, water with a stone bridge across it, the palace; everything is steeped in the most delicate haze.
Later, a long walk through a huge private estate; countless flowers, orchids, rabbits, birds; the entire atmosphere is green and hazy.
To tea at the Burchards’, where I find Mr. and Mrs. Olden, Teddy, and Hermann Usener. At first Olden and I talk about his and Heiden’s Hitler books. That same evening he sends me his book. He wants to do the paper on the Republic; I describe my plan for getting all participants to work together. There follows a difficult discussion of the Frankfurter Zeitung. Teddy is very abstract and doctrinaire. All the rest are in favor of the paper and consider it a means of strengthening the critical spirit inside the country.
To New College. I change and proceed to the high-table. where I share a bottle of Rhine wine with Crossmann. Next to me is Foster, a Fellow at Christ Church, who once studied under Kroner and me in Dresden.
We carry our table napkins to the round table where port and coffee are served. According to ancient tradition, the wines are handed around three times before coffee is served. Past the fireplace on a special walk. Then up to Crossmann’s room under the eaves. Discussion about the variability of categories. At 10:30 Hermann drops in and joins in our discussion. At 11:00 we all go to Teddy’s music friends, where he plays in a quintet. They play Beethoven. The host’s wife is American, very charming; she is the daughter of old Taussig, whom I had met at Harvard, through Ulich. My first experience of American patriotism. Nocturnal walk with Crossmann through the dream garden of New College.
At breakfast I have a talk about Christianity and politics with Dr. Mand who has come especially to see me. Then I call for Hermann at Burchard’s, and we walk through the gardens of Magdalen College. Unimaginably beautiful. We talk at length about his attitude which is factually quite unequivocal but tactically very difficult; about the possibility of his emigrating; about his breakdown after the move to Munich; about currents in art-historical research, etc. At first he is terribly excited, later on very sweet.
We have lunch at Burchard’s, where we also meet Teddy. After lunch I have a long talk with Burchard.
Teddy and Hermann take me to the train after I have said good-by to Crossmann and New College.
I arrive in London, at Paddington Station, exactly as I did on my first day on English soil. By car to the Mannheims’, where I get into a big and very important discussion with them and Loewe, which continues until 2:00 A.M.
To the Red Court Hotel where I meet Mrs. Mellinger who has news about the Spiegelbergs. She herself wants to marry Metmann. She is Jewish and they both had to leave. She is a very fine person, a member of Jung’s Eranos circle in Zurich. She tells me that Metmann was run over by a car, and lost both legs. Also, that Wagner was dismissed after his house had been searched. An SS man had denounced him, as a result of a rather tame show of his paintings in Berlin.
Rade is in Berlin and lives on a small pension. Elis lives in Berlin and wants to marry the silversmith, Rosenberg. Friedrich has matured a great deal, which also shows in his seminar. Roesli is a little devil; she keeps Friedrich from spending more time with his children who have been farmed out to both sets of grandparents.
Lunch at the Earl of Listowel’s -- I am alone with the Earl and his wife. I report on my travels and impressions and on the political situation. I reject the two-worlds theory in religion. The Earl’s wife asks about the situation of the Catholic Church and declares herself glad that, as a Catholic, she is exempt from such philosophical problems.
I meet Ursula Niebuhr at the French Line office and take her to the train for Oxford. Before boarding it, she says: "Now we’ll do it the European way," and lets me kiss her cheek, which I find extremely sweet of her.
Left alone, I stroll through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. On the park benches there are many cocottes. I admire the wonderful tulip beds and pass many deck chairs for hire.
I change my clothes for the Schairers’ party. At the party I meet: Hans Simon, the Lothars, the Moholy-Nagys, Hergesell, two families I do not know, among them a nice Swiss woman, and the two girls from the German Embassy. I dance conscientiously with everyone, later take some people home. Then, when everyone has left, I attack Schairer in a way that completely overwhelms him: I demand a clear-cut affirmation of the immigrant situation. We must begin to feel at home in the New World without regard for what is going on back in Germany -- and he agrees.
I have to sleep over at the Schairers’ because the last train has long since gone. Just as the birds begin their morning concert, I fall asleep.
I wake up with a slight hangover due to one glass of whiskey. Mannheim and I call on Demuth and talk about the immigrant situation. About seven hundred have still not been placed.
Back to the Mannheims’ for a change of clothes and lunch. After lunch I take a nap with a hot water bottle against my lumbago. Then I pack on a grand scale, make some last telephone calls, have supper. And then I am off to Liverpool Street Station.
The train to Harwich goes through the East End of London. There is an evening mood over the landscape. I have become fond of England. But when Adolf and Karl asked me whether I would change places with them, my answer was more No than Yes. This impressed them deeply, as far as America is concerned.
We approach Harwich where the night boat to Holland awaits us. First passport inspection as we go on board. I have a pleasant cabin to myself. Briefly, I look out at the harbor, at the sea. Soon afterward I fall asleep.
The steward wakes me at 5:15 with the famous English cup of tea. I am suffering from intense lumbago. The ship has arrived at Hoek and there is a second passport inspection; then we have to go through customs. Our train, with its German cars, passes the mythical "Rheingold" train, which turns out to be no better than an English train of third-class carriages. Everyone speaks German.
The train traverses a truly Dutch landscape, even flatter and richer in water and cattle than the English countryside. The first tulip beds, the first windmill, come into sight.
In Amersfoort, Leni Mennicke awaits me at the station. Karolus is away on a trip, but will be back tomorrow. After a short drive through pine woods, we arrive at the school. There are a main house, a lodge, the Mennickes’ house. I have a room at the lodge, since Mennicke’s house is too crowded -- with two children, an assistant and a maid.
We walk through green shimmering birch woods and sunny meadows. There are soldiers stationed nearby. Behind a wire fence, under some pine trees, Karola plays with a huge dog. Ruth has become a pretty girl of fourteen. Fienchen, the Dutch maid, or rather, governess, eats with the family and speaks lovely Dutch. The assistant, Heinz, is planning to become a teacher. After lunch I sleep a little, then we take a wonderful bicycle ride across the heath and into town. We inspect an ancient tower and the moat, then stop for Bols at a real inn. The bicycle ride seems to have massaged away my lumbago. After dinner I start sorting my letters. A huge mountain of mail has accumulated. At 8:30 we have tea -- a Dutch tradition. Early to bed, after a starlit stroll under the trees.
This morning I feel tired, although I had plenty of sleep. In England I overexerted myself, and this is beginning to tell on me now.
I take a beautiful walk among some good-sized estates, then sleep for an hour before lunch. After lunch I ride a bicycle through several villages.
Karolus and von de Waters arrive. They have traveled by car through Belgium and the Ardennes.
We have tea under the pines, but a thunderstorm drives us inside. On my first morning here I had a letter from Hannah, acknowledging her receipt of my day-to-day reports. After the rainstorm the birches give off the same fragrance as those birches in the Vogelstrasse did: bitter and young.
Karolus plays with Karola while I write some letters. The airplanes overhead, the soldiers nearby, the low-slung pines -- it all reminds me of those army camps in the Champagne during the war.
After dinner we stroll along the birch path. Teatime is at 8:30. I get into the first important conversation with Karolus -- over a bottle of wine. Our basic political attitudes are more compatible than they used to be. His position here seems secure; he will get a kind of foundation professorship in Amsterdam, but will continue to live in Amersfoort. He admits that social pedagogy is necessary -- not in Holland, but in America; which is exactly what Mannheim and Loewe have said.
Summertime begins in Holland and we lose another hour. I sit in a deck chair in the boiling sun, preparing my lecture.
A young writer comes and brings Karolus a book: Ave Caesar. He stays for lunch, and afterward he and I have a long talk about the psychology of Holland’s young people. His views are similar to Schairer’s: disintegration, visions of war and death. As an example, he describes a recent art exhibit which showed a marked emphasis on death. He is very much impressed by the program idea.
Karolus and I drive to Amsterdam through flowering meadows and between many canals. We call on Dr. Ide, who lives at Brueghelstrass No. 10. The house is quite modern and has good lines. The Ides occupy the ground floor and the first floor. The Landauers, from Frankfurt, live above them and have their own separate entrance.
We take liqueur with Bols in the little garden. Dr. Ide has a strong, wide, physician’s face. His wife is small and lively and wears glasses. Dinner guests arrive who have been invited to hear my lecture. I see many good faces. My lecture is to be a kind of chat about Europe and America. I present my impressions of the various towns and landscapes; I talk about art, economy, education, and the churches, relating it all to the contrast between the tragic and the ethical situation. Questions and a discussion follow. My talk seems to have aroused quite a lot of interest. The Sinzheimers are present, too. Later, after the party has dwindled down to a small group, the talk continues for a long time. Karolus has to go back to Amersfoort, but I am staying at the Ides’ in a beautiful large room. There is a lot of good wine.
Mrs. Ide drives me into town where I buy a necktie to go with my new English suit. Before that, I have coffee with Dr. Ide at eleven o’clock, between breakfast and lunch-another Dutch custom.
We look into some antique shops with paintings, then visit the university. Everything is incredibly beautiful.
After lunch Mrs. Ide leaves for Amersfoort and I go to the Sinzheimers’ house to prepare for my evening lecture. Suddenly, my English teacher from Frankfurt -- Miss Menschke -- turns up. At first I don’t recognize her and don’t even remember her name. Then we make an appointment to go to the seashore together this coming Sunday.
At four o’clock E. visits me. She is very happy with her friend, though she cannot marry him; and she is successful in her profession. Her friend is a small, sturdy "100% Aryan," a designer of stage settings and advertisements.
At 6:30, dinner at the Landauers’. They are a charming family, with sweet, happy children. He has a flourishing practice and is highly respected here.
There is a small group in the lecture hall. I speak on "Anthropology and the Philosophy of Religion." As I enter the hall. I meet Geza Berger and Miss Nussbaum (from the philosophy seminary in Frankfurt). An interesting debate about ways of interpreting theological symbols follows my lecture. In the back of the hall I have noticed a lady whom I recognize later, after my lecture: she is Ina Rudolph, now married to an art historian named Trivas. She seems quite "settled." Geza, on the other hand, looks dried up and aged. We all meet again at the Landauers’. Miss Rudolph tells me about her experience with Fritz Opel. We agree to meet once more next week.
The Ides and I sit up later over a bottle of wine. I am overcome with psychoanalytical feelings.
Today is Hannah’s birthday, and a magnificent morning. I meet Miss Menschke at the railroad station and we take the train to Zaandfoot. Next to the railroad tracks, countless bicyclists are on the road, making an almost medieval picture. We pass the Dome of Haarlem. The beach is vast and dotted with wicker beach chairs. We lie in the hot sun amidst the Amsterdam Sunday crowds.
Miss Menschke, lively and nice, had quietly sneaked out of Germany. Her friend is Jewish, etc. She is completely out of touch with Menzels. We watch the bathers in the sun and in the water. At noon, after Miss Menschke has left, I take a beach chair and write a letter to Hannah who must be just getting up at this time.
There is music and girls are dancing as in a van Steen painting. Sailboats; and, in the distance, an ocean liner, perhaps bound for America.
Back to Amsterdam to the Dutch psychoanalyst v. d. Hoop and his beautiful wife, an Austrian Baroness. We dine together at the Lido Restaurant, surrounded by water and trees. The food is very good. True to Dutch custom, they congratulate me on Hannah’s birthday. v. d. Hoop has shifted from Jung to Freud. His wife knows everyone in Frankfurt society. She has spent much time in Frankfurt and liked it there. Now, she says, it has become a wasteland. They invite me to their house.
At nine o’clock to the Sinzheimers’, who are preparing for their daughter’s wedding. Both seem somewhat depressed by their expatriation. He has plenty of opportunity to work, but not many students. She has not quite settled in yet, misses many things, but is very sweet; she remembers our costume party with great enthusiasm, says it was the best party of her life. We drink to Hannah’s health. I talk with Sinzheimer about the "program" and the "History of the Republic." His own plan is quite similar to ours, but he has a publisher. All that’s missing is money for the employees’ wages. I will try to effect a merger of the two plans.
I get up late, write some letters, pack, visit the Rijksmuseum. The Night Watch," "The Steelmeesters," "The Jewish Bride." To look at anything more will simply be too much. Even Vermeer is crushed by Rembrandt’s overpowering greatness. There is always just one really great man who makes us aware of man’s true potential.
Back to Amersfoort without lunch. Fields of flowering Scotch broom glow in the sun. Chestnut trees; lilac bushes. I prepare my lecture for Utrecht.
Karolus and I ride to the railroad station on bicycles, then continue to Utrecht by train. The train follows the bank of the Single amid blossoming trees. We have dinner at Professor Franken’s. My lecture, which I give at the Geographic Institute, is on "Existential Philosophy and Pragmatism." Dr. Kraft from Frankfurt is among the listeners. Afterward there is a good discussion with good people. The main problem: Logos and Existence. Karolus and I stop for beer with Franken and Kraft before returning to Amersfoort. We ride our bicycles home through the night.
I wake up with a hangover headache. During a short walk with Leni I see a great many soldiers. Later I work sitting in the sun under rustling pines.
Karolus and Leni take me to Amsterdam from where I continue on to Leyden, alone. The train passes late-blooming tulip fields, incredibly brilliant in color. Two students wait for me at the station and take me sightseeing through the cathedral and the town. The cathedral is large and cold, devastated by Protestantism. At the moment, the plaster is being removed from the wonderful brickwork it had covered. Proletarian streets along some of the canals. Photographs. Old Peoples’ homes. Old Father Rhine.
There is vermouth before dinner with the students who are very nice. Then I speak at the old university about the "Un-tragic Consciousness in America, and the Tragic Consciousness in Europe." A heated discussion follows. The New Testament scholar, de Swan, attacks me for being non-Dutch. But scarcely anyone comes up with a factual objection. The students do not take part in the debate. Afterward they say that it was an interesting evening because of the clash of ideas.
Back to Amsterdam, where Karolus and Leni call for me and take me back to Amersfoort.
Friday; it is sunny and windy. I go for a stroll with Mrs. Ide, Karolus’ sponsor, who is very fond of him. He still is overworked, but she tells me that he will get an "endowed chair" at the University of Amsterdam in the fall. She has worked very hard to raise the funds for it. Karolus is still quite depressed and somewhat irritable. After lunch I go to town with Ruth and buy her a bathing suit which looks very nice on her. She is delighted. Afterward, a long bicycle ride with Leni. Among other places, we visit an old park which belongs to a palace. I am becoming more and more enchanted by the Dutch landscape. The Dutch themselves seem a thickheaded lot who have not yet quite found out what is going on in the world. After dinner I call for Lilly Pincus in Amersfoort. She has not changed much, but is exhausted by the last few weeks.
In the evening, at Karolus’, we have our first serious discussion in Mrs. Ide’s presence. I explain my ideas and plans. Karolus is quite negative, partly for personal reasons, partly because of his situation in Holland. I struggle desperately but in vain. Lilly’s criticism seems to have a Communist viewpoint (later I find out that this is indeed the case). I go to bed very depressed.
At eight o’clock everyone is awakened by Mr. Ide who has come from Amsterdam in his car. It is Ascension Day. Mr. and Mrs. Ide, Lilly and I travel by car across Holland. We visit a palace which dates back to about 1550 and is now owned by an advertising man whom the Ides know.
Breakfast at the hotel, overlooking the Rhine and a vast landscape. An old palace on the water looks very picturesque. We stop for lunch atop a mountain from where we can see all the way to Germany. I see it without any feeling of home- sickness. Dead, destroyed; barbed wire and Gestapo.
We continue through the lovely countryside to the house of a Socialist, a former high official in the Dutch East Indies, which are here simply called "India." After a walk through a landscape that reminds me of the Mark Brandenburg, we drive to the Zuider Sea. Through the old maritime city of Kampen with its many turrets, to the harbor. There is a violent northwester blowing, which produces flat, white-crested waves. The dam locks in the sea completely. We drive between endless meadows on top of a series of dams. On the way back to Amersfoort we stop for dinner at a restaurant. I bring back two smoked eels for Karolus who is delighted with them. Early to bed.
During a long walk, Lilly and I have our first talk; about Hirzel, Klaere, the Kuessel, Lilly’s work. Hirzel has been dismissed; his magazine was not considered acceptable. He is quite primitive in political matters but has established himself in the Kuessel through his personal warmth and -- occasional -- personal courage. Schneider has turned up again, too. The whole thing is a purely personal matter. In actual practice, Lilly and Fritz are treated as possible enemies, which means that nobody tells them anything. Fritz is clearsighted and determined; if he should be forced to leave, they will both go to Russia. They study Russian for hours every day. The trip to Palestine is for business only; they have not the slightest intention to emigrate. Lilly helps many people and is very active as an agitator. The other day M. answered a matrimonial ad and gave her age as less than it actually is. Whereupon she was promptly denounced and G. had to go to the police. It turned out that she had done this only because of the matrimonial ad. But G. was thoroughly frightened. The situation in Palestine is very bad. Claire had to stay in the hotel during their entire time in Jerusalem. They could visit the Dead Sea only under police escort.
I work my way through a mountain of official mail. Leave for Bentorf between Haarlem and Zaandfoort, to visit the Woodbrookers. De Voss calls for me and takes me straight to the dinner table. He had heard me speak in 1930.
A quiet hour in Banning’s house. Karolus arrives with Mrs. Ide. I lecture on "Protestantism in the Present World Situation," after which there is a none-too-successful debate about Barth. I have a feeling that I can no longer give good lectures in German.
By car to Amsterdam. Karolus dances with Mrs. Ide. I merely look on, since I don’t feel in the mood. Both of us spend the night at the Ides’, after drinking some white Bordeaux.
Up late, I take the traditional eleven o’clock coffee with Mrs. Ide and Karolus at the Hotel Americain where I stayed in 1930.
From 12:30 to 1:30 -- A, and I talk about W.; she warns me about W.’s gossiping, and also about her social contact with young Nazis.
For lunch to the Reveszes’. He is pessimistic about Gelb (a few days ago I had a very nice and hopeful letter from Nelly). Revesz feels very much a stranger in Holland. He criticizes Karolus for his tendency to turn into a Dutchman too quickly. He himself seems to be rather unpopular here. His wife, who writes books on art history, impresses me as an interesting and attractive person.
I see Miss Menschke briefly. She wants to go to South Africa or America.
I change into a dinner jacket at the Ides’. With Mrs. Ide to a performance at the Wagner-Verein: they are playing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with music by Mendelssohn, under the direction of Willem Mengelberg. Wonderful performance: the social event of Amsterdam. The Crown Princess arrives precisely on time and everyone rises to great her. Mengelberg gives her an ovation; we sing the national anthem. During the long intermission there is a gala reception in the foyer. Mrs. Ide knows everyone; the Chief Mayor of Amsterdam, the Socialist Mayor; the Minister of Culture; the Commanding General, the ballerina Georgi. Many old gentlemen with medals and long beards -- as in the days of old. The whole thing is a little like a puppet show depicting a period in the past. The Princess (future Queen) is twenty- eight years old and unmarried. She is fat and blonde, but seems likable.
Afterward Mrs. Ide and I visit two restaurants: one bourgeois and one Bohemian place. Mixture of intellectuals, prostitutes, couples, and solid citizens looking on. Very European. Late to bed.
A rainy morning. Round trip through the canals with Mrs. Ide. The patrician Herrengracht; through locks into the harbor where many big ocean liners lie at anchor. We try to get back through the locks, but can’t: all the locks are closed. So we climb out across a freight barge, right into the Jewish market, which is in full swing on this Sunday morning. Fascinating types. Rembrandt’s house; the old synagogues.
Lunch at the Ides’, a nap, packing. By car to Amersfoort with Mrs. Ide and son. Wonderful drive along the canals and old villas. The landscape is incomparably beautiful. All the meadows are in bloom, and so are the chestnut trees, lilac bushes, and laburnum. Immense horizon; countless cattle. We stop at the most beautiful old seaside palace, now owned by an art dealer who has put all kinds of good things on display inside. We meet Revesz and his wife, with two professors. In the palace yard, coffee and cake -- as in Treptow.
Arrival in Amersfoort. The Ides leave and Karolus, Lilly, and I visit the fabulously situated Berghotel to make inquiries on behalf of Hannah’s parents who have announced that they are coming.
Back through Scotch broom and young birches. A long talk with Karolus at last shows some fruitful results. His hostile rigidity is beginning to dissolve.
Late to bed.
A wonderful morning. I write some letters, outdoors, until noon. Then I walk with Leni who always gives an impression of being overburdened.
Off to the Hague where the chairman of the Philosophical Society calls for me. I am to stay at the house of Pastor Fetter, who is trying to combine psychoanalysis with the ministry.
I lecture at the Society, to twenty-five first-rate men from various academic and artistic professions. Tremendous success, brilliant debate. Some blame the basic disagreement I encountered in Leyden on the state of liberal theology there. I am asked about the possibility of this kind of realism, seen from the theological viewpoint.
Seated at the director’s table, I meet a painter who was once a member of the Church in Dresden (Fritz Bienert) and knew us all. After the debate we spend a little time in a restaurant, over wine and mayonnaise (very European). Then Fetter and I go home to his apartment.
Breakfast with Fetter and his very nice, incredibly well-read wife -- I feel like a barbarian because I never read.
With my suitcase to the railroad station. I meet Mrs. Duthil, formerly Mrs. van Hall, from Rotterdam (she was in Frankfurt once; in 1930, she drove me to the Zuider Sea).
The Mauritz Huis is not as overwhelming as I remembered it. Vermeer’s View of Delft, and Rembrandt’s Saul and David. Mrs. Duthil (bank directress) asks many expert questions. I take her to her stepdaughter’s, then go to buy my ticket for Paris.
A visit to the Prisoners-Poort, a trip to Haarlem (where I find the Hals Museum closed), the cathedral, the meat market, and through little streets. Back in Amsterdam, I have coffee in a restaurant on the bank of the canal, while writing this.
Dinner at the Ides’ with Karolus. Very cheerful. Karolus leaves with Mrs. Ide. I have a visit from Mrs. Trivas. She tells me that since her release from political imprisonment she has tried to become an actress; happened to meet Fritz v. Opel; had some success on the stage, went on tour with Moissi; tried to get an engagement somewhere in the provinces; someone denounced her in connection with her past; result: no provincial engagement. Fight with Opel, difficult life in Berlin where she worked as a typist without knowing how to type. Six years ago she met the Russian emigree, Trivas; married him last year. They are now living in Amsterdam. He is quite good-looking, with beautiful eyes. She says she was ashamed to come back.
An hour later Mrs. Ide knocks on the door, calling out that it is time to start our evening on the town as planned. We dispose of Mrs. Trivas. But fate catches up with me at the very first place we enter -- in the form of a Mr. and Mrs. V. who had heard my lecture. She is very pretty, acquainted with Ide who successfully tries to dispel her Nazi ideas. We go into a bar, the two men sit down at a bar table, and I try to continue working on the lady. Her Nazi sympathy is based on vague feelings of belonging and community. We go to the V’s for a short visit, and sit around their lovely fire; then, home.
I get up late and pack, then off to Amersfoort to call for Hannah’s parents. As I write this, I am sitting under an elm at the station, waiting for the train.
Hannah’s parents have arrived; old, sweet, pale. The trip was a very exciting experience for them. Now they stand on the platform, twelve guilders in their pockets, and are visibly relieved because I am here. I take them into the car and up the "mountain" where the Berghotel stands on one of the most beautiful spots in Holland, with a panoramic view over plains and forests. They are given a good room, and we have lunch together. They are glad to be out; they feel psychologically under pressure, spiritually cut off. Father grumbles so audibly that I have to stop him for fear of possible spies. Both are delighted about Rent. I show them the photos that arrived yesterday. At the sight of Erdmuthe’s picture, Mother Werner thinks at first that it is a picture of Hannah as a little girl. They want to stay till after Pentecost. We drink a bottle of wine to Hannah’s health. After lunch I go back to the camp, sleep, take a walk, dine with Karolus and the whole family plus Lilly and the assistant; then Leni and I go on bicycles to visit the Werners, find them in a back room, drinking tea. We take a wonderful walk through birches, spruce, and broom, with nightingales singing all around us; Leni walks with Mother, I with Father. He tells me how well all the children are doing. Only Roland has been dismissed and wants to join the army; we hope he will get in. Back home. Talk with Karolus, close, human. Then to bed and boundless sleep.
Cool and windy: a brisk walk with Lilly who had gone to Amsterdam alone. She tells me very interesting details about the Russian lessons she and Fritz are taking together, secretly, from an enthusiastic Russian who is officially allowed to teach Hebrew only. She is also learning something about the dynamics of life in Russia today from him. They want to go there next year, but this, again, can only be done with a special passport which they have to get in Prague.
In my room, the peonies spread their fragrance and remind me of the feast of Pentecost which has fallen into oblivion in America (peonies are called "Pentecost Roses" in German).
I begin to worry about my series of lectures: four days in a row, morning and afternoon. (I will write again on the morning of the last day of the course). Work and walks. In the afternoon at five, a drive to Hilversum with Hannah’s parents and Lilly. Past villas and parks to the Hilversum Town Hall, perhaps the most beautiful modern building I know. Yellow brick with blue and white lines in between, very wide and varied in shape, surrounded by water and flowers. Inside, all modern furnishings. Unfortunately, we get thrown out quite soon: there are no more guided tours today.
A warming glass of brandy at the hotel. Back to the Amersfoort station to wait for M. L. General disappointment when she does not show up. I take Hannah’s parents back to the hotel. Work; early to bed.
I walk, work, and cash travelers cheques. After lunch, on foot to Mrs. de Jongheer, the mother of Cola Heiden who is married to Margaret Stern’s brother. Nice elderly Dutch woman who asks me a lot of searching questions about her children. She shows me her garden and the homemade poo1, and is sad because her famous dog does not act as lively as he should.
A visit to the Werners’, then work in the garden with a wonderful view. Dinner with Hannah’s parents and Lilly. She is very good with Father, which leaves me free to talk to Mother. While Lilly takes the Werners down to the camp, I ride to the station and pick up M. L. who has arrived at last. She looks marvelous and is in a most effervescent mood.
At night there is a festive gathering at the Mennickes’ in the Werners’ honor. Karolus is charming, M. L. full of sparkle and talk, the Werners are happy, Leni is a delightful hostess. M. L. tells us, and proves by her own example, how well informed people are in Germany. She describes a kind of arithmetic book in which the schoolchildren get this type of problem: "One bomb kills twenty people; how many people can twenty bombs kill?" She says it is no longer possible to take an ironically superior attitude; one must reject the whole thing matter-of-factly, though carefully. Everyone is quite aware of the election swindle. She speaks very positively about Elisabeth and Erhardt.
Hannah’s parents return to the hotel. The rest of us sit up until late into the night.
Final preparations for my lectures. M. L. is visiting her parents, brings them down to us at 3:30.
The course opens; there are approximately thirty people, students, elderly ladies, schoolteachers, also: Geza Berger, Miss Menschke, Miss Nussbaum from the philosophical seminar, and a nice family of Communist emigrants; Mr. v. Mandele, in whose house in Rotterdam I spoke in 1930; Mrs. Ide, M. L. Karolus gives the opening address in which he welcomes Hannah’s parents. I speak before and after dinner on "The Crisis of the Liberal State in All Countries of the World." The discussion is to the point, but still feeble. Later, wine at Karolus’, then work in bed till two.
Up at six and work until eight-thirty. Mrs. Ide brings me breakfast so I can have a little more time. At ten o’clock I lecture on The Idea, Types and Movements of the Spirit." Evidently, my lecture makes a strong impression. In the afternoon, from three to five: discussion.
M. L. goes to visit her parents. We spend an informal evening, and Tolstoi’s story about The Three Hermits and the Bishop is read aloud. I talk with the architect, Mrs. Falkenberg, about Russian architecture.
In between I continue to prepare for my next lecture. Very strenuous; thoughts keep going through my head all night.
A glass of beer with Karolus, then to bed, where I continue my preparation.