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 4: July
I repack everything in order to take only two suitcases to Italy. Departure for Zurich -- St. Moritz. In Zurich-Thalwit, Frede and Trudchen board the train. Marvelous ride via Chur to St. Moritz. On the train, Mr. and Mrs. Berlepsch, of the Leipzig seminar, who are now living in Zurich; also two schoolteachers from Gaben who had brought me greetings from a group in Gaben after my lecture in Zurich.
We get off the train in pouring rain. Hotel Zur Post in St. Moritz. Frede and Trudchen take a magnificent room with a view of the lake. Dinner for five Swiss francs. Walk in the rain through the village. Early to bed.
It is pouring. Short walk up the mountain between two showers. At eleven o’clock I take the bus to Sils Maria and go straight to the Salises’. Mrs. Salis recognizes me when I mention Loewe. We order lunch and walk over to the Fextal gorge: water from below, from above, from everywhere.
Lunch at the Salises’ is as delicious as it was the last time; we eat on a newly added porch with a view of the Maloia. Suddenly at four o’clock, blue sky from Maloia. Grandiose battle scenes in the sky, clouds and sun in combat. The Margna emerges. Snakes of mist on the slopes of the Lagrev. Prolonged battle for the Lunghin. Radiant blue sky over Italy. Mrs. Salis brings out all the old pictures of Erdmuthe. As we start to leave, we meet a family from Berlin named Seligsohn, in the foyer. They know me from the Netters’, and I learn from them that Mrs. Netter died a few months ago.
Then, up on the Chasté which is magnificent "as on the primal day." Full view of the Fextal. I visit every single spot. Back via Sils Baseglia. Dinner at the Salises’. Back to St. Moritz by bus. Moonlight on the lake.
We take a trip through Gamaden into the Lower Engadine. View of the Palue and Bernina. By bus through the Ofental. Short rest below the Ofenpass. Down into the Vintschgau. Italian border inspection. We wait in little villages, in full view of the Ortler Group. By bus to St. Valentino alla Muta. Wide, fertile valley with lakes and incredible view of the Ortler, Koenigspitze, etc. Tall, wooded mountains rise to the right and left; the slopes of the Oetztal Alps to the east, smaller ranges to the west. To the north lies the Reschen-Scheidegg which leads into the Lower Engadine and Austria.
There are Italian soldiers everywhere.
Elisabeth and Erhardt, and somewhat later, M. L., arrive at the hotel. They have an apartment with view of the Ortler -- a whole floor to themselves, with a separate room for each, and a common living room. We eat in a simple restaurant with good Tyrolean wine and uninteresting food. Elisabeth is tanned and very happy, Erhardt still a bit tired. M. L. on top of the world, as usual. Everything is in excellent shape.
I have talked with Frede and Trude day after day. Trudchen is desultory and a convinced National Socialist; Frede more critical but full of hatred against foreigners and refugees, especially Jews. Conversation is very difficult because of the way Trudchen jumps from one subject to another. I can talk about a number of issues with Frede, but not with Trudchen. Elisabeth is infinitely more objective and easier to get along with. Erhardt is very quiet. All behave in a somewhat pedagogical way toward me. M. L. is silent.
Marvelous red sky over the Ortler Group. Tired -- early to bed.
Breakfast in bed, to the accompaniment of the great, roaring waterfall. Long walk through wonderful forest with Elisabeth. She is sweet and serious and objective. It feels like the old days.
Lunch under a sun umbrella. Erhardt and I climb a mountain on the other side of the woods; it is a very difficult climb; there are Alpine roses. Elisabeth and M. L. stay behind. Frede and Trudchen have not come along. My first test and training, still without climbing boots.
Dinner with cake and white Chianti. Moon over the mountains.
I am working in the woods; on my diary, on some letters. The air is balmy and there is an infinity of flowers; the meadows have not been mowed yet. I have a touch of lumbago and am stretched out in a chaise lounge facing the Ortler Group. Later I walk around the lake which reminds me of the Silvaplana Lake. Cornfields full of corn flowers. After dinner, at home, there is a general discussion about anthropology.
We get up at 5:30 A.M. All except Trudchen walk up the Zwoelfer Kogel (9,000 feet). Frede slowly walks ahead through woods to the pasture and hut. It is very hot. We have some milk in the hut, then begin the first climb in the sun. M. L. wants to turn back, then changes her mind and stays with us. We climb up through snow fields; I am the one who puts down the trail. M. L. and Elisabeth have moments of terror. We three men continue up to the ridge, a very steep climb. Then I go back for the women, supporting them in word and deed. Erhardt and I climb to the top, along a steep ridge. At the summit, infinite beauty.
A thunderclap. Down in a hurry. The three others have already started down toward the Ray Valley on the other side. Rain. We traverse some snow fields and find shelter in a low hut. Then for several hours we walk through a long valley in the burning sun. From there, mortally exhausted, by car to the Traube in Valentino. Drink -- drink and food. This has been a real Alpine tour. Totally depleted, to bed.
I get up tired. There is a moist wind from the south. Work. A violent discussion with Trudchen on National Socialism. My bones ache with fatigue. After lunch I take a long rest, later I study the Ortler Group. I receive a letter from Hannah.
Am writing and dictating some letters, then I take a beautiful walk in the rain. After dinner I report on my discussions in England, etc.
It rains during the night. I dictate letters to M. L. all morning, sitting on stones and benches. Rainy afternoon, which I spend sorting letters. The others are reading the books I have brought along, about Hitler, concentration camps, the mood in Germany, etc.
Earlier, at lunch, we had an explosion over the Jewish question and the boycott. I identify myself with the fate of the Jews. In the evening I read my program outline aloud. Discussion, especially over the section on foreign policy. That night I have a ghastly dream: my eyes are going to be put out. Next morning M. L. analyzes my dream as stemming from a sense of aggression from the family.
Rain and fog. Analytical discussions with M. L. I dictate letters until 5:00 P.M. Suddenly there is a thunderstorm; the clouds are torn apart. Wonderful blue of the Ortler Group, mixed with blinding white. We take a walk along the Etsch River which is full to overflowing. From a meadow we see across valleys, fields, and mountains. In the evening we say good-by over Asti Spumante.
Elisabeth, Erhardt, and I ride to Gulden, in the middle of the Order Range, 4,000 feet high, very famous. The three others are to follow later. It is sunny at first, then overcast. The trip is complicated: first by bus, then in a private automobile, then by bus again. Magnificent, frightening drive through breakneck curves, just as it begins to rain. Lunch at the Post Hotel, after a prolonged search at the Hotel Tembl; the hotel is wonderfully well situated in the upper part of the valley with a view of the Ortler Group and the Gulden glacier.
Erhardt and I walk through the black-pebbled Schluntal from Gulden up to the glacier moraine. There is snow everywhere. We hike back over black rocks in pouring rain. Comforted by Vino Moscato and a game of chess with Elisabeth. Fruitless attempts to reach Frede by telephone.
My telephone call reaches Frede at last. He would prefer to go to Riva on the Lago di Garda, but agrees to come here instead. Elisabeth and I take a walk along the western slope of the Ortler Range. Sun and rain.
In the afternoon, with Erhardt to the Kanzel, "Il Pulpito," all signs are in Italian. Through a most beautiful forest with larches and a wonderful reddish kind of fir tree. The last tree, far, far away from the others, stands ragged in the fog.
On to the Pinao Rosim, an old frontal moraine which is now overgrown and wonderfully situated in the Rosim Valley, from where we have a view of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Ortler and Koenigspitze are beautifully visible. Constant change between shrouding fog and clear views, results of the "divine Reinhardt." The intensely blue-green Rosim glaciers, the gentians and mountain anemones, and everywhere the meadows are red with alpine roses. We descend through fog. The other three, Frede, Trudchen, and M. L., arrive. They are very critical, which infuriates Elisabeth. I make peace between them. Reconciliation over glasses of Moscato. Rain, rain -- early to bed.
Fresh snow, then rain: the barometer is rising. I have breakfast while everyone else is still asleep. The Fredes and Seebergers go to church, while M. L. and I walk up to the end of the Gulden glacier: it is very high, a smoothly cut-off mass, dirty, covered with stones. Great stone avalanches prevent our getting closer. The Gulden Brook gushes out of a green cave. Some snow comes drifting down. In the valley it is raining.
We all take a beautiful, easy walk in the afternoon, through the woods, with view of the mountains of the Lower Engadine. Sunday afternoon, coffee house with nothing but Germans. M. L. and Trudchen stay behind, sitting in fields of alpine roses. We others keep going. Wonderful walk back. The Ortler has come into full view. Later, in Frede’s room, we have a good talk about the authority of the Bible. I go to bed very tired; I can never really get to sleep here without taking some Baldrian.
A long walk to the Schanbach (now Mailaender) hut. Pleasant, slow climb. We catch up with Trude and Frede who have started out way ahead of us. We make it in somewhat less than two hours. Trudchen manages to get there, too. Lunch in the hut, then M. L. and Trudchen get stowed away in deck chairs. We others climb up the Hintere Schoentaufspitze, 9,000 feet -- as high as the Julier. For two hours we are almost continually in snow. Then a steep climb over rocks. At the top, indescribable fog images with changing colors. Down in the rain. We all go to bed dead tired.
A day of rest. We sit in deck chairs, interrupted now and then by showers. Letter from Hannah to M. L. In the afternoon we walk to the Grand Hotel from where we have a fine view of the Koenigspitze. Erhardt falls on the parquet floor. We walk in the direction of the Duesseldorfer hut. M. L. disappears and does not come back. We worry about her. She reappears around eight o’clock; she had gone off because we talked too much theology. Everyone cusses her.
The mountains in the evening . . .
To the Payer hut. I have my toothbrush in my knapsack, just in case. Trudchen stays behind, Frede comes with us as far as the timberline.
We march across pebbly slopes at the foot of the Ortler. Under the pebbles lies the glacier. M. L. is astonished at the untidiness in nature. Steep climb to the Tabaretta hut. Sheep in snowy fields.
Pea soup and Kaiserschmarren in the hut. An old woman and a shepherd boy wait on us.
Elisabeth and M. L. keep asking everyone we meet for the right way, until, in the end, they become discouraged and don’t want to go on. Vain attempt to get M. L. across the first snow field on the slope. Elisabeth turns back, then follows us; I go back to get her. Climb up a steep slope to the crest. Sheep are causing stone avalanches. On the crest we have a magnificent view of the Stilfser Jochstrasse as far as the shelter.
Narrow path up a steep, rocky slope. Elisabeth gropes about her, and I have to hold her. The hut is like a medieval castle on a steep rock, right up against the summit glaciers of the Ortler. The summit is in the clouds; there is a strong, very cold, westerly wind.
We have tea and wine in the hut. I decide reluctantly to give up the idea of climbing the Ortler next morning. Our descent is accompanied by thunder which might be caused by lightning, or else by stone avalanches. Elisabeth is quite excited, but brave. M. L. is very unhappy after having waited for us at the Tabaretta hut for four hours. We climb down through the rain.
I get ready to leave; the weather is wonderful and warm. I take a short walk up the slope. All the mountains are in view, especially the unbelievably beautiful Koenigspitze. To the Zag Valley, up to the timberline. Despite yesterday’s exertions, I feel perfectly fit. Have become quite used to the altitude and am ready for any sort of climb. Instead, I pack, and at five o’clock in the afternoon, take the bus to Spantigna. View of the Geisterspitze. By train through the fertile Vintschgau, to Meran. View across the Leaser and Mantell valleys toward our old mountain peaks. Vineyards, castles, chestnut trees; the ancient part of town; heat.
In Meran I stay at the Hotel Baviera. Dinner in the garden under palm trees, flowering oleander and laurel. A short walk, dance music. Arbor street. Wine in the garden. Late to bed. I lie awake until 4:30 because of the heat and the wine.
A nice breakfast in the garden. I have to do some errands in town. The Passeier Brook, quick, strong, and cool; the old trees; mountains all around the town, some of them snow-capped.
With Frede and M. L. to the Lido. We swim in full view of the mountains, as we did in Ascona and Menaggio. Lunch at Duano. All the ladies buy gloves.
By car to the Tyrol Castle. Very interesting reliefs, some dating back to the ninth century; struggle between paganism and Christianity. Frescoes. Fantastic view through the early-Romanesque windows. Long rest in the grass. The vegetation here is the same as in the Burgell. Reminiscent of Solio. We return through a valley whose vegetation reminds me of the Giardsue near Mentone, with a racing mountain brook added.
Dinner at the Stilvio. At the next table there are about thirty students from Tübingen, with their teachers. They are on a geographic excursion. I find myself beset by strong, regressive excitement. We talk about science and the Nazis. They have read Heiden’s book about Hitler with passionate interest; also some books about concentration camps. They reject them, but are impressed nevertheless.
To the main promenade where there is a great deal to see. The ladies retire. Frede and I have an Orvieto (Bigi) in honor of our impending separation. We feel very close as human beings. This morning I took Erhardt to the train. We love each other very much. He is one of the most decent people I know, has remained a member of the Confessing Church. At times the Confessing Church suffers from dogmatism to the point of intolerance, especially among the students, while the leaders often suffer from arrogance. Between Elisabeth, who belongs to the Confessing Church, and Erhardt, who has suffered greatly on its behalf -- and Frede, who never belonged to it -- there is a certain tension which leads to occasional outbreaks. But in all instances, as with me, too, the old human bonds have proved stronger than the very obvious and clearly defined objective differences.
Our last breakfast together. Back to the hotel and to the railroad station. Parting from Frede and Trude. Nowadays one always wonders: "Is it forever?"
I work in the park. Then lunch with Elisabeth and M. L. I write some letters in the restaurant, which happens to be the only cool place I can find.
To the Lido. The only possible thing to wear: a bathing suit. To the fruit market. The only possible food: fruit.
By tram to Ober-Mais. Walk through grape arbors -- to the Restaurant Valentino. Oleander and chestnut trees. Climbing over fences. An old woman runs the place. We ride back, and M. L. goes to bed. Elisabeth and I, alone, say good-by to each other.
It is a very sweet, personal conversation. We discuss the problem of Trudchen. Tension between her and Gisela. Growing tension between Elisabeth and Frede, despite their closeness, because of Frede’s negative attitude to things in general and toward the Confessing Church in particular.
Up early. Elisabeth takes me to the bus. Difficult leave-taking. Ride from Meran to Bolzano through burgeoning landscape with vineyards and many mountains.
I have ten minutes in the Cathedral of Bolzano while Sunday services are being held there. Then the ride continues through a long, smooth valley with a few deep gorges to the Casazza Pass. Magnificent dolomite, formations, green mountain lake. Down, then up again to the Pordoi Pass. Ever new, fantastic architectural groups of dolomites.
As I arrive at the Pass, there is Claire in a yellow dress; also Guenther and the children. They have come to call for me in the hotel car. Claire is very pretty. Guenther has aged a little. He wants to address me in the formal "you" form. I immediately call him "thou."
They have brought lunch along. Peter walks ahead -- and disappears. We go after him in the car; then turn back for him. Great excitement. Finally we continue on our way -- and catch up with him two villages farther on.
It is a wonderful trip. More and more new groups of mountains come into view. Red and blue are the basic colors of earth and sky here. Down to Cortina after yet another mountain pass. All this is only four hours by bus from Venice! Arrival at the Hotel Cristallo, a big luxury hotel. I am given a room with a balcony on the first floor, which looks out on a magnificent group of dolomites. The hotel is overcrowded. Only one room is available because a friend of Mrs. Badoglio, the wife of the victor of Ethiopia -- Duke and Viceroy -- is expected in a few days.
On the terrace, Sunday coffee is served, and a band plays. I change and come down. Suddenly the hotel station wagon arrives and brings M. L., who had gone to Franzensfeste with Elisabeth in order to make use of her ticket and has now come here by a different route. Coffee with Claire and M. L. Down below, there is a tennis tournament. Music, sunshine, swimming pool, mountains.
We take M. L. to the Pension Serena. Dinner with the children and a great international crowd. Many Italian aristocrats. Mother and daughter Badoglio, Duchess of Aosta, etc. Half Italian, half German; the Germans half Nazi, half anti-Nazi, which has led to splits and clashes.
To the tavern, where the prizes for the tennis tournament are being handed out. Dancing. At our table, two ladies from the Berlin world of sports -- members of the aristocracy. Boring. Everything very international. In addition to the basic German and Italian stock, there are Hungarians, Americans, Egyptians, Austrians, Frenchmen. Many children. I stay up by myself for another hour. This is my first time alone in weeks. I notice what a strain it has been. I drink a solitary bottle of beer at the bar and then sink into the kind of bed I would like to have in America.
I wake to a wonderful day; warm but not hot. Breakfast on the terrace. All around me, many cute ‘fashion-kittens," some wearing bathing suits. Loewenfelds are having breakfast on their balcony. Conversation with Guenther who, much like Frede, wants to separate politics from spirit and religion. I call for M. L. who is sitting in her meadow, supremely happy. We go swimming in a blue-shimmering pool with very cold water. There are many lovely bathing beauties, including the Badoglio daughter.
Lunch with Orvieto Secco. After a nap I have coffee on the terrace, where M. L. joins me. We take a beautiful walk through the meadows while Claire and Guenther report most interestingly on Palestine. Everyone is fighting everyone else there. The capitalistic Jews in Tel Aviv, the Jewish communes (kibbutzim) which are turning Palestine with its subterranean waters into a second California; the Mohammedan Arabs who attack all Christians; the Christian Arabs who are full of hatred against the Jews; the English who always prevaricate, but finally stepped in vigorously on the side of Jewish capitalism; the Jewish proletariat, extremely powerful and dangerous. Guenther is optimistic for the Jews because the English need Jewish capitalism. Claire sees no solution: she feels that the Arabs are being treated unfairly. While in Palestine, Claire and Guenther were in constant danger of their lives. Once, the only thing that saved them was their Arab guide saying they were German Nazis. Hitler is the big man with the Arabs. Mussolini gives them money to spite the British. The Communists are severely persecuted. It is a witches’ cauldron in which everything is reflected. Only Englishmen are permitted to bear arms. The Jews have founded a self-protective organization which keeps a cache of arms for emergency purposes. All the men in the settlements must do guard duty at night.
Dinner with red Capri. Long conversations, later alone with Claire, about various tensions. Claire rejects the dogmatic ties with Communism, feels unable to decide; nothing really appeals to her at the moment. Guenther’s position is generally critical; he gives an excellent objective analysis. He thinks the German economy is changing from private capitalism to state capitalism. Private capital, he says, is being eliminated through forced government loans. There is no more credit. An economic catastrophe is not to be expected, though; at best the standard of living might go down. As for international politics, he believes that Europe will fall prey to Hitler without a fight for a long time to come, until somewhere, in some unexpected place, war will break out. Without that war, he says, the United States of Europe remain unthinkable. I agree heartily with all this. Guenther travels a great deal throughout Europe, which gives him an excellent overall view.
Cloudy weather, rain; I am sitting on my balcony, writing this; have spent the entire morning writing.
Lunch with Capri. I call for M. L. and dictate to her until five. The weather clears and we go up in a cable car, which once would have been impossible for me. Wonderful walk back through a steep valley with view of the highest mountains and much new snow. There are wild strawberries in the meadows. Dinner with Frascati and Lachryma Christi. Two bad games of chess with Guenther. Beer and bed.
Waking up after sunrise, I experience a sense of dislocation, even after I get up, go to the window and see the Tofana in the red glow of morning. Not until I am on my way back to bed do I realize where I am. The sky clouds over slowly. M. L. and I go into the village to do some shopping. We have lunch while it rains. Then, despite the rain, we take the bus at two o’clock -- toward Carbonin. Streaming rain on the pass. Chess game with Guenther in the hotel on the pass. Meet the nearly frozen boys of Frau Levi and Frau Wenz, a conservative Berlin woman, tennis player, against anti-Semitism. We start out on foot from the pass hotel. The sky clears; colors and fog. Wonderful walk from the Passo Tre Croci via Lago di Misurina to Carbonin. Everywhere -- especially on the Piana -- there are remnants of the war to be seen: trenches, etc. The uncanny character of Carbonin. We have a wild ride back through icy cold in an open car we had ordered. I am beginning to get used to chasms.
Dinner with red Frascati. Change of clothes. Dancing. I call for M. L. who at first doesn’t want to come, but then has a good time. Many beautiful Italian women. The busiest dancer is Badoglio’s daughter who looks very sad. Fiftieth-birthday waltz with Claire and M. L.; on top of it all, Asti Spumante, confetti, and paper balls. I say good-by to M. L. who is being taken down by one of the men in her pensione.
I get up at six and pack, then have my last breakfast on the terrace in radiant weather. Say good-by to the children; ride down with Guenther and Claire; say good-by to Guenther and Claire. I have only just begun to feel close to Guenther. He is intelligent, very objective, and infinitely good.
Back to the Pordoi Pass by bus. Hot ride. Then over the Sella Pass with its wild vertical rock walls, into the wooded Cardone Valley; from there into the Brenner Valley, in Goethe’s footsteps, to Bolzano.
Room with veranda for ten lire -- two mark -- seventy-five cents -- in the world-famous Grifone.
Sorting the most recent letters; then a walk through the fabulous old town. A long arcade street. Many old houses, the Via Goethe. Across the Talfer. On the bridge I meet Cohnstedt and son from New York. The Promenade has a view of the Rosengarten Group, the kingdom of the dwarf-king Laurin who vanquished Dietrich von Berne. There is a wonderful violet-red evening glow on the dolomites. Dinner on the square in front of the Grifone. Red Moscato, then many mosquitoes. The place is full of German middle-class citizens.
Now I am sitting in a mosquito-free music-café, writing this. I keep looking at the lovely pictures of Erdmuthe and René, which arrived yesterday.
Up at 6:15. The sky is cloudless and a cooling wind is blowing. I have breakfast in the market square. Then a brisk ride through vineyards to Merano. Merano is hotter than Bolzano. During the ride back to Spondigna, I think over recent experiences.
I decide, despite difficulties involved, to take the detour across the Stilfser Joch. The Trafoi is beautiful but narrow. We travel along an endlessly curving road from where we see the other side of the Payer hut and the Ortler. There is not one cloud over this dazzling, petrified view. The Joch Hotel (on the highest road in Europe) is still completely engulfed in snow. At lunch I meet a gentleman from Frankfurt who had traveled with us in the beginning. To the Trilingual Peak: there are trenches, a burned-out hotel, military shelters; barbed wire marks the Italian-Swiss border. View of the Bernina. During the ride into the valley, I feel the usual fatigue. Again I go over the Ofen Pass which I had crossed in the opposite direction with Frede and Trude. Everything seems much farther away in this clear air. I have a quick cup of tea in the hotel where we had lunch that other time. Down to Zernez. One gets as used to riding alongside of chasms as to riding on trains; and one begins to feel that the human "machine," the driver, may function just as safely as a railroad engine. I spend a quiet half-hour at the Zernez station amid the fragrance of the Engadine meadows in the evening shadow of the mountains.
Up the Engadine in a little train to Bevers: the Margna, Maloia, and Julier come into view; distance and size combine to make this, still, the most beautiful and noblest sight of all. There may be other places more convenient for Alpine tourism -- but for the sheer joy of existence: give me the Engadine. Very tired, I ride to Chur, in the dark.
I go to the Hotel Steinbeck where I had taken refuge from a sudden downpour during that trip to Sils with Hannah and Erdmuthe. Local wine and prosciutto. Then to bed.
I get up at six, after a deathlike sleep. Breakfast in the garden; intoxicating fragrance of linden blossoms.
Then I leave for Zurich. The clouds are streaming with rain. To Oprecht, where I return the books. I try to locate Wendriner, finally send him a telegram; then I have a long talk with Oprecht. Serious worries over Spain. Every time I want to go to Spain, another Fascist revolution breaks out and prevents me. If the Fascists should win, the effect on France would be incalculable. Oprecht also feels that Central Europe should be ceded to Hitler: nothing is being done in Danzig; Austria is being conquered by means of quiet infiltration. Even now, anti-German books are slowly disappearing from Austrian book stores. The German part of Switzerland and German Czechoslovakia are unprotected. Swiss newspapers are pervaded by a general sense of existential anxiety.
Lunch with Bernese wine at the Hotel Simplon. At the Café Odéon I meet Hirschfeld, Wendriner, and Salome Boiler. Wendriner and I take a walk along the lake. He is terribly depressed: a doctor told him a few days ago that he has a heart defect. He must live in Switzerland, at an altitude of 300 feet. He is unhappy because all the older German literature is being sold off for a few pennies; he was with Thomas Mann who, he says, is very happy and has completely freed his inner self from Germany.
Dinner with Hirschfeld. He was angry about the discussion after my lecture because Wendriner insisted on questioning only my theological position, instead of discussing my sociological analysis.
We get into a big conversation about the relationship of my "order" to the Communist Party. He says: "If I were Stalin, I would ask: ‘How much money do you need?’ and then I would let you carry on, considering your enterprise one more or less successful contribution."
As I go to bed, it is pouring outside.
About my Italian experiences I must add here, which I could not do there because of the possibility that my mail might be censored, that the suppression of the Germans in South Tyrol by the Italian Fascists is disgusting: the entire population speaks German, but no German signs are permitted; all the names of towns, mountains and streets are Italianized, every wall has "Ii Duce" scrawled all over it; only Italian is spoken in school, etc. Idling Fascisti lounge around everywhere, watching the Germans work. Suppression is horrifying, no matter where you encounter it.
I slept long. Today the weather is most beautiful. I am writing this on a bench by the lake, in the midst of Sunday morning atmosphere.
Departure for Berne. Lunch with the Blums on the Bellevue terrace which looks out on the Bernese Uplands. I play three games of chess with Emil Blum who is a member of the Berne chess club and has learned chess theory very well. I beat him 2 to 1.
At home, I find a lot of mail, including the most beautiful photos of the three people I love most. Also, a complicated letter from H. Schafft about his coming; and inquiry from Loewe on Stock’s behalf, asking whether I would accept a teaching assignment at Manchester -- philosophy of religion; the letter from Pauck about Ann Arbor; a letter from A. Keller: my plans for Geneva have given them trouble, but now they are urgently expecting me. I unpack my trunks, then have dinner with venison and Asti. Outline of a course in education for Emil Blum. I go to bed late and am tired.
Meet E. who stays at her sister’s in Berne. She has become somewhat sharp-featured, and her hair is turning gray, but she looks well. She has gone through a great deal: her family is scattered all over the world: she herself has lost her job, now lives on a small income and occasional assignments she gets from the Alliance of Christian Non-Aryans. She wants to meet her friend in Florence. He is earning the money for this trip by cutting the Olympics film for R. E. has been ill. She can no longer meet her friend, since there is no place -- no matter how secluded -- where there are no informers. Her worries about him have caused her a series of cardiac cramps during which she thinks she is dying; therefore, she is much preoccupied with thoughts of death. She has met the Bassermanns. He is resisting all attempts by the Nazis to get him to come home. Instead of passing on the Iffland-ring to a German actor, after Moissi’s death, he donated it to the Vienna Museum, declaring that there was no more dramatic art in Germany. This has infuriated the Nazis terribly.
Before he died, Moissi asked to be placed in front of a mirror so he could act his own death and observe himself, for days on end. Bassermann, who visited him often, says it was unspeakably horrible.
E. admires the Nazis’ achievements: their preparations for the Olympics; their "Winterhilfe" (winter relief action); their "Strength through Joy" program, etc. This pains her, as does her insight into the inferiority of Tucholski, for instance, whose farewell letter before his suicide was a sharp attack on the Jews -- and was promptly reprinted by the Black Corps. I try to lend her some strength by attacking the core of the Nazi system -- for which she is very grateful. After we have lunch together, I leave for Fribourg.
Trude Mennicke and Woelle are at the station. It is a warm, valuable encounter. She is quite old and gray, the boy a fine figure of a fourteen-year-old. She tells me about her life: first as a teacher in the Odenwald School, then to Switzerland with Geheb, as a result of which she lost her teaching position; now her life alternates between her parents’ house and that of her sister who lives in Fribourg and is married to Iserland -- a newly converted Catholic. Inwardly, she is more serene than before, very critical of Karolus who had been visiting her for two weeks. She reports having a feeling of great emptiness after being with him. She confirms the "Dutch petit bourgeois in the making." She herself is studying Catholicism, says one needs a spiritual realm where one can feel at home, which -- to her profound regret -- is not possible in Marxism. I try to caution her a bit. She is a valuable person.
I wander through the magnificent ancient part of Fribourg, then leave for Geneva, where I arrive in the evening.
By car to the Pension Sergy which is a wooden house in a garden full of flowers and trees. I have dinner alone in the dining room, then to see Professor Wald; but he has already gone to bed. Some work on my lecture, then sleep.
Up at 6:45. Breakfast with Professor Wald who is a practical theologian in Strasbourg. To the Chapel of the Maccabbes in the Calvin Cathedral. There are about seventy participants. Keller gives a sermon in Barthian style. All three languages are used in the liturgy.
To the university. The first lecturer is Vischeslaszeff. He speaks on "Natural Revelation" according to the Greek Church. After every paragraph I have to translate into English. Then a lecture by Will, in French -- on culture.
Lunch with Will at the Pension. We live there as guests of the Seminar. After lunch Niebuhr appears. He has been asked to come from Stuttgart by air because the other Americans have canceled. He is deeply preoccupied with thoughts of Germany and England. He feels that, for the moment, the danger of war has been averted. He thinks it inescapable that Germany will get everything she wants -- peacefully, since none dare resist. He describes Eden as an inept functionary for Baldwin and Chamberlain. The treaty with Austria is nicknamed "The Trojan Horse." He feels that Germany is now more settled. Much rejoicing over the Olympics, little depression. In England he had a long talk with Bruening, who also admitted that the situation at the monasteries was a mess. In Holland, Bruening was in such constant danger that he had to be guarded day and night by six Dutch policemen. He will no longer set foot on the Continent. He is coming back to America.
Niebuhr had brought along the manuscript of a memorandum by the Confessing Church’s synod, protesting against concentration camps, lies, rigged elections, the evil of putting children under oath, the persecution of the Jews, etc. The memorandum was read to Hitler by Schacht. In the middle of the reading, Hitler got up and walked out. Never came back. His secretary told Schacht that Hitler was taking a walk.
At four o’clock I give my first lecture; great applause, despite the fact that there are many German Nazi students present. After, Niebuhr. I have to translate him into German in minute detail, which gives me a chance to overstress his anti-Nazi points a bit. His personality makes a great impression. At the hotel I talk with Niebuhr, then have dinner with him and Will. After a stroll I go to work on my next lecture.
Breakfast with Niebuhr. To Vischeslaszeff’s seminar by a roundabout road. My second seminar about America; roaring applause.
Lunch at Keller’s with Niebuhr and Will. The view over the lake is beautiful. From two to four I sit by the lake with Niebuhr, each of us on a different bench, preparing our lectures. Niebuhr’s second lecture, again translated by me. All very strenuous.
To the lake with Claudia Baader, H. Schafft’s friend. We both complain about him. It is impossible to meet him because he cannot even decide on whether to take the trip. He has heard from Frede that I made "incautious" statements about Germany; besides, I am supposed to have said in England that the Prussian and German state was unchristian -- which is, of course, balderdash when put in this form. I expressed myself much more sharply. Besides, he was told that his going to Geneva was undesirable to the church. Finally the following happened, which Keller told me: Althaus, who was on the program, asked the government whether he was permitted to speak at the same conference as the "emigrant Tillich," to which the government’s answer was "no." Whereupon he declined and accepted an offer elsewhere. Keller, who was getting frightened, managed, in England -- probably through the Bishop of Chichester -- to make them cancel this prohibition. Nevertheless, Hermann does not dare come to Geneva now, since he is working on an auxiliary for one of the committees in Berlin. Now I hope to get him to come to Ascona; but in spite of numerous letters, no reply is forthcoming from him. Spiegelberg writes from Ascona that he has been forbidden to take part in the Eranos session. I have heard that this has happened to all German participants. The intellectuals are being more and more closely watched. Incidentally, the Spiegelbergs made an excellent impression on the Blums and Kullmanns.
FrI. Baader works at the hospital in Marburg and is very enthusiastic about von Soden. She blames Hermann for not having gone in to strengthen von Soden. She feels that H. was definitely broken by his last, unhappy love. She herself suffers greatly from Barthian orthodoxy.
In the evening there is a discussion of Niebuhr’s lecture. The theological battle lines are drawn. I have to make a fairly long speech. I speak on "Politics and the Sermon." At night I work on my next lecture.
Niebuhr gives his final lecture, the best and most impressive one. He has to fly to London immediately. Before we part, we discuss a possible offer from Ann Arbor, and the definite order from Manchester which Loewe has sent me in the meantime. He says I should use both, and stay at Union, where my position is secure and "we will found a school of theology there." I have a feeling of warmth with him such as I had never experienced before.
My third lecture. Then lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Vischeslaszeff in their pension at a big family table. He is very lively, full of understanding, but not impressive.
Home to work. Then a stroll into town and dinner with Will at the pension. He asks me to come to Strasbourg next year. After dinner I go back to work and continue late into the night.
My fourth lecture. Afterward I have lunch with Maria Kullmann whose husband is in Sweden. We eat in a little French restaurant where chickens are suspended over an open grill in the dining room. Wonderful food. Delightful atmosphere. To the café on the lake. We discuss the meeting with Stepun who wants to come here. Perhaps we will arrange a little foreigners’ conference in Geneva on August 20.
In the afternoon I work beside the lake. Two German students walk back with me, one of them a radical Confessing pastor in Wiesbaden. He describes the utter insecurity of the situation; he is in favor of the Free Church. Niebuhr believes that we shall have the German Free Church by winter.
Dinner with Visser’t Hooft, secretary of the World Students Christian Federation; in the Perle du Lac across the lake by moonlight. He is a Barthian of the reformed type. We have some very profound theological discussions. He is coming to America. At night I finish working on my final seminar.