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The immigration of Carl Zuckmayer into the USA

Ein Vortrag für den Englischunterricht, möglicherweise fehlerhaft:

Carl Zuckmayer was born in 1896 in Germany. Zuckmayer was a popular humorous writer. One of his most famous writings is “Der Hauptmann von Köpenick”.

From Germany, Carl Zuckmayer had to emigrate into Austria, because he was Jewish on the side of his mother, in addition, because his works did not please the Nazis. He lived with his wife and one of their daughters in Henndorf. He knew that this emigration would be “the journey of no return”, but he wanted that it's not the truth – this thougt was too terrible for him. But he knew that if he returns, everything will have changed. But one day he couldn't stay any longer in Austria. With a visitor visa he took together with his wife, their daughter and a dog the Netherlands steamship “Zaandam”. The other daughter remained in England, she emigrated later, too. Because of their expatriation their papers were invalid, but they hoped they would be able to immigrate nevertheless. Dorothy Thompson, the most important woman in the American world of literature had invited them to come to her and she also went to President Roosevelt and got an advocation that Zuckmayer is welcome in the USA. So they could come at land very quickly. Hendrik Willem van Loon welcomed them at the ship also it was very soon in the morning. He and Dorothy Thompson were the affidavits for them, these was needed to get a visa. On the customs office everything was inspected very thoroughly but they had nothing to pay. Also if Hendrik Willem van Loon loved the dog they had, the customs office noticed: “1 dog – object of no value”.

New York – a great City which impressed Carl Zuckmayer very deeply. He was invited by many people he knew from Germany. It was very hot and adventure-filled, because New York is very dangerous and he didn't knew these dangers. They lived at Dorothy Thompson. But a proverb says the first thousand Dollars are earned easy and the next hundred very difficult – and so it was. The first thousand he got in advance for a book he never wrote.

Then they moved with Dorothy Thompson to Bernard on the Silverlake in Vermont. After this Carl Zuckmayer moved to Hollywood, to earn some money. On the journey he experienced the adventure of the landscape because his airplane had to land and he had to be picked up with a car.

In Hollywood he met again many popular writers from Germany. But he had no success in writing because his writings were too “German”. Finally he got a contract for seven years in Hollywood. Now he had to sit in the “Writer's Building” and had to write what Hollywood wanted from him. The life there was very expensive and you “had” to be happy, but it was all very artificial. Carl Zuckmayer didn't want to stay in Hollywood also if he got every week a check. He wanted freedom. On the other hand he worried about the war in Europe.

Because he officially couldn't work with his visitor visa, he had to get a quota visa. This was very difficult, they had to go from one office to another although they had recommendations from many famous people. They had to go out of the USA – they went to Cuba – and immigrate again. This was very difficult and if they had bad luck, they would not be able to return from Cuba. But all went successful. Their children went in boarding schools, his woman to San Fransisco where they had some friends and the life was cheaper.

He wanted to spare some money to go to another place to be independent and free. One day he got an assignment he didn't like and he said no – on the next morning he had his dismissal.

They moved back to New York and Carl Zuckmayer gave some lectures at the “New School for Social Research”. They were very poor and he tried to earn some money with writing articles for newspapers, but they hardly couldn't live also if some friends helped them. They had only one chance to have a free life: to give up and begin a new life on a farm – without wealth and a lot of work but in freedom.

Still Carl Zuckmayer didn't know anything about farming but he was optimistic that he would learn it all. His woman searched for a farm in Vermont, but they were all expensive or very bad. One day Carl Zuckmayer walked through the forest and he saw an old, uninhabited farm near Woodstock/Vermont, where an old man worked in front of it. He was friendly and was very glad as Carl Zuckmayer said him, that he searched a farm. The old man was born in that house and was very happy that someone wanted to live in it. The rent was very cheap and the owner also paid many things to make the farm more comfortable.

One day the farm was ready and the hard work on the farm began. The neighbors were very friendly and helped whenever he needed help and they also taught him how to manage the farm. Zuckmayer worked so much that he had hardly no time to worry about the war and he had also no time to write. But he was satisfied with the life on the farm with the animals.

When America entered the war, all “enemy aliens” had to register and Carl Zuckmayer had fear that he had to go to a camp. But the officer was friendly and sayd that he can stay (“why not?”). But he wasn't allowed to have short wave receivers, cameras or fire weapons.

Some years later he found some time to write again a bit and he wrote some works which were later published in Swiss and Germany. Many of his friends in the USA and in Germany died. Bertold Brecht visited him on his farm and short time after the war was over. He wanted to return to Germany, but he couldn't because this was only allowed for military and government. So he decided to go to the American government to get a job as cultural attaché for Germany and some time later he could go for a journey to Germany and also visit his parents in Austria who had survived. He was welcomed in Germany but he felt that everything had changed and that he hadn't a home anymore.

Some time later his family and he moved to Swiss where he died in 1977.



artikel/schule/the_immigration_of_carl_zuckmayer_into_the_usa.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/30 15:45 by