Klaus Mann an Hermann Kesten
New York, NY, 17. Januar 1940





Original: Monacensia. Literaturarchiv und Bibliothek. München, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Frido Mann.


Klaus Mann

111 East 39 th. Street
New York City,
January 17, 1940

My dear Hermann Kesten,

Many thanks for your very nice letter. I trust you received, in the meantime, my father's invitation to you, and the offer from Mr. Peat. I think those two documents should help you to obtain the visitor visa – provided, of course, that there is any chance at all to obtain it. I hope very keenly that you may succeed in arranging your trip to this country, as all of us would be only too happy to have you here. I am sure you would like New York City, in spite of its disturbing lack of café houses. In other respects, however, it is a fine city indeed, and you would certainly find lots of old friends over here.

I am pretty angry, to tell the truth, about Landshoff's sailing. I think it is a very foolish thing to do, as circumstances are in Europe, and especially in Holland, just now. But – "des Menschen Wille ist sein Himmelreich", and the one advantage of the whole story may be that he has succeeded, at least, in getting his English visa – which, of course, is a precious thing to possess.

I am pretty busy as always. In a few days, a new book of mine will be published – or rather, a book by Erika and myself –, entitled "The Other Germany". We try to discuss the delicate and complicated question of wheter the Germans "are Nazis", and if Naziism really is rooted in the German history and character. But since the "German riddle" gets kind of dull, in the long run, I am writing now something that has nothing to do with contemporary politics and social problems. I have started to work in English – which is a difficult, and exciting, and certainly very daring thing to do.

....As to our friend Mr. Schwarzschild, I am almost horriffied about everything you wrote me on his reactions and utterances. The simple truth is that he is a dirty liar. I am positively through with him, for good. He lies by saying that we "insultet" him in our "Who is Who" of the exiles, "Escape to Life". The paragraph which deals with Schw. and his magazine is as flattering as it could be. We call him "the most gifted of all the journalists who have emigrated from Germany", ect. But even if our remarks on his personality would be somewhat less friendly than they actually happen to be, it would not explain nor would it excuse his amazing behaviour. His insane lust for revenge is as repulsive as it is stupid. He keeps on distorting facts and lying like any Nazi or Communist. His statement that my Open Letter to the Neue Tage-Buch just repeats what I have written before to the Social Democratic paper, is thoroughly untrue. He had very good reasons for not showing to you the manuscript. As a matter of fact, the Open Letter – a detailed explanation of my political point of views, especially concerning the Soviet Union – has nothing to do whatsoever with those few lines I addressed to Mr. Epstein, of the "Volkszeitung", half a year ago.

Schwarzschild is a dirty liar, and I am sick and tired of him. He will hear from my lawyer, and the Open Letter will be published in New York. (I will send a copy to you when it has appeared.)

The last favor I ask you to do for me in this dreary affair, is to tell Mr. Schwarzschild, from my side: "Lecken Sie mich..." ...For yourself and Mrs. Kesten, on the contrary, the nicest regards and wishes, and, once more, the expression of my seriuos hope to see you here in the near future.

Yours old friend