Dear Sir Zweig! I have just finished reading “Jeremiah;” this poem has impressed me deeply and powerfully. Its mood and honesty are seemingly making you closer and dearer to me. I acutely felt its timeliness, and I would really want the individual, fundamentally important points—namely the last scene—to be disseminated widely.
Can we escape this horror? I’m scared of the war that will follow this war. The wars of the classes, nations, and religion, escape from taxes, restrictions, and forced measures. I see only one way: withdrawal into oneself, into nature, away from the big city. This is the first thing I must do after the war.
I met him in the evening with GilbeauxHenri Gilbeaux is a French socialist poet, publicist and politician.. He’d become younger, more energetic. After all, the triumph of the Bolsheviks belonged to him too. He told us unbelievable stories about the Bolsheviks in Bern’s community hall until 2 in the morning. He talked about how the “sealed carriage” travelled across Germany.
The Austrian people suffer greatly. There is a shortage of the most rudimentary supplies. There is no milk anymore. The children die like flies. Tuberculosis is eating at Germany and Austria. The cities are in a dire state. Poverty is even felt in how people are dressed—everything is patched and ragged. Citizens of Berlin and Leipzig are the worst off. Hungary does not suffer at all, thanks to its rich resources. The uneven distribution of food leads to envy and enmity among various provinces. The Holy Alliance of two nations of Austria-Hungary, which impressed the Allies during the first years of the war, no longer exists.
This is a palace coup instigated by English and French diplomats to frustrate the Czar’s attempts to secure peace with Germany, this is not a revolution of the people who seek peace and rights for themselves.
Alexander Pushkin, the father of Russian literature is of noble blood. Leo Tolstoy is the son of the old aristocratic family. Turgenev, a landowner. Dostoevsky, a bureaucrat’s son. But all of them are nobles nonetheless. For literature, art, and all kinds of creative works in the Russian empire in the 19th century empire have belonged to the nobility. See more
As do other privileges such as the landed estates, rivers and mineral resources, forests and arable land, and even real people, the serfs who cultivated the land for them. All power, all the wealth, honor, knowledge, and all spiritual values have been given to hundreds of noble families, ten thousand people out of many millions of people. They represent Russia in the world’s eyes, its abundance, its nation, its power, its spirit.
Hundreds of families, ten thousand people. But beneath this thin layer lives and works the Russian people, millions of the masses, an unconscious gigantic force. These millions of grains of sand are scattered across the huge expanses of Russia. They are the millions of hands that multiply the wealth of this giant country day and night. They uproot the tree stumps, pave the roads, crush the grapes, and mine the ore. They reap and sow the snow covered black earth and fight in the Tsar’s wars. They serve and serve, and serve their masters, as well as all the peoples of today’s Europe with dedication and forced labor. But one thing distinguishes the Russian people from the other fraternal peoples: they still don’t have their own voice. For a long time, it’s been other people from their midst who were sent as messengers—writers, orators, and scholars. But millions of Russians still can’t express their wishes in the written word and have no right to express their thoughts on the fate of their country. They have nothing to convey and no way for to express their great and rebellious soul. This mysterious, vast ocean of people are overwhelmed by passion, but mighty and voiceless, disenfranchised, and desolate, and live and work secretly on the Russian land. Their souls are devoid of language, existence, and conscious thought. Their masters, the nobles, the powers that be speak for all voiceless. Until the 20th century, we learned about the Russian people by just listening to the voices of its noble writers—Pushkin, Tolstoy, Turgenev and Dostoevsky.