Alexander Roda Roda

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Roda Roda, ~ 1907
Signature Roda Roda.JPG

Alexander Friedrich Ladislaus Roda Roda , birth name Sándor Friedrich Rosenfeld (born April 13, 1872 in Drnowitz , Moravia , Austria-Hungary ; † August 20, 1945 in New York ), was an Austrian writer , satirist and publicist .

life and work

Roda Roda grew up near Zdenci, a village near Orahovica and Našice . His father Leopold Rosenfeld worked there as an estate manager. The family was unofficially called Roda (Serb / Croatian for stork ). Together with his sister Marie (Mi), who is three years his junior , he wrote novels. The siblings agreed: "Above everything should be the author's name: AM Roda Roda - as a sign that we are a double being."

After breaking off a law degree at the University of Vienna , Roda Roda undertook twelve years of military service and began it on October 1, 1893 with the corps artillery regiment in Agram ( Zagreb ). In 1894 he was transferred to Esseg ( Osijek ) and baptized as a Catholic, this is where his Slavonian village stories were written . In 1899 his family name was officially changed to Roda , in 1906 to Roda Roda .

In 1900 his first works appeared in Simplicissimus . After several disciplinary punishments, Roda Roda was transferred to the reserve as a first lieutenant in 1901. He intensified his literary activity. In 1902 he processed a short, passionate love affair with star actress Adele Sandrock , who was ten years older than him, in the play Dana Petrovich .

He made trips to the Balkans , Italy and Spain. In 1904 he made a stop in Berlin and in 1906 in Munich, where he returned in 1920. Due to various violations of the officer's honor, Roda Roda was dismissed from the army in 1907, with his rank being withdrawn. He had a waistcoat tailored from the bright red lining of his uniform and wore it to numerous performances on cabaret stages . It became his trademark for decades. In 1909 the military comedy Der Feldherrnhügel , written together with Carl Rössler , was premiered, in which military narrow-mindedness and meaningless hierarchy are mocked.

On August 11, 1914, Roda Roda was drafted into the Imperial and Royal War press quarters and, as a war correspondent, wrote more than 700 articles for the Neue Freie Presse, which appeared in Vienna, by 1917. He also wrote several articles for the German-language newspaper Pester Lloyd , which has been published in Budapest since 1854 . In addition, he published his diary entries under the title “Russenjagd” and “Serbisches Tagebuch”. He received a special commission from the (German-born) King of Bulgaria to make Bulgarian literature known to the German public.

In the 1920s, Roda Roda had great success with humorous book publications. He appeared in cabarets , went on extensive (guest) trips and maintained contacts with dozens of authors, actors, filmmakers and other artists.

Berlin memorial plaque on the house at Innsbrucker Strasse 44, in Berlin-Schöneberg
Simmering fire hall, Roda Roda's grave

In 1932 a three-volume edition was published for Roda Roda's 60th birthday. On May 10, 1932, he belonged to the group of democratic intellectuals who demonstratively accompanied Carl von Ossietzky when he began his prison sentence in Berlin. After Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, Roda Roda emigrated to Graz and in 1938 fled to Switzerland a few days before Austria was annexed to the German Reich. On November 1, 1940, the Swiss authorities asked him to leave the country by the end of the year and at the same time forbade him to work for the Swiss media. Roda Roda emigrated to the USA. There the efforts of the now seventy year old to earn a living as a writer were unsuccessful. On his expulsion from Switzerland , he wrote "In passing":

“Another upheaval in Europe, and in all countries the emigrants will have the majority. Sometimes there are political situations that are so complex that you cannot judge them wrongly enough. “The strongest form of warfare,” says Clausewitz , “is active defense.” No! The strongest form of warfare is to remain in neutrality. Politics is the art of making unrealizable promises and then evading them under unfounded but plausible pretexts. A quote from Doctor Vazsonya, the former Hungarian Minister of Justice: “I see people who live from philosemitism ; many more live from anti-Semitism . But what should the poor Jews live on? ”--- Switzerland? No, HE will leave Switzerland intact. Because where else should HE flee to? "

- Roda Roda, Union. Blätter der Emigration, Vol. 1, # 1, Johannesburg October 27, 1939, p. 8 :

His sister Gisela Januszewska, who could not emigrate, was deported to Theresienstadt and murdered there.

On August 20, 1945, Roda Roda died of leukemia in New York at the age of 73 . On August 22nd, according to his will , the cremation took place in silence and unaccompanied at the Campbell Funeral Home.


In September 1905 he married Elsbeth Anna Freifrau von Zeppelin nee. Leuckfeld von Weysen (1882–1960). Her daughter Dana (1909–1990) married the writer Ulrich Becher in 1933 . Their son Martin Roda Becher (born 1944) lives as a writer in Basel.

Post fame

Bust of Roda Rodas in Osijek

In 1948 the urn Roda Rodas was transferred to Vienna and buried in an honorary grave in the urn grove of the Simmering fire hall (department 2, ring 1, group 2, number 31). The grave monument comes from Fritz Wotruba .

In 1952 the Roda-Roda-Gasse in Vienna- Floridsdorf (21st district) was named after him. In the city of Osijek in Croatia , a bust of Roda Roda stands in front of the library building on Europska Avenija.

Roda Roda was also a passionate chess player and often played in the Munich chess café Stefanie . It was here that he was inspired to write his chess humorist Das Pensionistengambit .

His work consists largely of humorous or satirical stories and novels in which he targeted the weaknesses and curiosities of the Danube Monarchy and especially of the Austro-Hungarian officer corps in a loving, indulgent way .

Fonts (selection)

For a list of all works see Wikisource

  • A donkey's jaw. Rascals and purrs, satires and parables . Munich, Langen 1906, OBV .
  • Noble Stories 1906
  • Of bees, drones and barons (before 1908)
  • The schnapps, the smoking tobacco and the cursed love 1908
  • Schummler, Bummler, Rossetummler , Balkan Stories 1909
  • The Tickled Aesculapian 1910
  • -, Carl Rössler : The Feldherrnhügel. A purr in three acts, 1910
  • Majestät Mimi operettas - libretto , with Felix Dörmann , music by Bruno Granichstaedten 1911
  • -, Gustav Meyrink : Bubi 1912
  • -, Gustav Meyrink: The medical council. A comedy in three acts . Schuster & Loeffler, Berlin (among others) 1912. - Full text online .
  • -, Gustav Meyrink: The clock. A game in two acts . Ahn & Simrock, Berlin 1912. - Full text online .
  • Russian hunt . Konegen, Vienna 1917. - Full text online .
  • The rose country. Bulgarian designers and creators recreating stories and poems from the nation's treasure trove. Enoch, Hamburg 1918. (Reprint Verlag PIC, Veliko Târnovo 1995, ISBN 954-8258-58-7 ).
  • The seven passions 1921
  • Schwabylon or The Storm Free Bachelor 1921
  • Morning sun east. Descriptions 1922
  • A spring in America . Langes, Munich 1924. - Full text online .
  • -, Andreas Szenes (Illustr.): Roda Roda's novel (autobiography). Drei Masken Verlag, Munich 1925, OBV .
  • Slavic souls. Retold to new poets . Langes, Munich 1924. - Full text online .
  • The boy with the 13 fathers. A humorous novel based on BG Nušić . Reissner, Dresden 1927. - Full text online .
  • The Pandours. Novel of a Landscape Novel 1935
  • The man in the red vest: anecdotes tales stories. Construction of the Berlin and Weimar GDR publishing houses for Zsolany, 1970
  • Hans Traxler (Ed.): Red vest and monocle: The new Roda Roda book. Paul Zsolnay Verlag , Vienna 1999, ISBN 3-552-04942-8


Film adaptations with roles


  • 1931: love command

Literary template

  • 1953: The Feldherrnhügel


  • 1990–92: Roda Roda Stories (twelve-part series by ORF in collaboration with ZDF , which broadcast the series under the name Roda Roda . With Peter Weck as Alexander Roda Roda.)


Web links

Wikisource: Alexander Roda Roda  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Alexander Roda Roda  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Rotraut Hackermüller: Roda Roda. Pictorial biography. Vienna, Munich: Herold 1986, pp. 17-18.
  2. Roda Roda in the First World War with documents and photos from the Austrian State Archives .
  3. ↑ Open the pdf (long loading time). HE is Hitler. Vazsonya is believed to be Vilmos Vázsonyi.
  4. ^ Ernst Klee : The culture lexicon for the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945? S. Fischer, Frankfurt 2007 ISBN 978-3-10-039326-5 , p. 489
  5. From all over the world. (…) In free marriage .. In:  Innsbrucker Nachrichten , No. 215/1905, September 20, 1905, p. 9, bottom center. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / ibnGlossary about it: Ed. Pötzl: Free marriage . In: Neues Wiener Tagblatt , October 8, 1905, No. 278/1905 (XXXIXth year), p. 1 f.
  6. ^ Gero von Wilpert (Ed.): Lexicon of world literature . Vol. 2. dtv, Munich 1997 ISBN 3-423-59050-5 , p. 1281
  7. Roda Roda in: German Biography .