Clara Katharina Pollaczek

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Clara Katharina Pollaczek (around 1920)

Clara Katharina Pollaczek (born as Clara Loeb on January 15, 1875 in Vienna ; died July 22, 1951 in the Viennese district of Döbling ) was an Austrian writer of entertainment literature , plays and poetry. In literary history she is best known as Arthur Schnitzler's last partner . She left behind a 900-page typescript about the time of their relationship, which has only been published in excerpts so far. Research on the writer's work, which allows her to step out of the “shadow of Schnitzler”, has not yet been carried out.

life and work


Clara Loeb grew up with two brothers, Alfred and Otto, and a sister, Anna, in an upper-class, secular Jewish family in Vienna. Her grandfather had made his fortune as a textile manufacturer who had provided the Habsburg army with clothing during the Napoleonic Wars . Her father Louis was a banker . Her uncle was Theodor Ritter von Taussig . As a daughter from a good family , Clara received private lessons and often spent the holidays with her family in Bad Ischl .

Highly educated and artistically gifted, she began to write entertainment literature at the age of 19 against the wishes of her parents under male pseudonyms. In April 1897, Clara's sequence of scenes Mimi appeared in the literary magazine Neue Deutsche Rundschau . Shadows from a girl's life under the pseudonym “Bob” with a prologue by Hugo von Hofmannsthal . Mimi is considered the female counterpart to Arthur Schnitzler's Anatol and was the greatest success of her literary work. The focus is on a shy girl who is developing into a self-confident young woman who wants to enjoy her life and who criticizes that her parents choose a husband for her. In one episode, the protagonist experiences "an amorous skirmish with a writer on a rowing boat on Lake Millstatt at night ". Loeb's parents learned through an anonymous letter that their daughter was hiding behind the pseudonym. Hofmannsthal had to prevent the planned book printing at S. Fischer Verlag . The Schnitzler biographer Renate Wagner suspects that the parents were pressing for an early marriage between Claras and Otto Pollaczek, the heir of the largest rawhide trade in the monarchy, in order to prevent her daughter's scandalous career as a writer and at the same time to ensure a professional connection.

Clara bowed to her parents' wishes, gave up writing and married Otto Pollaczek, born in Prague , son of the commercial councilor Wilhelm Pollaczek , on May 10, 1898 in the Synagogue Seitenstettengasse . The engagement had taken place in early 1898. After Archduke Ludwig Viktor had been introduced to Otto Pollaczek's bride on February 12, 1898 at the commercial ball , he sent the couple a golden service as an engagement gift shortly thereafter . Clara commented on the marriage in her diary: "Since I definitely wanted to get married, I slowly got used to surgery, which was ultimately young and had an undeniable charm, despite its great naughtiness." In 1899, her first son, Hermann Erich, was born, in 1902 the second, Karl Friedrich. The family lived in their own house on Blumauergasse in Vienna's 2nd district . Clara's son Karl reported in his 1982 memoir that the marriage was not a happy one. Pollaczek betrayed her soon after they married. During her second pregnancy, he went on summer vacation to take his lover with him. In 1907 his company ran into financial difficulties. When he committed suicide on April 17, 1908, Clara was no longer living in the same house. He left her with no income and few reserves. After the First World War , her financial situation worsened as she invested in war bonds . She had to move her jewelry, rent out her parents' family apartment on Peregringasse, to which she had moved again after her mother's death in 1918, and finally sell it in 1928. The historical registration files in the Vienna City and State Archives reveal four registration addresses between 1911 and 1928. At times she lived in a hotel, later with her two sons in a small apartment in the 18th district , where she was registered until November 1932.

Grave of Clara Katharina Pollaczek in the Sieveringen cemetery

Nothing is known about Pollazcek's literary activity after her marriage until the 1920s. She started writing again because of her precarious financial situation. In the twenties and thirties she published stories and novellas, poems, dramatic texts and several extensive serial novels, which are said to have enjoyed great popularity with the public, in the prestigious Viennese daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse . According to Konstanze Fliedl , she was at the limit of literary activity.

Under National Socialism , Clara Katharina Pollaczek was persecuted as a Jew . She owed her survival to her Czechoslovak passport, which she had acquired through her marriage to Otto Pollaczek. Two days after Austria was "annexed" to the National Socialist German Reich , she was able to travel to Prague , where she lived for a while. When the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was established in 1939 after the German occupation of the Czecho-Slovak Republic by the Nazi regime , she was on vacation with friends in Switzerland; she stayed there until the end of the war. Relatives supported her financially. During this time she converted to Catholicism . In 1945 she moved to Gillingham to live with her son Karl . Her brother Otto arranged her return to Vienna in 1948.

She could no longer build on her literary successes. All of her literary contacts she had known before 1938 were dead or emigrated. She earned her living with the help of her son Karl and a sister-in-law. She died three years later after suffering for a long time. In the Neue Freie Presse of July 25, 1951 there is a note about the “deceased colleague Pollaczek”, who as a writer belonged to Arthur Schnitzler's circle and who became known for her early columnist essays. On July 26th, Clara Katharina Pollaczek was buried in a grave of honor of the City of Vienna in the Sieveringen cemetery .

Her son Karl Pollaczek, who practiced as a doctor, was arrested by the Gestapo in 1938. After his release, he fled with his wife and daughter to Switzerland on June 20, 1938, from there to Great Britain. In exile in England he called himself Kary Pole. In his 1982 autobiography, Two halves of a Life , he told the story of his family and his mother's life during World War II . According to his information, Clara's sister Anna, who was also active in literature, was murdered in the Theresienstadt concentration camp . Clara's brother Otto, a lawyer, survived in Vienna: as Kary Pole suspected because of his services in the First World War . The Austrian literary scholar Stephan Kurz believes it is more likely that his marriage to a Catholic who did not get divorced protected him. He was able to continue working as a “consultant, approved to give legal advice to Jews”. Her brother Alfred was a member of the Hagenbund as a painter . In 1939 he had his residence in London according to an entry in the general artist encyclopedia. He died in a monastery in 1945. Clara's eldest son Herrmann had emigrated to Argentina via Hamburg as early as 1931.

Relationship with Arthur Schnitzler

Arthur Schnitzler (around 1900)

Clara Loeb met Arthur Schnitzler on New Year's Eve in 1896 at one of her parents' house parties, to which they invited important artists and writers of their time. It was there that she met Hugo von Hofmannsthal . In her and Schnitzler's diaries there are references to an affair with Hofmannsthal. Both poets encouraged her to write literary works. In his diary, Schnitzler called her "the lovely little girl with big eyes". They corresponded with each other until Clara Loeb's marriage in 1898. She also discussed literary topics with him. They saw each other often as part of the family. She wrote that she wanted to arrange what she described as "nervous gatherings", but it is not certain whether there were two-person encounters. Clara's parents disapproved of her dealings with Schnitzler as well as with other men. During their marriage, their correspondence with Schnitzler broke off.

After the death of her husband, Clara Katharina Pollaczek felt free, as her son Karl reported in his memoir. She had other male acquaintances before she developed a closer relationship with Schnitzler. An exchange of letters, occasional encounters since 1915 and a telephone conversation are documented in Schnitzler's diary. After Schnitzler's divorce from Olga Gussmann in 1921, they met continuously. They went to theaters and museums, walks in Viennese parks, and later also trips, but most often they went to the cinema. During this time, a sexual relationship outside of marriage was taboo for a woman in Viennese society. Katharina Pollaczek did not adhere to this convention. She was 48 years old when she began a love affair with the 61-year-old Schnitzler. They were a couple from 1923 until his death in 1931. However, they did not live together, and neither of them has any intention to marry. Schnitzler told her that their relationship could be given the title of Chekhov's novella In the Shadow of Death .

Literary work became a financial necessity for Clara Pollaczek after the death of her husband. She was in constant financial need, but did not want to be supported by Schnitzler. At Christmas 1924 he gave her a typewriter. He read almost everything she wrote and she became a critic of his works, whose judgments and suggestions he valued.

Arthur Schnitzler was not her exclusive partner, but also felt a connection with Suzanne Clauser and Hedy Kempny, although he tried to keep this a secret from her. He was also in close contact with his divorced wife Olga. Clara Katharina Pollaczek often complained that he did not show enough company with her and that he did not publicly acknowledge her as his lover. There were also arguments because she had declared herself an 'anti-Semite', as Schnitzler noted in his diary. Conflicts shaped the relationship, which increased from 1929 onwards. Fear of commitment was an essential characteristic of Schnitzler's love life. However, neither of them could decide to end the partnership. She noted in her diary: “He always, he doesn't want and can't lose me. He wants his freedom, he wants to be alone and then with me again and I should always be there for him somewhere in the world and nobody means as much to him as I do. "

The more they grew apart, the more often they went to the cinema. The selection of films was arbitrary, from sentimental touching pieces to world-famous classics. Both recorded around 500 cinema visits between 1923 and 1931 in their diaries and thus provided information on how films were received in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as on the circumstances surrounding their meetings. Pollaczek's entries from 1930/31 show that going to the cinema was only a distraction and distraction for her. In the last year of Schnitzler's life, they discovered listening to the radio as a common pastime.

On August 26, 1931, Clara Pollaczek attempted suicide using sleeping pills. She was saved by her son Karl, who had become a doctor. In her novel Between the Generations of 1930, she had prepared a similar experiment for the heroine, but did not let her drink the glass with the dissolved veronal . In her letter narration of the death of Countess Anastasia and her poem To Death , she also dealt with the subject of suicide.

In her diary she also recorded Schnitzler's health problems and his physical decline. On the day of his death on October 21, she wrote: “I held his head in my hands until his last breath.” At his funeral in the Burgtheater on November 15, 1931, Clara Katharina Pollaczek gave the commemorative speech in the form of a poem that she wrote for him had written.

After his death Pollaczek worked on the basis of her diaries, which she had kept from 1924 to 1931, and the correspondence with Schnitzler, and dictated the text to Schnitzler's secretary in the winter months of 1931 and 1932. The typescript was over 900 pages long them under the title Arthur Schnitzler and me . It has been accessible in the manuscript collection of the Vienna Library in the City Hall since 1949 and was intended for publication after her death.

State of research

The earliest publication dealing with Clara Katharina Pollaczek's typescript Arthur Schnitzler and I is an article by the American Germanist and Schnitzler biographer William H. Rey in Germanic Review in 1966 . He judged it to be an important biographical document about the age phase of the Schnitzler man. However, the text must be read as a “subjective expression of a loving and suffering woman soul”. Renate Wagner made it the starting material for her book Women around Arthur Schnitzler , published in 1980, and designed Clara Katharina Pollaczek as a lover in the chapter The fifth act . The Italian researcher Giuseppe Farese interpreted the correspondence between Pollaczek and Schnitzler in his biography from 1997 Arthur Schnitzler. A life in Vienna 1862–1931 changed to Schnitzler's medical history and portrayed Pollaczek as a pathologically jealous companion who drove Schnitzler to her death.

On the occasion of Arthur Schnitzler's 150th birthday in 2012, Michael Rohrwasser and Stephan Kurz published the volume A. is sometimes like a small child as the result of a research project started at the University of Vienna in 2008 . Clara Katharina Pollaczek and Arthur Schnitzler go out to the cinema . In addition to the couple's cinema-related notes, it contains an essay on the life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek and the first annotated Pollaczek bibliography . For the first time excerpts from her typescript were published. Until then it was hardly known beyond a small circle of Schnitzler specialists and only marginally scientifically developed. Stephan Kurz writes: "Although Pollaczek's three-volume typescript has already been" discovered "several times by research, its author disappears almost completely in the representations that you mention."


Unless otherwise stated, the narrative and dramatic works as well as individual poems were published in the Neue Freie Presse , Vienna.


  • Mimi. Silhouettes from a girl's life , sequence of scenes with a prologue by Hugo von Hofmannsthal . In: Neue Deutsche Rundschau, April 1, 1897, pp. 396-413. Reprinted in: Hansjörg Graf (Hrsg.): Der kleine Salon. Scenes and prose from the Viennese fin de siècle . With illustrations by Gustav Klimt . Henry-Goverts-Verlag, Stuttgart 1970, ISBN 3-7740-0381-5 , pp. 231-268.
  • Redoubt . Play in One Act (1926)
  • Lady . Drama (1930)


  • Between the generations. 1920.
  • The slope. 1924.
  • Love child. In: Neues Wiener Tagblatt . 1926.
  • The beauty of Konstanze. 1929.
  • The climb. 1929.
  • The daughter of the house. 1929.
  • Between the generations. 1930.
  • Mothers. 1931.
  • Between the generations. 1933.

Novellas, short stories

  • The farewell party of Sybille Eugerth. 1924.
  • The death of Countess Anastasia. 1925.
  • The eternal student. 1925.
  • Girl for everything. 1926.
  • Murder. 1927.
  • The daughter of the house. 1929.
  • The Miss of Corday d'Armont. 1931.
  • The chain. 1932.


  • Eve. 1926.
  • After sunset. 1927.
  • Knowledge of death. 1928.
  • In an airplane / flight for two. 1929.
  • Memorial Walk (Cottage 1933)
  • His room. 1934.
  • Poems of love . European publisher, Vienna / Leipzig 1936.


  • Paul Géraldy: You and I (Toi et moi) . Poems from the French retouched by Clara Katharina Pollaczek, Zsolnay Verlag, Vienna 1927.


  • Arthur Schnitzler and me. 1896-1931, vols. 1-3. Unpublished typescript. Vienna 1931–1932.


Web links

Commons : Clara Katharina Pollaczek  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. She did not acquire the middle name Katharina until 1918. In: Stephan Kurz, p. 15.
  2. According to Kary Poles memoir, quoted by Andreas Tallian, she died of the consequences of a long-undiscovered cancer, in: In the shadow of death: the relationship between Arthur Schnitzler and Clara Katharina Pollaczek . Vienna 2010, p. 10. " Osteochondrosis of the spine , spondylosis and cardiac muscle degeneration" is entered as the cause of death on the death certificate . In: Stephan Kurz: In the shadow of Schnitzler. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. P. 25.
  3. "His partner from 1923 to 1931 was Clara Katharina Pollaczek, who was 13 years younger, widowed and mother of two." Nikoloj Beier: Above all, I am me. Judaism, acculturation and anti-Semitism in Arthur Schnitzler's life and work . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-8353-0255-6 , p. 262.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Little Chronicle. In:  Die Neuzeit , February 11, 1898, p. 6 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / maintenance / new
  2. Little Chronicle. In:  Die Neuzeit , February 18, 1898, p. 4 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / maintenance / new
  3. Stephan Kurz: In the shadow of Schnitzler. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. in: Michael Rohrwasser, Stephan Kurz (Ed.) with the assistance of Daniel Schoppe: Stephan Kurz: Im Schatten Schnitzlers. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. In: Michael Rohrwasser, Stephan Kurz (ed.) With the assistance of Daniel Schoppe: “A. is sometimes like a small child. ”Clara Katharina Pollaczek and Arthur Schnitzler go to the cinema. P. 12.
  4. Stephan Kurz: Connected bibliography on Clara Katharina Pollaczek. P. 35.
  5. a b c Stephan Kurz: In the shadow of Schnitzler. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. P. 14.
  6. Andreas Tallian: In the shadow of death: the relationship between Arthur Schnitzler and Clara Katharina Pollaczek . University of Vienna 2010, p. 6.
  7. Little Chronicle. In:  Die Neuzeit , May 13, 1898, p. 7 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / maintenance / new
  8. Kaufmännischer Ball. In:  Neues Wiener Tagblatt. Democratic organ / Neues Wiener Abendblatt. Evening edition of the (") Neue Wiener Tagblatt (") / Neues Wiener Tagblatt. Evening edition of the New Wiener Tagblatt / Wiener Mittagsausgabe with Sportblatt / 6 o'clock evening paper / Neues Wiener Tagblatt. Neue Freie Presse - Neues Wiener Journal / Neues Wiener Tagblatt , February 14, 1898, p. 5 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nwg
  9. Little Chronicle. In:  Die Neuzeit , February 25, 1898, p. 6 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / maintenance / new
  10. Quoted by Stephan Kurz: In the shadow of death: the relationship between Arthur Schnitzler and Clara Katharina Pollaczek. P. 14.
  11. Stephan Kurz: In the shadow of Schnitzler. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. P. 15.
  12. Stephan Kurz: In the shadow of Schnitzler. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. P. 19.
  13. Clara Katharina Pollaczek in the database Women in Motion 1848–1938 of the Austrian National Library
  14. Konstanze Fliedl: Delays. Schnitzler's "Therese" as an anti-trivial novel. In: Yearbook of the German Schiller Society 33 (1989), p. 330, note 33. Quoted by Stephan Kurz: Im Schatten Schnitzlers. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. P. 16.
  15. Stephan Kurz, p. 23.
  16. Andreas Tallian, 5.
  17. Stephan Kurz: In the shadow of Schnitzler. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. P. 25.
  18. Stephan Kurz, p. 26, p. 25.
  19. KFM (Kary Frederick Michael) Pole: Two Halves Of A Life. The autobiography of a Viennese doctor who escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria and built up a new life and medical career in England. Meresborough Books, Gillingham 1982.
  20. Stephan Kurz, p. 24.
  21. Stephan Kurz, p. 32, note 81
  22. Stephan Kurz, p. 24.
  23. Stephan Kurz, p. 32, note 71
  24. Stephan Kurz, p. 13 and p. 29, fn. 29
  25. Arthur Schnitzler: Diary 1893–1902 (note 6) p. 167. Quoted by Andreas Tallian, p. 13.
  26. Andreas Tallian, p. 24
  27. Andreas Tallian, Introduction, p. 3.
  28. Stephan Kurz, p. 19.
  29. Andreas Tallian, p. 35
  30. Andreas Tallian, p. 16
  31. Andreas Tallian, p. 21
  32. Andreas Tallian, p. 18
  33. Michaela L. Perlmann: Arthur Schnitzler . JB Metzler , Weimar 1987, ISBN 3-476-10239-4 , p. 24.
  34. Quoted by Andreas Tallian, p. 83.
  35. Schnitzler Year 2012: Romantic visits to the cinema and more . Guest contribution by Stephan Kurz. Media portal of the University of Vienna April 25, 2012
  36. Published in 1936 in the volume Gedichte der Liebe
  37. Stephan Kurz, p. 31 and p. 31, fn. 67
  38. Quoted by Andreas Tallian, p. 77.
  39. ^ "Neue Freie Presse", No. 24128, Vienna, November 15, 1931. ANNO. Historical Austrian newspapers and magazines
  40. William H. Rey: Arthur Schnitzler And I. The legacy of Clara Katharina Pollaczek. In: The Germanic Review. Literature, Culture, Theory, 41/2, March 1966, p. 120, quoted by Stephan Kurz, Im Schatten Schnitzlers. P. 11.
  41. Renate Wagner: Women around Arthur Schnitzler. Verlag Jugend und Volk, Vienna / Munich 1980, ISBN 3-7141-7102-9 , the fifth chapter. P. 145f.
  42. Giuseppe Farese: Arthur Schnitzler: una vita a Vienna, 1862-1931, Mondadori, Milano 1997 ./ Arthur Schnitzler. A life in Vienna 1862–1931 . Publishing house CH Beck, Munich 1999.
  43. Stephan Kurz, p. 12.
  44. Sylvia Mattl-Wurm in the foreword to “A. is sometimes like a little child ”. Clara Katharina Pollaczek and Arthur Schnitzler go to the cinema. P. 5.
  45. Stephan Kurz. In the shadow of Schnitzler. Life and work of Clara Katharina Pollaczek (1875–1951 ), in: Rohrwasser, Kurz (Ed.): A. is sometimes like a small child. Clara Katharina Pollaczek and Arthur Schnitzler go to the cinema. (= Manu Scripta. Volume 2). Böhlau. Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-205-78746-4 , p. 11.
  46. Stephan Kurz: Annotated bibliography on Clara Katharina Pollaczek. In: Stephan Kurz, Michael Rohrwasser (Eds.): “A. is sometimes like a little child ”. Clara Katharina Pollaczek and Arthur Schnitzler go to the cinema. Böhlau, Vienna 2010, p. 35 ff.