Egon Erwin Kisch

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Egon Erwin Kisch in Melbourne (1934)

Egon Erwin Kisch (actually Egon Kisch; born April 29, 1885 in Prague ; died March 31, 1948 there ) was an Austrian , later Czechoslovakian writer , journalist and reporter . He is considered one of the most important reporters in the history of journalism . Because of his closeness to communism and his partially free handling of facts, he was always viewed critically. He is known as "the mad reporter" from the title of one of his reportage volumes.

Life and work until 1918

Childhood and youth

Memorial plaque on Kisch's birthplace in Prague

Egon Erwin Kisch grew up in a German-speaking family. He was the second of five sons of the Jewish cloth merchant Hermann Kisch and his wife Ernestine. His original name was Egon Kisch, and he only began to use his middle name Erwin later as his literary pseudonym . The family lived in a Renaissance house "To the two golden bears" in Prague's Melantrichgasse (today Melantrichova); Their cloth shop was on the first floor of the house. Kisch spent his first school years in private schools that were located in Catholic monasteries. In 1891 he learned in the Seidl School in the Servite Monastery in St. Michael, from 1892 in the so-called Piarist School at the Piarist Monastery . From 1895 he attended secondary school  - the imperial-royal First German State School in Prague on Nikolandergasse, popularly known as the Nikolander School. Kisch later used many of his school experiences in his stories and reports.

Kisch's father died in 1901. In 1903, thanks to the financial support of his mother, Egon was able to make his first long trip: He visited various places in Austria and Bavaria and wrote down his impressions of this trip in a diary. In October of the same year he began to study at the Technical University in Prague , but after a semester he moved to the German-speaking Karl Ferdinand University , where he attended lectures on the history of German literature and the history of medieval philosophy. In 1903 he became a connoisseur of the equal fraternity Saxonia Prague in the Burschenbunds-Convent . Kisch fought several saber marks: in the bar of a Jewish liquor merchant in the Zigeunergasse against the chairman of the German national association Germania, in the garage of a German hotel in the Neustadt against an opponent who later played a role in the Czech national life of the newly founded republic, and in a dilapidated monastery wing against a Jewish doctor from Chernivtsi. He wrote a treatise on the Prague scale system (contained in Aus Prager Gassen und Nights ).

In October 1904 Kisch began his military service in the Austro-Hungarian Army . As a graduate of secondary school, he was able to do the service as a one-year volunteer ; Because of his attitude, there were frequent conflicts between him and his superiors (who thought he was an anarchist ), so he spent a large part of the year in prison . At the end of his service, Kisch did not receive the usual promotion to reserve officer for one-year volunteers, but was dismissed with the rank of corporal . While in custody, he first came into contact with various left-wing opponents of the system that ruled Austria-Hungary, which he later described as follows:

“Freedom fanatics, anti-authoritarians, fanatics of equality, full of hatred for dumbbells and nerds and militarism, even if not for political convictions or for socially conscious reasons [...] They have given me a lot of precious hatred against the privileged society, and I thank them honestly. "

Beginnings of literary creation and journalistic work

Kisch's first literary attempts date back to his school days: around the turn of the year 1899/1900 he published a poem in a Prague newspaper and signed it by Erwin Kisch. He did this to avoid any inconvenience in the school - the management of the Nikolander School forbade their students from publishing in the press. This self-chosen middle name Erwin also appeared on the cover of Kisch's debut book - the volume of poetry Vom Blutzweig der Jugend, which was published in Dresden in 1905 with financial support from his mother and which he signed with Egon Erwin Kisch. From that moment on, Kisch always used this double first name in his work.

Front page of the Prague newspaper Bohemia (1909), for which Kisch worked as a reporter from 1906 to 1913

In 1906, Kisch's second book was published - the volume published in Berlin with narratives and stories (the only one in his life in which he dealt with this genre of literature) under the title Der cheeky Franz and other stories. Kisch's stay in Berlin was the result of his studies at the private Wredeschen Journalist College , where he enrolled immediately after his discharge from the military. But Kisch only studied one semester at this university; in March 1906 he returned to Prague and began to work as a volunteer for the German-language “ Prager Tagblatt ”, where he stayed for about six weeks. In April, Kisch was employed by the renowned Prague daily Bohemia , where he worked as a local reporter covering daily events in Prague - this was the beginning of Kisch's actual career as a reporter and journalist. At Bohemia , Kisch worked with Paul Wiegler , an experienced writer and journalist, who supported him in his work. In the years 1910–1911 Kisch had a permanent rubric under the title Prague Forays; his journalistic and reporter work at the newspaper (for which he worked for seven years, from 1906 to 1913), went beyond writing weekly feature articles. Because of his job, Kisch often had contact with the Prague demi and underworld when he described burglary, arson, whore fights, etc. in his newspaper. He later used many of these experiences in his report volumes from Prague streets and nights (1912), Adventures in Prague (1920) and in his only novel The Girl Shepherd from 1914, which tells about the milieu of Prague prostitutes and pimps.

Kisch also got to know the literary and artistic milieu of Prague, both German and Czech. Among the writers he met at the time were Paul Leppin , Rainer Maria Rilke , Max Brod , Franz Kafka and Jaroslav Hašek , the author of the adventures of the good soldier Schwejk during the World War  - with the latter he enjoyed a long friendship. Kisch was a frequent guest in the restaurant "Zum Weißen Hasen", the meeting place of Prague bohemians, and in the night café "Montmartre". He made use of the stories he learned there in many of his literary reports, e. B. in the famous story The Ascension of the Galgentoni.

During his work at Bohemia, Kisch also went abroad: in 1907 he visited Piraeus , Constantinople and Naples , in 1909 he visited the - then still local  - Adriatic coast and Brioni , and in 1911 he made a trip on a raft on the Vltava and Elbe , going to Magdeburg (he described his impressions of this trip in a report). In 1911, Kisch interviewed the American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who was visiting Prague . In 1912 he made a trip to London and Antwerp .

The Colonel Redl affair

Alfred Redl , 1913 protagonist of an important espionage affair, the discovery of which established Kisch's journalistic fame.

One of Kisch's last tasks during his work for Bohemia and at the same time one of his greatest achievements as a reporter was investigative journalism in the form of the disclosure of the affair surrounding the suicide of Colonel Alfred Redl . Redl, who worked for the evidence office - the kuk military intelligence service  - was exposed as a Russian spy and finally committed suicide on May 25, 1913. The General Staff saw the monarchy as compromised by this affair and tried to cover up what was thwarted by Kisch's publication. Already in the issue of the Bohemia of May 28th he published a short note which read:

"We are asked by high authorities to refute the rumors that have emerged especially in military circles that the Chief of Staff of the Prague Corps, Colonel Alfred Redl, who committed suicide in Vienna the day before yesterday, betrayed military secrets and carried out espionage for Russia ."

The alleged denial achieved its goal. From the note, not only the general public, but also the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph and the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand learned of the largest espionage affair before the First World War ; it could no longer be kept secret. Kisch described his research on Redl in detail in the book The Fall of the Chief of Staff Redl, published in 1924.

First World War

In June 1913, Kisch moved to Berlin, where he worked for the Berliner Tageblatt newspaper . In the spring of 1914 he worked briefly as a dramaturge at the Berlin German Art Theater (he replaced Gerhart Hauptmann in this position ); on July 31, however, he entered the 11th Infantry Regiment in Písek (South Bohemia) as part of the mobilization . Three days earlier, Austria-Hungary had declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia - the First World War had begun.

With his regiment, which belonged to the "Prague" VIII. Corps, Kisch took part as a corporal in the first campaign against Serbia in 1914 . Among other things, he experienced the defeat of the Austrians on the Drina . In February 1915, Kisch was transferred to the Russian front with the Prague Corps and seriously wounded on March 18. Until then he kept a diary which was published shortly after the war (1922) under the title As a soldier in the Prague Corps and today under the title, changed in 1929, Write that down, Kisch! is known. After being released from a Prague hospital, he was classified as "unfit for field service". Since 1916 he worked as a censor in the stage in Gyula in Hungary . During this time he got to know more and more anarchists, pacifists and democrats among the soldiers ; through these contacts his critical attitude to social and political questions increased.

End of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy - turning to communism

In 1917, at his own request, Kisch was assigned to the rank of first lieutenant in the Kuk war press quarter in Vienna , whose task it was to coordinate all press information and propaganda activities of the Danube monarchy during the First World War. Paradoxically, this relocation caused the definitive breakthrough in Kisch's worldview and political activity. In Vienna he came into contact with the Association of Independent Workers' Youth, and in November 1917 Kisch took part in a conference of the illegal action committee of the radical left in St. Aegyd am Neuwalde . The committee decided to found an illegal workers and soldiers council . A committee of three, including Egon Erwin Kisch, was entrusted with this task. After the founding of the council, Kisch became a member.

In January 1918 he helped organize a general strike. All of this caught the attention of his superiors, who ordered him to serve in the Austro-Hungarian Navy . Kisch took part in the last offensive of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, the aim of which was to break through the Otranto barrier and to open the route from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean . The offensive was interrupted after Italian motor torpedo boats sank the battleship SMS Szent István on June 10th . Kisch returned to Vienna and took an active part in the stormy events of the last months of 1918, which ended with the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. On November 1, 1918, there was a soldiers' meeting in which the " Red Guard " was founded and Lieutenant Kisch - one of the speakers - was elected its first "Commander". He only held this position until November 18, when he had to resign under pressure from the Social Democrats in the government. However, he continued to command the second battalion, and the soldiers elected him "Commissar" of the Red Guard.

The proclamation of the Republic of German Austria on November 12, 1918 in front of the Parliament building in Vienna. Kisch took part in the demonstration as the leader of the Red Guard .

Kisch took part in all the important events that led to the fall of the monarchy and the proclamation of the Republic of German Austria on November 12, 1918 . On that day he and his soldiers occupied the editorial office of the Neue Freie Presse for a few hours , in which his older brother Paul also worked as an editor. He, like all other members of the editorial team, is said to have responded with the words “Egonek, Egonek, I'll write this to mom”. Kisch ordered a special edition of the daily newspaper to be printed with the date of issue “8 o'clock in the evening” on the same day in which the headline “Workers and Soldiers Vienna!” Read that the Communist Party of German Austria wanted to fill the editorial team “for to demonstrate the idea of ​​the immediate realization of the socialist republic ”. After the appearance of two special editions, the Red Guard left the building.

In November 1918, Kisch took part in the organization of the Federation of Revolutionary Socialists, "Internationale". The organ of the federation was the weekly newspaper Der Freie Arbeiter, and Kisch was responsible for the permanent supplement for soldiers "The Red Guard" in the newspaper. He edited the supplement until March 1919. Because of his disappointment with political developments and the increasing number of threats, he finally gave up this work.

In May 1919 he became a member of the Communist Party of Austria after his "Federation of Revolutionary Socialists" had united with it.

Writer's career as a mad reporter in the Weimar Republic (1918–1933)

Kisch became known as the mad reporter in the pulsating Berlin of the twenties. In the picture: Dancers in the early morning hours during the six-day race , which Kisch also reported.

Return to journalistic and literary work

After the revolutionary endeavors in daily politics had died down, Kisch continued to be active as a writer on political and social issues. From March to June 1919 he worked as a reporter for the left-wing Viennese newspaper Der Neue Tag. After the political situation in Austria had stabilized, he was declared an undesirable person and expelled from the country. He returned to Prague.

In 1921 Kisch moved back to Berlin, which was to remain his main residence until 1933. Here he worked, among other things, on the anthology of classical journalism; he did research and collected materials for this book in the State Library ( Unter den Linden ). In 1921 he met Jarmila Amrozová in Berlin, who, after later marrying the Prague journalist Vincenc Nečas as Jarmila Haasová-Nečasová, became his long-time friend and translator of his works into Czech. In 1922 he became a Berlin correspondent for the Brno daily Lidové noviny . The work for this newspaper was his main source of income, but he also published in many other newspapers and mainly edited reports.

Travel reports

First edition of the report volume Paradies Amerika, Berlin 1930

The material for his reports was provided by Kisch's travels from Berlin throughout Europe and around the world, especially multiple visits to the Soviet Union (for the first time in 1925), Algeria and Tunisia (1927), the USA (several months in the turn of the year 1928–1929) and China (1932). This extraordinary activity of Kisch meant that the title of one of his report volumes -  The mad reporter of 1924 - became his nickname, which is still known today.

As early as 1923 he visited Maxim Gorki , who was then in Bad Saarow . In November 1925 he joined the Communist Party of Germany , and in the following month he was able to travel to the “fatherland of the world proletariat ”. He published his impressions in the magazine Das Neue Russland and the communist daily Die Rote Fahne ; In 1927 he published his first volume of reports on the Soviet Union: Tsars, Popes and Bolsheviks, followed by the second volume in 1932: Asia Thoroughly Changed, which told of the Soviet republics in Central Asia . Kisch was full of enthusiasm for the political and social changes in real socialist Russia.

Kisch paints a completely different picture in the reports about his several months' trip to the United States at the turn of 1928/1929. After Kisch had left the ship in New York City , he embarked again, this time as an ordinary seaman on board the cargo ship Jefferson Myers , with which he drove from Baltimore via the Panama Canal to San Pedro (now part of Los Angeles in California ); there he met with Charlie Chaplin and the socially critical writer Upton Sinclair , among others . He returned to New York via San Francisco , Chicago and Detroit . A series of reports from this trip (which, as a communist, he had to make under the code name Dr. Becker) was published by Kisch in 1930 under the ironic title Paradise America.

The last large volume of reports that was allowed to appear in Germany in the 1930s was China secret from 1933 - the fruit of his trip in 1932 to China, which was then torn by civil war and threatened by the Manchurian crisis with Japan.

Historical reports

The writer also dealt with his immediate surroundings, especially from a historical point of view. He processed his own experiences, for example when he published his diary from the First World War in 1922 as a soldier in the Prager Corps (from 1929 on as write that down, Kisch! ) Or in 1924 the affair about Colonel Redl (The Fall of the Chief of Staff Redl) revealed. He related stories he had heard in Prague pubs, did research, historical "investigations" and was interested in the Jewish community. The fruits of these studies were the Kriminalistische Reiseuch from 1937, a description of crimes from all times and countries, the collection of stories from seven ghettos from 1934 and, above all, the much-vaunted Prague Pitaval from 1931, in which Kisch described crime stories from his hometown.

Dramatic creation

Kisch also tried his hand at drama; the pieces were mostly adaptations of his prose works. While still in Prague, his novel The Girl Shepherd was performed on the stage in Czech ; in Berlin he wrote the comedy Die stolen Stadt from 1922 (based on his historical reportage Käsebier and Fridericus Rex about Christian Andreas Käsebier , a thief from Halle (Saale), and the Prussian King Friedrich II. ), the drama Die Hetzjagd (the story by Colonel Redl), the tragic comedy The Ascension of the Galgentoni and, in collaboration with Jaroslav Hašek, the satire The Journey around Europe in 365 Days from 1930.

In political exile (1933–1946)

Expulsion from Germany

Kisch on board the British liner Strathaird en route to Australia (1934). As a delegate to the anti-war congress in Melbourne, he was officially banned from entering the country. He broke the ban by jumping overboard.

One day after the fire in the Reichstag , on February 28 at 5 a.m., Kisch was arrested and, after being questioned at the Alexanderplatz police headquarters on the night of March 1 to 2, was taken to what would later become the Spandau war crimes prison on grounds of “urgent suspicion of participating in high treason” . Kisch was of Jewish descent, initially an Austro-Hungarian and then a Czechoslovak citizen. After the intervention of the embassy of Czechoslovakia , he was released on March 11th, escorted to the German-Czechoslovakian border and expelled from Germany. About this experience he wrote the report In den Kasematten von Spandau, which was published in the Prager Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung and caused a sensation.

Kisch immediately became involved in the resistance against National Socialism . In 1933 he gave a speech at the Anti-Fascist Workers' Congress of Europe in Paris. In 1934 he moved to Paris and Versailles  - until 1939 his "bases" for further trips. His books have now been printed by German emigration publishers in Paris, Amsterdam and other places.

Kisch's landing in Australia

In 1934, Kisch went to Australia on board the British liner Strathaird to take part in the All- Australian Anti-War Congress that was to take place in Melbourne . This became one of Kisch's best-known journeys because of the dramatic circumstances surrounding his arrival: When Kisch tried to disembark in Fremantle on the west coast of Australia, he was refused permission to stay in the country; even though he had a valid visa, his passport was also taken away from him by the British consulate in Paris. The reason was that the Australian authorities had since heard of Kisch's communist sentiments and declared him an undesirable person. Kisch took the ship on to Melbourne. There, on November 13th, at the last moment, when the ship was about to leave Melbourne harbor, Kisch jumped from the railing from almost six meters onto the quay and broke his leg in the process. He was brought back on board, and when the Strathaird arrived in the next harbor - Sydney  - on November 16  , he was disembarked, taken to the police station and, after long arguments, sentenced to three months of forced labor for attempted illegal border crossing but he did not serve, he was released on bail. In the meantime, Kisch's cause had caused quite a stir in Australia. The Australian left organized protests, strikes and demonstrations, after all it almost came to a government crisis: the Australian Attorney General Robert Menzies (who later became Prime Minister of Australia) was accused of sympathizing with the Nazis. Eventually, under public pressure, Kisch was released and allowed to stay in Australia. The enthusiastically acclaimed writer made several journeys through the fifth continent, the fruit of which was the journal Landing in Australia . Not published until 1937, this was Kisch's last major publication before the start of World War II .

Political engagement in Paris and in the Spanish Civil War

Original edition of the brochure The Three Cows , Madrid 1938. Kisch's best-known report from the Spanish Civil War

In 1935, Kisch returned to Europe and was again involved in anti-fascist work. Among other things, he took part in June 1935 at the 1st International Writers' Congress for the Defense of Culture in Paris, where he was elected to the Congress Board with Heinrich Mann as representative of the German delegates. At the congress he gave the report reportage as an art form and form of combat. Kisch also took part in the II International Writers' Congress, which took place in July 1937 in Madrid , the capital of Spain , then torn by civil war . During this time, Kisch visited various sections of the front as a reporter and interviewed soldiers from the International Brigades . The fruits of this work were smaller newspaper reports and the two individual publications The Three Cows and Soldiers on the Sea Beach, which were published as brochures in 1938 by publishers of the International Brigades. At the beginning of May 1938, Kisch returned to Versailles. In October he married Gisela (Gisl) Lyner (1895–1962), whom he had met in Vienna in 1919. In 1939 he worked on a manuscript about the postmaster Jean-Baptiste Drouet from Sainte-Menehould , who in June 1791 in Varennes the flight of Louis XVI. had thwarted. This manuscript has not survived.

Exile in the USA and Mexico

At the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939, Kisch was forcibly resettled as a "politically insecure foreigner" by the French authorities to a village near Versailles and placed there under police supervision. Thanks to the help of Gilberto Bosques , the Mexican consul general in Paris, who issued him a visa, Kisch managed to escape from France to the American continent at the end of 1939.

The first stage on his exile was the United States, where he had difficulties entering the United States and had to wait several days on Ellis Island before he was granted a transit visa on December 28, 1939. In New York, Kisch lived under difficult conditions. In 1936 he had signed a contract with the American publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. for his autobiography under the title Crawling in the Inky River , but in the changed political situation the publisher terminated the contract. In New York, Kisch dealt with research on the living conditions of New York Jews. In the summer of 1940 his wife Gisela (Gisl) also came from Europe, and at the end of the year the couple decided to go to Mexico . During the Second World War, Mexico was a lively center of cultural life for German emigrants (see German refugees in Mexico ). In November 1941, the German emigrants - including the writers Alexander Abusch , Ludwig Renn , Anna Seghers , Bodo Uhse  - founded the Heinrich Heine Club in Mexico City ; its president was Anna Seghers, and Kisch was elected vice-president. The reporter wrote articles for the exile newspaper Free Germany . In 1941, Modern Age Books in New York published his memoirs in English, which the publisher Alfred A. Knopf had previously refused to publish, albeit under a different title: Sensation Fair ; the following year they were published in the original in German as a marketplace of sensations at the exile publisher El Libro Libre in Mexico.

Kisch used his travels in Mexico to write the volume Discoveries in Mexico, which appeared in 1945 before the end of the war. This was the last book by Egon Erwin Kisch.

Return to Prague. The last years of life (1946–1948)

Egon Erwin Kisch's grave in the Vinohrady cemetery in Prague

Kisch left Mexico City on February 17, 1946 and first took the train to New York. After a short stopover and reunions with old friends, he took the ship to Europe and returned to Prague on March 21st. Two of his brothers perished during the war - Arnold in the Litzmannstadt ghetto in 1942, Paul in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. (The third brother, Wolfgang, died in the First World War in 1914).

Kisch was involved in the political life of Czechoslovakia, in which the Communist Party became more and more important. He advocated the new order, although for his German-speaking friends it meant expulsion from Prague and the whole country.

He wanted to write another book about liberated Czechoslovakia; the last report from his pen was Karl Marx in Karlsbad . His health suddenly deteriorated: in November 1947 he had his first stroke , followed by the second on March 24, 1948. Egon Erwin Kisch died on March 31, 1948 in the Prague clinic on Kateřinská Street, cared for to the end by his wife Gisl and his girlfriend Jarmila Haasová-Nečasová. He is buried in the Vinohrady cemetery in Prague.


Photo montage based on a Kisch picture by Lotte Jacobi (BRD postage stamp 1985)

Kisch is often referred to as the creator of literary reportage. However, he did not invent literary reportage, but rather referred to borrowings he took from 19th century authors, such as Jack London or his youthful journalistic role model, Émile Zola . Rather, Kisch deserves the credit of having achieved first and permanent recognition in the literary world as a “mad reporter” through his informative and entertaining milieu descriptions of the report (which was originally considered a purely journalistic text type).

GDR commemorative stamp on the occasion of Kisch's 100th birthday in 1985; signed by Kisch and his birthplace in Prague

In recognition of the achievements in this regard , the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize donated by Henri Nannen was awarded between 1977 and 2004 on Kisch's birthday - an award for the best journalistic work of the respective year. In 2005, the journalist prize was included in the “Reportage” category of the newly created Henri Nannen Prize and is still considered the most important award among journalists in German-speaking countries. Nevertheless, since the 1920s there have been repeated references to Kisch's works in which he did not present facts in a strictly objective manner or (at the end of the First World War and during the years of his exile) openly appeared as a political propagandist. As early as 1925 , Kurt Tucholsky remarked on Kisch's journalistic objectivity :

“There is no person who does not have a point of view. Kisch has one too. Sometimes - unfortunately - that of the writer, then what he writes is not always good. Very often that of the man who simply reports: then he is very excellent, clean, interesting - although not very precisely, not factual enough. [...] Reportage is very serious, very difficult, extremely strenuous work that requires a whole guy. Kisch is one of them. He has talent, which is indifferent, and he has smell, energy, knowledge of human nature and resourcefulness, which are essential. [...] But however 'factually' you write or how far away from the topic you may write: it doesn't help. Every report, no matter how impersonal, always reveals the writer first, and in tropical nights, ship cabins, Parisian trading markets and London slums, all of which you can see through a thousand glasses - even if you don’t have them on - you always only write yourself. "

- Kurt Tucholsky : The mad reporter. In: The world stage. February 17, 1925, No. 7, p. 254.

In this regard, Kisch's political commitment (especially his lifelong commitment to the ideals of the communist movement) had a significant influence on the design and reception of his works during his lifetime. As an exposed anti-fascist , Kisch was permanently erased from the collective consciousness in National Socialist Germany - like many of the German-speaking exiled authors whose books were also burned in 1933. Among them, Kisch was one of the loyal communists during the years of Stalinist rule in the Soviet Union , which made the reception of his works even more difficult after the end of the Second World War and Kisch's death in 1948. The “mad reporter” was forgotten for decades to the west of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War . In the GDR he was part of the canon as a socialist author , his works were constantly reissued, summarized in a complete edition and were on the GDR bestseller lists for decades.

Based on the intensified rediscovery of German-speaking exiled authors in the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria, a more nuanced picture of Kisch's person gradually emerged that showed him as a socially committed cosmopolitan - socialized amidst the cultural diversity, social conflicts and contradictions of the Habsburg monarchy , traumatized by the horrors of the First World War, which contributed to his development into a committed reporter and internationalist.

From the 1930s at the latest after numerous trips through different continents, Kisch considered himself a “ citizen of the world ”. In 1938 he is said to have commented on this in a conversation with Friedrich Torberg :

“You know, nothing can happen to me. I am a German. I'm a czech I am a Jew. I come from a good family. I am a communist. I am a corps boy. Something like this always helps me. "


Stories from seven ghettos, Allert de Lange , Amsterdam 1934 (Illustr. Paul L. Urban )
Kisch's works in chronological order (first prints)
  • From the blossom branch of youth. Pierson, Dresden 1905 (poems).
  • The cheeky Franz. Hugo Steinitz, Berlin 1906 (stories).
  • From Prague streets and nights. A. Haase, Prague 1912. online
  • Prague children. A. Haase, Prague 1913. online
  • The girl shepherd. Erich Reiss , Berlin 1914 (novel).
  • The adventures in Prague. E. Strache, Prague / Vienna 1920. online
  • As a soldier in the Prague Corps. K. André, Prague / Leipzig 1922.
  • The stolen city . Erich Reiss, Berlin 1922.
  • Classic journalism. R. Kaemmerer, Berlin 1923 (editor).
  • The case of the Chief of Staff Redl . The forge, Berlin 1924.
  • The mad reporter. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1925. online
  • Chase through time. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1926.
  • Tsars, priests, Bolsheviks. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1927.
  • Criminal travel book. The forge, Berlin 1927.
  • Risks all over the world. Universum Library for All , Berlin 1927.
  • Max Hoelz : Letters from the prison. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1927 (editor).
  • Seven years of Max Hoelz legal scandal. Mopr, Berlin 1928.
  • Write that down, Kisch! A war diary. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1930. online (August 1, 1914 to March 22, 1915)
  • The journey around Europe in 365 days. A grotesque incident in 15 pictures. Arcadia Berlin 1930 (written with Jaroslav Hašek ).
  • Egon Erwin Kisch honors himself to present: Paradise America. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1930.
  • Prague Pitaval . Historical criminal cases from Bohemia. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1931.
  • Asia fundamentally changed. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1932.
  • From three parts of the world. State publishing house of the WUZWK, Charkow / Kiev 1932.
  • Egon Erwin Kisch reports: China is a secret. Erich Reiss, Berlin 1933.
  • About the background of the Reichstag fire. Rather, Munich 1933 (camouflage).
  • Stories from seven ghettos. Allert de Lange , Amsterdam 1934 (Illustr. Paul L. Urban).
  • Entry forbidden. Éditions du Carrefour , Paris 1934.
  • Adventure in five continents. Éditions du Carrefour, Paris 1936.
  • Landing in Australia. Allert de Lange, Amsterdam 1937.
  • The three cows . A peasant story between Tyrol and Spain. Madrid 1938 (Illustr. Amado Oliver Mauprivez).
  • Soldiers on the beach. Barcelona 1938.
  • Marketplace of sensations. El libro libre , Mexico City 1942.
  • Discoveries in Mexico. El libro libre, Mexico City 1945.
Collected work edition

In the years 1960 to 1985, the Aufbau-Verlag published an eleven-volume work edition under the name Gesammelte Werke in individual editions, which was reprinted in the 1990s (this time in twelve volumes). It was published by Bodo Uhse and Gisela Kisch, continued by Fritz Hofmann and Josef Polaček. The volumes (the title of the second edition in brackets) were:

  • Vol. 1 (1): The girl shepherd. - Write that down, Kisch! - comedies. 1960.
  • Vol. 2,1 (2): From Prague streets and nights - Prague children - The adventures in Prague. 1968.
  • Vol. 2,2 (3): Prager Pitaval - Late Reports. 1969.
  • Vol. 3 (4): Tsars, Priests, Bolsheviks - Asia thoroughly changed - China secret. 1961.
  • Vol. 4 (5): Paradise America - Landing in Australia. 1962.
  • Vol. 5 (6): The mad reporter - hunted through time - ventures all over the world - criminalistic travel book. 1972.
  • Vol. 6 (7): Stories from seven ghettos - entry prohibited - gleanings. 1973.
  • Vol. 7 (8): Marketplace of Sensations - Discoveries in Mexico. 1974.
  • Vol. 8 (9): My life for the newspaper. Part 1: 1906-1925. 1983.
  • Vol. 9 (10): My life for the newspaper. Part 2: 1926-1947. 1983.
  • Vol. 10 (11): Lice on the Market - Mixed Prose. 1985.
  • Vol. (12): Der cheeky Franz. 1993.
New editions


On biography and complete works
On selected topics in biography and work
  • Karin Ceballos Betancur: Egon Erwin Kisch in Mexico. Reportage as a form of literature in exile. Peter Lang , Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 978-3-631-35947-1 .
  • Joachim Gatterer: Egon Erwin Kisch in the Spanish Civil War , in: Marlen Bidwell-Steiner / Birgit Wagner (ed.): The Spanish Civil War as an (anti) humanistic laboratory, Vienna University Press / V&R unipress , Vienna / Göttingen 2019, p. 171– 186, ISBN 978-3-8470-0944-3 .
  • Joachim Gatterer: Local history and world literature: Egon Erwin Kisch's report on the war in Spain “The three cows”. In: Georg Pichler, Heimo Halbrainer (Ed.): Camaradas. Austrians in the Spanish Civil War. Clio-Verlag, Graz 2017, pp. 197-207, ISBN 978-3-902542-56-4 .
  • Rudolf Geissler: The development of Egon Erwin Kisch's report in the Weimar Republic. Pahl-Rugenstein, Cologne 1982, ISBN 3-7609-5092-2 .
  • Daniela Ihl: Egon Erwin Kisch's report book. Landing in Australia. A historical-literary study. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-631-60164-8 .
  • Ulrike Robeck: Egon Erwin Kisch at the Bochum club . An attempt at the essence of the reporter. Klartext Verlag , Essen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8375-0418-7 .
  • Ulrike Robeck: Egon Erwin Kisch in Essen. A “photograph” of the Krupp factories and RWE. Klartext Verlag, Essen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8375-0548-1 ( The nest of the cannon kings: Essen and general assembly of heavy industry. Reports from Essen, 1924).
  • Ulrike Robeck: Egon Erwin Kisch on the "Vaterland". An attempt to understand the Heizer report. Athena-Verlag , Oberhausen 2011, ISBN 978-3-89896-465-4 .
  • Ulrike Robeck: Egon Erwin Kisch's “Marketplace of Sensations”. A semi-autobiographical debut in exile. Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-8260-5929-2 .
  • Ulrike Robeck: Egon Erwin Kisch in Pola. War reports from the end of the war. Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8260-6380-0 .
  • [Without author] The "mad reporter" at Castan. In: Castan's Panopticum. A medium is viewed. Issue 8, Schütze, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-928589-23-9 .

Film adaptations


In 1985 the documentary Do you not know where Herr Kisch is , a co-production between the GDR and Czechoslovakia .

Radio features (podcast)

Web links

Commons : Egon Erwin Kisch  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Egon Erwin Kisch  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Erhard Schütz: He too had a problem with facts. Egon Erwin Kisch - an early Relotius? In: January 18, 2019, accessed January 27, 2019 .
  2. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 391-397.
  3. ^ Letter from Adolf Siegl to Hugo Hermann Pilger (1991).
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Klaus Haupt: Biography of Egon Erwin Kisch. At: 2008, accessed January 21, 2010.
  5. Egon Erwin Kisch: The tattooed portrait. Epilogue: Joachim Schreck. Verlag Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig 1984, pp. 400-401.
  6. ^ Kisch: The tattooed portrait. P. 402.
  7. Extract from the Austro-Hungarian loss list of June 4, 1915, No. 187, p. 4.
  8. With the words “Write that down, Kisch!” His comrades asked him to record the hardships of being a soldier at the front. “Write that down, Kisch!” Became the second popular phrase associated with Kisch's work alongside the predicate “mad reporter”.
  9. ^ The Republic of German Austria existed under this name until the ratification of the Treaty of Saint-Germain by the National Assembly on October 21, 1919.
  10. ^ Franz Endler: Austria between the lines. The transformation of land and people since 1848 in the mirror of the "press". Fritz Molden Verlag, Vienna 1973, ISBN 3-217-00467-1 , p. 216 ff.
  11. The anthology, which comprises 99 texts by 77 authors from four centuries (each text with an introduction by Kisch) was published in 1923.
  12. ^ Kisch: The tattooed portrait. P. 406.
  13. ^ Kisch: The tattooed portrait. Pp. 404-405.
  14. ^ Andreas B. Kilcher (Ed.): Metzler Lexicon of German-Jewish Literature. Jewish authors in the German language from the Enlightenment to the present. 2nd, updated and expanded edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02457-2 , p. 278.
  15. See the detailed report by the historian Peter Cochrane. ( Memento from September 21, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  16. ^ Markus G. Patka: Egon Erwin Kisch. Stations in the life of a contentious author. Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 1997, pp. 311–319.
  17. After the German troops occupied Paris and northern France, Bosques worked as a consul in Marseille in Vichy, France . There he is said to have saved tens of thousands of anti-fascists, communists and Jews from certain death by granting them visas of his country. The person of the consul was portrayed in the novel Transit by Anna Seghers , who was also able to save herself thanks to him.
  18. ^ Kisch: The tattooed portrait. P. 408.
  19. Holocaust victims database: Pavel Kisch
  20. Karl Marx in Karlsbad. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin / Weimar 1963 (3rd edition 1983).
  21. Klaus Jarchow: Poetry and Truth: When there were still reporters. ( Memento of December 9, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). December 23, 2008.
  22. ^ Kurt Tucholsky: The mad reporter. In: The world stage. February 17, 1925, No. 7, p. 254.
  23. Friedrich Torberg noted these words in his collection of anecdotes, Die Tante Jolesch, which was first published in 1975.