Body Christmas cake and his child

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Leib Christmas cake and his child is a short story by the Austrian writer Karl Emil Franzos , which was published in Berlin in 1896 .

time and place

Galicia in the first half of the 1860s: the action takes place in the village of Winkowce on the east bank of the Dnestr, inhabited by Ruthenian farmers and Orthodox Jews . On the train journey from Lemberg in a south-easterly direction to Chernivtsi , Halicz is reached halfway . The next village - before Jezupol - is Winkowce. The story takes place well before September 1, 1866, the day the railway line opened. The Austrians had mostly - following history - established Polish nobles as rulers in the villages of that area . The lord of Winkowce was the nobleman, Mr. Wladislaus von Paterski.


The 21-year-old raw, stupid farmer Janko Wygoda was in Winkowce - from mere appearance - as an "ugly person", but he was the only one in the village who received the 10-year-old Miriam - daughter of the poor, pious Jew Leib Christmas cake Could elicit a smile. Janko occasionally made toys for Miriam. For Miriam, Janko was neither a fool nor ugly, "just poor, good Janko, who has no other joy than chatting". Miriam had no other boyfriend. In all this, the Christian Janko had to hate Miriam's father, the Jews' body. Because Janko's parents drank their property together with this tenant of the village inn during their lifetime. In addition, Leib sometimes served the three usurers as a broker. The usurers were Herr von Paterski and two Haliczers - the tenant of the local rulership, Stefan Kastanasiewicz - an Armenian and the Jew Moses Erdkugel. But when Janko's father died and the three usurers sued for the bills of exchange, it was Leib who, on Janko's order, implored each of the usurers to be safe. Leib was heard by Herr von Paterski. Janko was able to keep his indebted farm and worked on his field from morning until night; found no time to make toys for the now 12-year-old Miriam. In any case, Leib and Janko became friends.


Miriam's ailing 39-year-old mother Chane suffers from emaciation and wants to see the only, now almost 16-year-old, married before her end. Since the means are lacking to equip the bride, Chane would also be acceptable as a widower with many children or someone in need of care as a groom. Leib, "a pipe in the wind", whose wife Chane is wearing her pants in the house, has to look for a bridegroom. Janko wants Miriam to be his wife. Leib speaks out this to the friend: A Christian marries a Jewish woman - impossible. Then Janko: "... she will be my wife and no one else! If you betray her, I will kill her and then myself! ”Body does not hear, habitually obeys his wife and finds the 70-year-old Jew David Münzer, owner of a steam saw on the Dnestr , as the bridegroom . Münzer, whose third wife Malke recently died and in whose house five children still live, is considered the richest man in Halicz. Chane is satisfied. Neither mother nor body dare to tell the daughter about the advanced age of her future husband. After the mother's death, that is done by others.

Janko is partly responsible for the death of Chan. During an outbreak of anger at his mother's bedside, he triggers a fatal hemorrhage in the woman who is now lying down . Janko had yelled at the sick woman: “And if you don't want to have her [Miriam] baptized, she will be my cunt! ... listen, you damned Jewess ...! "

Miriam resents the secrecy of her father. The obedient daughter, however, agrees to the marriage with the old man. The wedding date is agreed.

The above-mentioned railway line is also to be laid through the Winkowcer corridor. Mr. von Paterski knows about the planned route and has bought most of the parcels likely to be affected. Only Janko is reluctant. He doesn't sell his orchard to the angry landlord. The commission, instructed by Vienna , arrives and marks out the railway line. When it is Janko's garden's turn, farmer Janko resists, seriously injures a bailiff, is overwhelmed and imprisoned for armed resistance against state violence. Until the upcoming trial, in which the farmer Janko is threatened with half a year in prison, the delinquent is to be temporarily released one day after Miriam's wedding. The guard accidentally releases Janko on Miriam's wedding day. The Dnestr is flooding. When the newlyweds want to cross over to Münzer's residence at the steam saw after the wedding party that night, Janko has taken the place of the helm, steers the boat into the current, rocks and rocks harder. The boat turns over. The three sink into the tide.


Sprengel emphasizes the railway construction as a topic of the "novel-like big narrative" and connects the fact with a brief consideration of the narrative behavior. Franzos invites readers interested in ethnography to an expedition abroad. The area around the town of Halicz has an "almost colonialist look".



  • Body Christmas cake and his child. Story by Karl Emil Franzos . Concordia Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Berlin 1896 ( ).
  • Karl Emil Franzos: Leib Christmas cake and his child. Cotta'sche Verlagbuchhandlung, Stuttgart 1924.
  • Leib Christmas cake and his child , pp. 377–559 in Karl Emil Franzos: Moschko von Parma. Three stories (also contains: Moschko von Parma - Judith Trachtenberg ). Rütten & Loening, Berlin 1972 (1st edition).
  • Body Christmas cake and his child in Karl Emil Franzos: Galizische Erzählungen (also contains: The Mute ). Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 1980.
  • Karl Emil Franzos: Leib Christmas cake and his child. Narrative. With 15 illustrations by Erika Müller-Pöhl. Afterword by Herbert Greiner-Mai . Greifenverlag zu Rudolstadt 1984 (1st edition, used edition).
  • Karl Emil Franzos: Leib Christmas cake and his child. Narrative. Tredition publishing house, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8424-0744-2 .
  • Karl-Maria Guth (Ed.): Karl Emil Franzos: Leib Christmas cake and his child . Verlag Contumax - Hofenberg, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86199-745-0 .

Secondary literature

  • Peter Sprengel : History of German-Language Literature 1870–1900. From the founding of the empire to the turn of the century. Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-44104-1 .

Web links


  1. In Polish the village is called Dubowce .
  2. The strange German family names were imposed on the Galician Jews by officials of the Emperor Josef (edition used, p. 5, 1st Zvu).

Individual evidence

  1. edition used, p. 121 middle
  2. edition used, p. 179, 18. Zvo
  3. edition used, p. 114, 14. Zvu
  4. edition used, p. 188, 19. Zvo
  5. ^ Sprengel, p. 281, 10th Zvu