The Society :: About us
For research and publication on the life and work of Ernst Toller
In the 20s of the last century, Ernst Toller was the most well-known of all the living German dramatists. By his 100th birthday on 1 December 1993, however, his works were almost completely out of print.
With the creation of the Ernst Toller Society, the city of Neuburg-an-der-Donau intends to reverse this decline in interest. Our set goal is to publish the complete works of Ernst Toller over the next few years.
Research conditions in Germany for such a project are now fundamentally improved. The unique collection of John Spalek, which is certainly the largest of all Ernst Toller collections, has been transferred from New York to Neuburg-an-der-Donau and is now the property of the Ernst Toller Society. This collection contains many valuable items, including, for example, a presentation copy from Toller to Albert Einstein.
The Stadtarchiv (Municipal Archives) and the Staatlichen Bibliothek (State Library) in Neuburg-an-der-Donau provide optimum preconditions for efficient research. These facilities are bound to generate new research activity on the work of Ernst Toller.
Furthermore, we intend to update John Spalek's extensive Toller bibliography, first published in 1968, and make it available on the World Wide Web for research purposes.This unique project represents a milestone in Ernst Toller research.
Moreover, a literature prize has been established which is normally awarded every two years for exceptional literary achievement in the area of intersection between literature and politics. Toller, after all, was one of the few examples among German writers to combine the political activist and the engaged writer. In this ongoing tradition, political poetry, drama and essay writing, and particularly the political speech of high literary merit, are all in urgent need of support. In addition, the Society issues a series of publications (Schriften der Ernst-Toller-Gesellschaft - Publications of the Ernst Toller Society) in which the latest research concerning Ernst Toller and his times is published. The selection of material also includes Toller's wide circle of colleagues, for example Erich Mühsam, Gustav Landauer, Max Weber and others.
Neuburg-an-der-Donau is taking responsibility for Ernst Toller in this way because he created his most important works during his imprisonment here, particularly in nearby Niederschönenfeld. Besides, because Ernst Toller's birthplace is now situated in present-day Poland, it is understandable not to expect his legacy as a German writer to be maintained there.
The Ernst Toller Society is determined to ensure that the work of Ernst Toller once again receives the attention it deserves. In order to do so, we welcome members who can assist the work and plans of the Society with commitment and/or financial support. At the same time, the city of Neuburg-an-der-Donau welcomes bequests or donations of any kind.
Translated by Alan Pearlman (Eliot College, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK), who is the authorised translator of a new English edition of Ernst Toller's plays now being published by Oberon Books. E-mail: A.R.Pearlman@ukc.ac.uk