Joseph and Frederike (Friedl) Roth in Berlin (1920’s)
Joseph Roth was born 1894 in Brody, a small, mostly Jewish, community at the margins of the Habsburg Monarchy, now in the Ukraine. He left his provincial home for Vienna and became one of the most celebrated journalists and novelists of his day.
Josph Roth, Manuscript for "Radetzkymarsch", First Page
Roth's most famous novel, "Radetzkymarsch" tells the story of the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as experienced by generations of a Slovenian peasant family that received a nobility title when their ancestor saved the life of the Emperor Franz Josef in battle. It reflects Roth's nostalgia for the cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic character of the Empire as united under the Habsburgs, a sentiment that was unusual among modernist writers and intellectuals of his generation.
Joseph Roth's wife, Friederike (Friedl), who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1928, lived in an Austrian mental sanatorium, where she was killed in the Nazi euthanasia program in 1940. Although Roth had few possessions when he died in Paris in 1939, there are numerous images of Friedl in his archival collection at LBI.