Skip to main content

Book Club: Rheinsberg

by Kurt Tucholsky

General: Free

About the Book

Rheinsberg: A Picture Book for Lovers by Kurt Tucholsky, was written in 1912 – it was the journalist's first literary work. The plot revolves around a weekend trip of a young, unmarried pair of lovers from Berlin to Schloss Rheinsberg. The work, written in a light ironic style, was immediately successful. It was adapted to a film, an audio play, and audio books. It was translated into English in 2015.

The short tale describes a weekend trip of two young people who recently met, Claire and Wolfgang. They escape the city of Berlin, where they live and work, for the rural Rheinsberg. They arrive by train, visit Schloss Rheinsberg, and spend the next days exploring the idyllic countryside, posing as a married couple so they can share a hotel room at night. After a final stroll through the park, they return home, to "the big city ... grey days and longing telephone conversations, secretive afternoons, work and all the happiness of their great love."

About the Author

Kurt Tucholsky was one of the most important journalists of the Weimar Republic. As a politically engaged journalist and temporary co-editor of the weekly magazine Die Weltbühne, he proved himself to be a social critic in the tradition of Heinrich Heine. He was simultaneously a satirist, an author of satirical political revues, a songwriter and a poet. He saw himself as a left-wing democrat and pacifist and warned against anti-democratic tendencies – above all in politics, the military – and the threat of National Socialism. His fears were confirmed when the Nazis came to power in January 1933. In May of that year, he was among the authors whose works were banned as "un-German" and burned; he was also among the first authors and intellectuals whose German citizenship was revoked. Fleeing to Sweden, he committed suicide in Gothenburg in 1935.

About our Guest

Eva C. Schweitzer works as a book author, journalist and publisher in Berlin and New York. She has published a total of twelve books, including two novels, her doctoral thesis on Times Square, and the short story collection Manhattan Moments. As a correspondent, she writes for various German newspapers, focusing on entertainment and literature. She began her career in Berlin as an editor of the taz and the Tagesspiegel. In 1992 she was awarded the Theodor Wolff Prize for her journalistic work.

In 2010, she founded Berlinica Publishing in Berlin and New York, which brings literature in translation to America, including that of Tucholsky and Ernst Toller, and soon Egon Erwin Kisch, as well as contemporary authors. Most recently, she researched the story of Tucholsky's family after the rise of the Nazis who fled to America, France, Italy and Holland, through a grant from the Kurt Tucholsky Foundation and the German Literary Archives in Marbach.