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Biographical/Historical Information

Alfred Döblin was a German writer and physician. Living in Berlin since 1889, he studied medicine at the University of Berlin and specialized in neurology and psychiatry in Freiburg im Breisgau. He took up a few positions before opening his own practice in 1911 in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin. He picked up writing and connected with a number of artists and intellectuals. During World War I, Döblin volunteered and served as a doctor in Saargemünd. After the war, he became more political. Eventually, he moved with his family to Paris, gaining citizenship in 1936. When World War II began, he wrote counter-propoganda for the French ministry along with a number of French Germanists. In 1940, he spent time at a refugee camp in Mende after the Germans invaded France. Later that year, he sailed for the United States, settling in Los Angeles. He and his wife returned to Europe in 1945, jumping from Baden-Baden to Paris, experiencing frustration with the post-war literary scene. The end of his life was marked by struggles in both health and finances, which were eventually lessened by winning a literary prize from the Mainz Academy and from German compensation for Nazi persecution. Alfred Döblin died in 1957.

Harald Isenstein was a German-Jewish artist, best known for his sculptured busts of prominent personalities. Born in Hannover on August 13, 1898, he studied at the Academy of Arts in Berlin, before co-founding and teaching at the private Jewish Reimann School of Art. He also co-founded the Volks-Kunstschule in 1925. As a professional sculptor, he produced the bust of Albert Einstein in front of the Einstein Tower in Potsdam. In 1934 he emigrated to Denmark, then moved to Sweden in 1943, before settling in Copenhagen in 1946. Harald Isenstein died in Copenhagen on February 3, 1980. Most of his works can be found at the Museum of Korsør in Denmark.

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Alfred Doeblin sculptured by Harald Kurt Isenstein, Leo Baeck Institute, F 2087.