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in Southern California
Alfred Döblin (1878-1957)
in Berlin, Döblin studied psychiatry and medicine and practiced
in Berlin while writing stories and essays. As a Jew and a former
Social Democrat in 1933 Germany, Döblin's life was in danger
so he fled first to Switzerland, then to France. Döblin crossed
the Pyrenees in 1940 and escaped to the United States. By October
he was living in Southern California.
He converted to Catholicism in 1941 along with his wife and son, perhaps
due in part to the isolation they experienced in Southern California.
He returned to Germany in 1945 as an American education officer. In
1949 after co-founding the Akademie für Wissenschaft und Literatur,
he returned to France in 1951.
Döblin is best-known for Berlin Alexanderplatz,
his most Expressionistic novel which was published in 1929. While
living in Southern California, Döblin started the novel Hamlet
oder Die lange Nacht nimmt ein Ende which he finished in 1946
in Germany. Like Heinrich Mann and other exiles, Döblin was permitted
to enter the U.S. because he had had a year contract with MGM as a
scriptwriter. Thanks to this good position, he earned $100 per week
during his first year in Los Angeles. After the contract was up, he
was left to live from unemployment benefits and gifts provided by
friends through the European Film Fund.
Alfred Döblin lived at several addresses in Hollywood during
his five years in Los Angeles. For the first few months, he lived
at 1842 N. Cherokee Avenue; in February 1942 he moved to 901
N. Genesee Street; and between November 1942 and 1945, he lived
at 1347 N. Citrus Avenue.
in Southern California: 1940-1945.
Matthias Prangel. Alfred Döblin. 2nd ed. Stuttgart:
Klaus Schröter. Döblin. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1978.
deutschsprachiger Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts. Edited by
Manfred Brauneck. Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1991.
Lexikon zur Weimarer Republik. Edited by Wolfgang Benz and
Hermann Graml. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1988.
For more information contact the Feuchtwanger