Exiles in Southern California
Emil Ludwig (1881-1948)
Ludwig (originally named Emil Cohn) was born in Breslau, now part
of Poland. Ludwig studied law but chose writing as a career. At
first he wrote plays and novella, but also worked as a journalist.
In 1906 he moved to Switzerland but during World War I he worked
as a foreign correspondent for the Berliner Tageblatt
in Vienna and Istanbul. He became a Swiss citizen in 1932, later
emigrating to the United States in 1940. He returned to Switzerland
after the war and died in 1948, in Moscia, near Ascona.
During the 1920s he achieved international fame for his popular
biographies which combined historical fact and fiction with psychological
analysis. After his biography of Goethe was published
in 1920, he wrote several similar biographies, including one about
Bismarck (1922-24), Napoleon (1825), Michelangelo
(1930), and Cleopatra (1937).
As Ludwig's biographies were popular outside of Germany and were
widely translated, he was one of the fortunate émigrés
who had an income while living in the United States.
When he was 21, Ludwig converted to Catholicism but in 1922 renounced
his conversion following the murder of foreign minister Walter Rathenau.
His abhorence of the National Socialist regime led him to work for
the U.S. government in 1940 writing anti-fascist pamphlets.
While in Southern California Ludwig lived at several addresses.
In the early 1940s he lived at 333 Bel Air Road, moving next to
701 Amalfi Drive shown here (where Aldous Huxley had lived
in 1941). In 1944-45 Ludwig lived at 303 Grenola Street in Pacific
Emil Ludwig's years in Southern California: 1940-1945.
Autorenlexikon deutschsprachiger Literatur
des 20. Jahrhunderts. Edited by Manfred Brauneck. Reinbeck
bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1991.
Biographisches Lexikon zur Weimarer Republik.
Edited by Wolfgang Benz and Hermann Graml. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1988.
For more information
contact the Feuchtwanger Librarian.