Arnold Zweig

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Zweig, Arnold


Born Nov. 10, 1887, in Gross-Glogau, (now Głogów, Polish People’s Republic); died Nov. 26, 1968, in Berlin. (German Democratic Republic). German writer and public figure.

Zweig was a deputy to the People’s Chamber of the legislature of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1967. He was president of the German Academy of Arts from 1950 to 1953, and he was a member of the World Peace Council. He served in World War I. After 1933, Zweig lived abroad, in Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, France, and Palestine; he returned to Berlin in 1948.

Zweig achieved his first successes as a writer with the novella Notes About the Klopfer Family (1911), the novel Claudia (1912; Russian translation, 1923), which developed the theme of creativity and the power of money, and the play Ritual Murder in Hungary (1914; Heinrich von Kleist Prize, 1915). A subtlety of psychological analysis is characteristic of Zweig’s early works, which are aimed at a small, select readership. Contemporary problems are frequently interpreted in an abstract and timeless context. After World War I, Zweig introduced important contemporary themes into his work. In 1927 he published the novel The Case of Sergeant Grischa (in Russian translation, Tragediia untera Grishi, 1928), which formed the basis of his lifelong work, the epic cycle about World War I The Great War of the White Man. The cycle begins with the novel The Time Is Ripe (1957), which covers the period from summer 1913 to spring 1915. Young Woman of 1914 (1931) and Education Before Verdun (1935) bring the action up to March 1917, chronologically just before The Case of Sergeant Grischa. Crowning of a King (1937), Armistice (1954), and the unfinished novel The Ice Breaks Up tell about the end of the war and the November Revolution of 1918. Zweig’s descriptions of the course of military events and the life of various social classes are historically accurate. His most important works written abroad include the novel The Axe of Wandsbeck (published 1943 in Hebrew; translated from a German manuscript), the main theme of which is the moral disintegration of Hitler’s regime and the denunciation of the petit bourgeois social environment that laid the way for fascism. In the novel The Dream Is Costly (1962), Zweig discloses the difficult process by which the German intelligentsia recognized its responsibility for what happened in the fascist period.

Zweig was awarded the National Prize of the German Democratic Republic in 1950. He received the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Nations in 1958.


Ausgewählte Werke in Einzelausgaben, vols. 1–16. Berlin, 1957–67.
In Russian translation:
Vospitaniepod Verdenom. Moscow, 1954.
Zatish’e. Moscow, 1959.
Raduga. Moscow, 1960.
Spor ob untere Grishe. Moscow, 1961.


Toper, P. Arnol’d Tsveig. Moscow, 1960.
Arnol’d Tsveig: Biobibliografichiskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1961.
Hilscher, E. Arnold Zweig. Berlin, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
Among the supplemental offerings there is an excellent from-book-to-film essay, "The Axe Affair," which outlines how Arnold Zweig came to write the original novel while exiled in Palestine.
Hoffmann in Text + Kritik, uber Halldor Laxness und Arnold Zweig in den Weimarer Beitragen, wieder andere erschienen als Features im Rundfunk (Voltaire, Brecht, Einstein), als Beitrage zu Buchpublikationen (Gerhart Hauptmann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Robert Musil, Walther von der Vogelweide), in Zeitungen und noch anderen Druckwerken.
He draws masterful portraits of such functionaries and writers as the elderly Arnold Zweig, the admirable Heinrich Boll, and the obstinate Wolfgang Harich.