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Stefan Zweig: Contradiction and Self-Deception
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Stefan Zweig: Contradiction and Self-Deception

By Mundilfury |

Stefan Zweig (28 November 1881—22 February 1942) was an Austrian novelist, librettist, journalist, and biographer. He was born in Vienna to Moritz Zweig (1845-1926), a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, and Ida Brettauer (1854-1934) who was from a Jewish banking family.

He studied philosophy at the University of Vienna, and in 1904 completed his dissertation on the philosophy of Hippolyte Taine to earn his doctorate.

According to Zweig, religion did not play a central role in his education: “My mother and father were Jewish only through accident of birth.”

He did not renounce his Jewish faith, however, and wrote repeatedly on Jewish themes, as in his story Buchmendel.

Zweig struck up a friendship with Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, whom he met when Herzl was the literary editor of one of Vienna’s newspapers the Neue Freie Presse; Herzl published some of his early essays.

During the First World War, he served in the Archives of the Ministry of War in Austria. Zweig married Friderike Maria von Winternitz in 1920; they divorced in 1938. In the late summer of 1939, he married Elisabet Charlotte “Lotte” Altmann at Bath, England.

In 1934, following Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, Zweig left Austria for England, living in London and from 1939 onward in Bath. Because of Hitler’s rapid advance westward, he and his second wife left for the United States and settled in New York City. They lived for two months at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and then rented a house in Ossining, New York.

On 22 August 1940, they moved to Petropolis, a German-colonized mountain town near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  After writing a note about his depression at the rise of authoritarianism and Nazism, Zweig and his wife were found dead in their home of a barbiturate overdose on 23 February 1942.

The Zweigs’ house in Brazil was later turned into a cultural centre and is now known as Casa Stefan Zweig.[1] 

Contradiction and Self-Deception

It is telling that several articles have emerged in 2017 that venerate Stefan Zweig including one in the New Yorker and another produced by the BBC. The contemporary cultural-Marxist press is continually forced to make arguments that bolster the multicultural narrative. The rise of nationalist movements in the United States, the wider Anglosphere, and throughout Europe, has sent the Leftist propaganda apparatus into overdrive. The fawning over Stefan Zweig’s life and works is yet another iteration of the culture war as the forces of globalism and nationalism clash.

To the present reigning elite, Stefan Zweig serves as an intellectual and ideological foil to the populist national socialism of the Third Reich in a presentist manner. Just as the past has been employed recently in a weaponized way to vilify Sebastian Gorka, for example, our hostile elites invoke champions of cosmopolitan pluralism from the past to serve in the culture war being waged in the realm of ideas in the here and now. For the Left, Stefan Zweig is the perfect tool to invoke. Not only is he ideologically aligned and of the same ethnic in-group, Zweig took part in an operatic production that protested Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in the 1930s.[2]

George Prochnik, author of the New Yorker piece about Zweig, reveals his bias at the article’s outset when he writes “I wonder how far along the scale of moral degeneration Zweig would judge America to be in its current state.”[3] Although it has been argued by many that America is in a marked state of decline, Prochnik is referring not to the continual denigration of the family, the ongoing opioid crisis, governmental fiscal calamities or imperial military overstretch. He is citing the rise of Trump and American nationalism.

The link between Trump and Hitler is thinly veiled as Prochnik goes on to write:

We have a magnetic leader, one who lies continually and remorselessly—not pathologically but strategically, to placate his opponents, to inflame the furies of his core constituency, and to foment chaos. The American people are confused and benumbed by a flood of fake news and misinformation. Reading in Zweig’s memoir how, during the years of Hitler’s rise to power, many well-meaning people ‘could not or did not wish to perceive that a new technique of conscious cynical amorality was at work,’ it’s difficult not to think of our own present predicament.[4]

Zweig, in this case is the martyred multicultural cosmopolitan, whilst Hitler (and by extension, Trump) is the predictable ethno-nationalist villain. This is radicalized leftist fallacy. As scholar Richardo Duchesne has recently pointed out, when he drew upon the ideas of Carl Schmidt, liberal states along with their leadership and anointed elites, lack a strong concept of the political:

liberal leaders have an inherent weakness as political beings due to their inability to think of their nation-states as a collectivity of people claiming sovereignty over a territory that distinguishes between friends and enemies, who can belong and who cannot belong in the territory.[5]

In their minds, and in the writings of aligned writers such as George Prochnik, anything short of open borders multiculturalism is anathema and worthy of comparisons to Adolf Hitler. This is a radical notion employed constantly by the anti-White elite. Donald Trump was quite right to state, in one of his campaign speeches in 2016, that the most effective vehicle for self-actualization and high quality of life is the nation-state. A fact that has become irrefutable. In the present, the slightest modicum of nationalism is linked ahistorically to National Socialism.

It is also ironic to point out that the mainstream media, of which Prochnik is a part, has been guilty of one of the most egregious misinformation campaigns in the history of the Western world. The MSM in the United States is guilty of collusion of the worst kind, which is substantiated by primary source evidence in leaked email correspondence provided to Wikileaks by the late Seth Rich. If anyone is guilty of inciting domestic chaos it is the hostile establishment and their allied MSM propaganda apparatus. Prochnik, in the above quoted passage, is referring to the successful use of propaganda by the National Socialist regime but does not mention the radical left wing communist press operating in Germany at that time.[6]

It is also interesting to note that Stefan Zweig was caught up in the nationalistic fervour of 1914 himself, a fact that he retroactively falsifies in his autobiography. Author Nicolaus Unger devotes his journal article to “exploring Zweig’s inaccurate portrayal of his feelings and actions in the opening months of the [First World War].” [7]

The BBC article written by Benjamin Ramm, focuses on Zweig’s autobiography entitled The World of Yesterday “an elegy for a civilization now consumed by war.” And another work entitled Brazil: Land of the Future, which according to Ramm, is “an optimistic portrait of a new world.” Both of these were completed in the year before Zweig’s suicide. Ramm goes on to state in his article that the “story of these two books, and of the refugee who wrote them, offers a guide to the trap of nationalism and the trauma of exile.”[8]

The article’s author succeeds in soliciting sympathy for both the multicultural state as a concept and for migrants caught up in the migrant crisis in the present day by way of Zweig’s martyrdom. 

One of the most glaring flaws of Ramm’s article in the New Yorker is his portrayal of pre-First World War Austria-Hungary. Ramm writes that “Zweig was born in 1881 into a prosperous and cultured Jewish family in Vienna, capital of the multi-ethnic Habsburg empire, where Austrians, Hungarians, Slavs and Jews, among many others, coexisted…it provided Zweig with a template of cultural plurality at a time when Europe was consuming itself in nationalism.”[9]

This is an outright falsehood. As many historians have pointed out, Austria-Hungary was fraught with ethnic tension as competing peoples jostled with one another in the same living space for resources and political power. Let alone the fact that the catalyst of the First World War occurred within its borders.

Nicholas Gooderick-Clarke, for instance, devotes his best known work, The Occult Roots of Nazism, which takes as its subject ideas of

racial election, demonology and millennium among Austrian-German nationalists prior to the First World War. That study was intended to show how quasi-religious and even occult ideas would bolster German identity in response to the perceived threats of liberalism, laissez-faire capitalism and the rise of subject nationalities at the beginning of the last century. At this time large-scale industry, new metropolitan cities, the growth of capitalist finance and organized labor were all perceived as threats by traditional groups.[10]

Similarly, academic Andrew Fraser points out that “even the well-worn theme of Hitler’s allegedly Manichean, obsessive, and hateful anti-Semitism has been cast into doubt.” Fraser states that Hitler was steeped in the German ethno-nationalist subculture of Austria-Hungary:

a milieu within which German decline in a multi-ethnic society was an inescapable fact of life. Indeed, in Hitler’s own personal experience, the Jews were not the only ethnic rivals engaged in resource competition with his own people. In Hitler’s hometown of Linz, ethnic Germans fretted over the threat of “Czechization” produced by the mass migration of high fertility Czechs to Austrian cities. Indeed, by 1910, Czechs were an absolute majority of Viennese.[11]

Zweig’s other work, Brazil: Land of the Future, is equally entrancing for present day globalists as indicated by Ramm’s New Yorker article. Zweig most notably remarked that Brazil was free of Europe’s “race fanatics,” its “frenzied scenes and mad ecstasies of hero-worship” “its foolish nationalism and imperialism” and its “suicidal fury.” The most notable passage in Ramm’s piece, for even moderate multi-cultists of our own time, paints a utopian vision: “all these different races live in fullest harmony with each other.” Whereas Europe was “…more than ever ruled by the insane attempt to breed people racially pure…the Brazilian nation for centuries has been built upon the principle of a free and unsuppressed miscegenation…”[12]

The portrayal of Brazil being a multi-cultural Utopia is also a false one. Richardo Duchesne points out in his book Faustian Man in a Multicultural Age that Brazil is fraught with racial-economic stratification: “How could someone…be swayed by the perception that Brazil is a paragon of racial harmony, when every city is a panorama of racial-income exclusion zones?”[13]

The multicultural experiment that the cultural-Marxists extol without any criticism or self-reflection has a history of failure in Austria-Hungary, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. By invoking Stefan Zweig, MSM journalists have attempted to bolster the prevailing orthodoxy of multiculturalism. Once subjected to scrutiny, however, it is easy to see that their narrative is a false one. Who knows what the future holds for Western multicultural societies, but rest assured ethnic and racial conflict will be a part of that future.

[1] Various, “Stefan Zweig,” Wikipedia.

[2] Patricia Josette Moss, “Richard Strauss’s Friedenstag: A Political Statement of Peace in Nazi Germany,” MA Thesis, University of Victoria, 2010.

[3] George Prochnik, “When It’s Too Late To Stop Fascism, According To Stefan Zweig,” The New Yorker, 6 February 2017.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Richardo Duchesne, “Carl Schmitt Is Right: Liberal Nations Have Open Borders Because They Have No Concept Of The Political,” The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 1, Spring 2017, p. 37.

[6] Mundilfury, “Revenge of the Hostile Elite,” Red Ice Tv, 8 March 2017.

[7] Nikolaus Unger, “Remembering Identity in Die Welt von Gestern. Stefan Zweig, Austrian German Identity Construction and the First World War,” Focus on German Studies, Vol. 12 (2005), pp. 96-97.

[8] Benjamin Ramm, “Zweig: The writer who dreamed of a world without borders,” BBC, 22 February 2017.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Nicholas Goodrick-Clark, Black Sun, (New York University Press, 2003), pp.1-2; Nicholas Goodrick-Clark, The Occult Roots of Nazism, (Tauris Parke Paperbacks, Reprint 2011).

[11] Andrew Fraser, “The German Church Struggle, 1933-1939: Globalism Versus Nationalism In Christian Ethics,” The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 1, Spring 2017, p. 70.

[12] Ramm, 22 February 2017.

[13] Richardo Duchesne, Faustian Man in a Multicultral Age, (Arktos 2017), p. 15; Duchesne cites Edward Telles, Race in Another America: The Significane of Skin Color in Brazil (Princeton University Press, 2004) and Stanley Bailey, Legacies of Race, Identities, Attitudes, and Race In Brazil (Stanford University Press, 2009).


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