CFP: Remembering Ernst Toller (1893-1939): Exiles and Refugees between Europe and the US

Lisa Marie Anderson's picture


Remembering Ernst Toller (1893-1939): Exiles and Refugees between Europe and the US.

An international conference to be held at Hunter College, City University of New York,

May 30-June 1, 2019

The spring of 1919 saw the brutal end of the Bavarian soviet republic that had emerged as part of Germany’s November Revolution. Twenty years later, on May 22, 1939, Ernst Toller, one of the leaders of that revolution and republic, committed suicide at the Mayflower Hotel in New York, where he was living in exile from Nazi Germany. To commemorate these anniversaries, we are organizing a conference on German-speaking exiles in New York and the United States and their legacy for today’s exiles and refugees. While the conference will be of interest for Toller scholars, we are eager to situate his experience within a broader context. To that end, we seek proposals for papers on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • from revolution to exile: the fate of German revolutionaries and their allies (e.g. Toller, Tilla Durieux, Oskar Maria Graf, Karl Kautsky, Max Levien, Franz Lipp, Heinrich Mann, Philipp Scheidemann, Eduard Trautner)
  • Toller’s America, as reflected for example in Quer durch, Wunder in Amerika, and the essays, speeches, and political activism of his American exile
  • the Amerikabild of other German-speaking exiles, including writers, politicians, philosophers, filmmakers, and artists
  • New York as a site of refuge (1930s-present)
  • the significance of German-speaking exiles for exiles and refugees today

Given the anticipated cross-disciplinary and international audience and outreach function of the event, we would prefer papers to be delivered through the medium of English. However, German-language papers will also be considered.  

Please send a one-page abstract by 1 June 2018 to both conference organizers:

Christiane Schönfeld, Mary Immaculate College (Limerick),                                                                

Lisa Marie Anderson, Hunter College (New York City),

Confirmed Speakers

Dr. Kirsten Reimers (Hamburg), author of Das Bewältigen des Wirklichen: Untersuchungen zum dramatischen Schaffen Ernst Tollers zwischen den Weltkriegen

Prof. Dr. Stefan Neuhaus (Koblenz), co-editor of the series Schriften der Ernst-Toller-Gesellschaft, Ernst Toller und die Weimarer Republik, etc.

Prof. Dr. Deborah Vietor-Engländer (Darmstadt), editor of The Legacy of Exile and the series Exil-Dokumente

Prof. Em. Ian Wallace (Bath), president of the International Feuchtwanger Society

Anna Funder (Sydney), author of the novels All That I Am and Stasiland


We gratefully acknowledge the support of:

The Ernst-Toller-Gesellschaft

The Max Kade Foundation

Roosevelt House at Hunter College