WINDER, LUDWIG


WINDER, LUDWIG (1889–1946), Bohemian journalist and writer. Born in Schaffa in Moravia, Winder grew up in nearby Holleschau, where he was raised in an atmosphere of religious rigor. After moving to Vienna, he worked for the liberal newspaper Die Zeit before joining the editorial staff of the nationalist Deutsche Zeitung Bohemia in Prague. In 1917, he published his first novel, Die rasende Rotationsmaschine, which illustrates the difficulties Jews from religious eastern communities faced in integrating themselves into modern western society. Subsequent novels, such as Die juedische Orgel (1922) and Hugo: Tragoedie eines Knaben (1924), deal primarily with the desperate struggle of young eastern Jews for a secular existence, and show – as the posthumously published manuscript Geschichte meines Vaters suggests conclusively – autobiographical traces. Throughout his writings, Winder perceives modern Jewish existence as a state of alienation and psychic deformation, limited by confining traditions and antisemitism. In later novels, he shifted his focus towards the history and downfall of the Austrian Danube monarchy, vividly envisioned in nachgeholten Freuden (1927), Der Kammerdiener (1945), and especially in Der Thronfolger (1938), which, critical of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was immediately banned. A member of the so-called "Prague circle" and a close friend of Max Brod, Felix Weltsch, Johannes Urzidil, and Oskar Baum, Winder fled Prague in 1939 with his wife and older daughter (his younger daughter died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945), settling in England, where he lived until his death. During his last years, he finished two additional novels: Die November-wolke (1942), a story about emigrants during a bombing night in London, and Die Pflicht (1943), which deals with Czech resistance to the German invaders.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

K. Krolop, Ludwig Winder (18891946) (1967); M. Pazi, in: German Quarterly, 63 (1990), 211–21; J. von Sternburg, Gottes boese Traeume. Die Romane Ludwig Winders (1994); C. Spirek, in: Exil 17 (1997), 45–55; A.A. Gassmann, Lieber Vater, lieber Gott?… (2002).

[Philipp Theisohn (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.