Harold Poor, Kurt Tucholsky, and the Ordeal of Germany
Harold L. Poor's biography of Kurt Tucholsky is the most important and thorough work on the famed German-Jewish author in English: a still unmatched labor of love by the Rutgers history professor. For this book, originally published in 1968 as "Kurt Tucholsky and the Ordeal of Germany", Poor spent years of research. He also visited Tucholsky's widow Mary Gerold in her home in Rottach-Egern in Germany and unearthed letters, pictures, and other previously unknown materials. The result was an an entertaining and well-written gem that has finally been rediscovered. It is available in a new edition from the Berlin/New York-based Berlinica Publishing.
Harold Poor was born in 1935 in Missouri, grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and attended Harvard College. He held a Ph.D. in German and European history at Columbia University. In 1966, he became a professor at the Rutgers College History Department as one of the most gifted and charismatic teachers. He also was the co-author of a music drama "Tickles by Tucholsky", which was first produced at Brandeis University and then Off Broadway at Theater Four in 1976. Poor died on January 24, 1992 in New York City.
Eva Schweitzer, the principal of Berlinica Publishing, will discuss Tucholsky's role in Weimar-era letters and politics. Atina Grossmann (Cooper Union) will comment on how Poor's work fits in the historiography of Germany in the late 1960's and early 1970s, when a fascination with the cultural and intellectual life of the Weimar Republic produced influential works like Peter Gay's "Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider". Among those scholars, Poor was an outsider himself, neither Jewish, nor a refugee, but an American from the South.
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