Allert de Lange Publishers

Catalogue, 1937The archive of publishing house Allert de Lange traversed the world, just as did the German writers-in-exile who shaped it and make it such interesting reading now. In 1940 it was confiscated by the Nazis and left Amsterdam only to return there in 1991, via Berlin, Dresden, Moscow, and Potsdam. More about the archive's history can be found in the inventory.

The exile of De Lange authors such as Bertolt Brecht, Max Brod, Ödön von Horvath, Joseph Roth, and Stefan Zweig started in 1933 when Hitler took power. At first they settled in a neigbouring country, but later, as the fascist threat expanded, they dispersed all over the world. Brecht for instance travelled from Prague to Switzerland, Paris, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Moscow, the USA, and finally to Berlin.

Kesten and LandauerCover of 'Die Sammlung'

To the majority of German-language writers, Holland was too exposed, too close to Germany to be an attractive country to remain for any length of time. But Amsterdam was the home of two of the most succesful publishers of exile literature: Querido and De Lange. The German novelist Hermann Kesten and his compatriot Walter Landauer led De Lange's German department.
As early as 1933 Querido started the literary magazine Die Sammlung as a platform for exiled writers.

Title page 'Der Antichrist'De Lange published 91 books written by these authors in exile. The elaborate correspondence in the archive is mostly about the editing business, but it also shows the writer's preoccupations and thoughts about his own position and work.
Thus, Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) in 1934 expressed his fear that he would be taken for a deathly serious author and suggests his Dreigroschenroman be set in a light-hearted printing type.
The exiled writer's very existence was threatened. These writers did not have any identity papers, were short of money, and could not visit libraries and other documentary sources needed for their work. Exile was seen as a threat to creativity.

Letter from BrechtStefan Zweig

Joseph Roth (1884-1939) died in Paris, Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) committed suicide in Brazil. The correspondence in the archive sheds a light on the writers' biographies, just as it shows the importance of moral and financial support by their publisher.