12c 1934 A FRIENDLY TALK WITH DR
Franz Werfel on holidays in an Italy, sitting in a coffee
house in Santa Margherita. He is writing into his notebook.
bene, grazie. Mi dica?
Un cafe solo e un aqua minerale con gas.
e un cornetto.
puo dedicare una piccola frase? Lei adoro Signor Werfel.
scrivo qualcosa. Un dedica.
darmelo...! - Grazie!
Dr. Hanns Martin Elster appears.
I can't believe it! What a surprise! What brings you to Santa
of course. - No, relax, I'm joking. I'm on my way back to
Berlin. It's pure chance that I stopped here.
don't you come and have a coffee with me? - Rosetta, un altro
caffè, per favore!
what are you doing here, if I may ask?
I'm trying to work.
work?! You must be joking! I'm sure your new novel will make
of you a millionaire in American dollars!
hasn't been translated into English yet .
me, with the large Armenian community in the United States
it's only a matter of time. I can already see a Hollywood
movie based on your book. »The 40 Days of Musa Dagh«!
By the way, the title is excellent. Brilliant! I'm sure you'll
become the national hero of the Armenians in no time.
it's true I'm getting very touching reactions from the Armenian
readers. But to tell you the truth, I'm much more concerned
with the reactions to the book in Germany. After all, I'm
a German writer before anything else.
sure! Of course, of course!
it curious? I haven't gotten an answer yet to my application
for membership in the German Third Reich Authors Union.
you haven't, have you? How curious!
it's because I'm a Czechoslovakian citizen?
that could be a reason...
I took care to emphasise that I'm a Viennese resident, and
that I belong to the German minority in Czechoslovakia.
did you send the letter of application?
sent it shortly after the publication of Musa Dagh, almost
three months ago.
That's almost three months ago -
they get in touch with you?
For a recommendation... No, as a matter of fact, they didn't.
all I'm not an anonymous writer...
no, you're surely not an anonymous writer. You are Werfel!
My novel got a very strong and unanimously favourable reception
in the German literary press, and very good notices abroad
as well, from Amsterdam to Madrid! I'm sure this book is a
major contribution to the prestige of contemporary German
literature. Don't you think so?
yes, yes! Of course. - By the way, how did you get the idea
to write this book? I mean, after all, the Armenians... Who
knows about them? Who cares?
that's very nice, but what was it that inspired you to write
the book? It wasn't commissioned by some American Armenian
sponsors, or was it?
no! Of course not. - I was on a visit to Palestine...
you were on a visit to Palestine! Really?
in 1929. Five years ago. With Alma. It was our honeymoon.
that was already my second visit to Palestine. The first time
went there was ten years ago.
did you find the place?
Ahhh! Wonderful. Just wonderful! Amazing! It's unbelievable
how much the country's developed in the last years. You have
to see what they've achieved! In matters of agriculture, education,
health, industry, construction, trade unions -
mean, the Jewish immigrants.
course. They are working miracles ! It's outstanding!
you never think of settling there?
not a Zionist.
But you are a Jew! Don't you want to be part of that miracle
your People are working these days?
I tell you the truth? I don't understand you. Aren't you a
patriot of your People?
am a patriot of my People. I am a patriot of my country. I'm
are German? But then I still don't understand what gave you
the crazy idea to write a book about the Armenian People:
»The 40 Days of Musa Dagh«. As a German patriot
I just don't understand it, Franz, I'm sorry.
from Palestine we went on to Damascus. And on the road to
Damascus we met some Armenians. Survivors of the massacre
the Turks carried out among the Armenians. You've heard about
that, haven't you?
there they told me their story. It was
Horror upon horror! A nightmare. The Turks massacred an entire
People! It's unimaginable!
Have you heard the Turkish version?
Why should I care about the murderers?
they happen to be our allies... at least during the war.
has that got to do with my book?
A Turkish journalist complained to the German authorities
that your 40 Days is prejudiced against the Turks
in a very offensive manner.
ridiculous! In comparison with the Turkish crimes...
But that's not what the German authorities thought.
do you mean?
I'm afraid I have to inform you that according to paragraph
seven of the Chancellor's regulation for the protection of
the German People, your book is banned and forbidden for sale
throughout the entire German Reich.
book is what?! Are you kidding?
press unanimously praised the decision.
press did what
? That can't be true!
a heap of press-clips:) Here, see for yourself.
are you crazy? Are you stupid? Did you really expect to get
an answer to your application?
me tell you this: you are not going to get an answer. Not
even a negative one.
you are a Jew!
I'm a German writer!
Franz! Franz! Honestly, are you out of your mind? How can
you be so blind? So stupid?! You Jews
! You're supposed
to be clever People, aren't you? Know-it-alls. ! You can't
be that ignorant , Franz! Hasn't any one told you about the
nature of the National Socialist revolution?! Or have you
just misunderstood it? Do you have to be kicked in the ass,
and thrown out of the country to understand that there's no
place for you there anymore? You are no longer wanted in Germany!
Do you understand? Neither as a community, nor as individuals.
- Franz, you have visited Palestine. You were there! Why,
for God's sake, didn't you stay?!
I don't understand... Is that an official message, or what
Franz. I didn't come here by chance. I came here to warn you.
As a friend. And this is friendly advice: go back to Palestine!
You hear me? Go! Go! As quickly as possible. I beg you! There
is still time to abandon Germany. Go while you are still allowed
to leave German territory with the clothes on your back !
Don't stay in Europe. Just go! You hear me? Go! Go!! Go!!!
And don't wait until you get an »official message«.
Because such an »official message« will not come
in a letter, it will come in the shape of a bullet in the
back of your neck. Do you understand? Now listen: we haven't
met. You haven't seen me. This conversation has not taken
place. Do you understand? We never met. We don't know each
other. And something else: Don't write me any more letters
, and don't expect me to interfere in your favour in any official
or unofficial matters. Is that clear? You'd be risking your
life - and mine. Adieu, Franz!
Signora!! Una telefonata a Vienna 6-0-7-6-0-5
up the phone:) Signorina, una telefonata a Austria! Si, Grazie.
the receiver:) Alma? Listen! I will tell you everything when
we meet. All I can say now, is that I am standing on the ruins
of my identity . My books are banned in Germany. I have been
written out of the book of the living. And since I am still
a German author, I am now literally hanging in empty space...
Werfel, Signore Werfel! Cosa Che? Cose che? ! Non ti senti
bene? Che disturbi hai? Dov'e che ti fa male? Signore Werfel,
mi puoi sentire?
leaving everything in Vienna. I'm coming to be with you at
once. . Wherever you go, I'll go with you. Don't be afraid.
I love you, Franz. We will overcome this madness.