Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2014

In Osteuropa 11-12/2014

The Stalin-Empathiser
Lion Feuchtwanger in Moscow in 1937

Anne Hartmann

Deutsche Fassung


From December 1936 to early February 1937, Lion Feuchtwanger spent about two months in the Soviet Union. He was received by Stalin and was an eye-witness of the second Moscow show trial. In his travelogue Moscow 1937, he shows himself to be convinced of the defendants’ guilt and portrays an all-around positive image of the Soviet Union, where the Great Terror had begun that very year. To this day, Feuchtwanger has therefore been accused of stupidity, blindness, ignorance, or arrogance. The praise for the dictator and his political system can only be explained by the fact that the writer was not concerned with concrete Soviet reality, but with his world-historical vision of the “omnipotence of reason”. For this, Feuchtwanger was prepared to submit to far-reaching self-censorship.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2014, pp. 59–80)