AT the request of the editor of the Weisse Blätter, René Schickele, I decided in the late autumn of 1915, to place on record a few reminiscences of my years of wandering and exile. These reminiscences made their first appearance in the above periodical, and now, with the kind permission of the editor, for which I take this opportunity of expressing my sincere thanks, I offer them in volume form to the reading public, with a few supplementary remarks and editorial revisions. My principal thought, in writing these chapters, as I remarked at the time of their first appearance, and repeat to-day, was to record my impressions of the peoples whose countries have given me a temporary refuge. At the same time I have also made passing allusion to the circumstances which caused me to make the acquaintance of these peoples and countries. And. further, it seemed to me not amiss to add, from time to time, and by the way, a few touches of self-portraiture. For I have made no attempt to produce a learned or instructive volume which should possess an objective value, but have only sought to give utterance to personal impressions and experiences, and, for good or ill, to tell something of the character of the writer. Reminiscences are fragments of our lives, and it is not easy to relate incidents which are closely connected with the development of one’s own character without reference to the latter.
These reminiscences begin with the journey which in 1878 led to my leaving my country for over twenty years. The first pages tell of a journey made by many, which was not accompanied by any events that could of themselves excite the reader’s interest. My justification for speaking of it resides, I think, in the fact that the most important part of this journey to the South was made in a fashion unknown to the present generation. It made a very deep impression on me, which lives in my memory even to-day, and I can only hope that I have succeeded in conveying something of this impression to my reader.
I must ask my English and American readers to remember that the chapters of this book were written and first published, as was the book itself, during the war, when the military censorship was in force and national prejudices and worse were running very high.
BERLIN SCHÖNEBERG, September 1920.
Last updated on 29.1.2003