Events | Understanding Stalin

Los Angeles | September 15, 2015 | 7:00 PM

Anne Hartmann, © Schormann

Anne Hartmann

Understanding Stalin

Between Vision and Supervision.
Lion Feuchtwanger in Moscow, 1937

To gain insight into Soviet society – was that at all possible for a Western intellectual visiting the Soviet Union in the 1930s? What did Feuchtwanger see and realize when he went to Moscow in the winter of 1936/37 and was received by Stalin? How far did his knowledge and awareness of a way of life so radically different from everything he knew extend? In any case, in his travelogue Moscow 1937 Feuchtwanger showed a lot of understanding for Stalin and his policies. The books ends on a triple emphatic “Yes” to the USSR, including praise for its societal structure and a justification of the show trials. The political reasons are obvious: The German-Jewish author, driven into exile by Hitler, placed his faith in the Soviet Union to mount the determined resistance against National Socialism which he found Western democracies reluctant to engage in. But other motives are also identifiable; there are irritations, contradictions, inconsistencies in Feuchtwanger’s behavior and underneath the smooth surface of his travelogue. It is these that this lecture will explore.

Anne Hartmann is an assistant researcher and lecturer in the Slavic Department / Lotman-Institute for Russian Culture at the University of Bochum. Her research interests include history and culture of Soviet-occupied Germany and the GDR, the culture of Stalinism, GULAG and the idea of "perekovka", German writers in Soviet exile, Feuchtwanger and other Western visitors to the USSR.

Villa Aurora, 520 Paseo Miramar, Los Angeles, CA 90272

This event is free of charge, however RSVP is requested via 310.454.4231 or
Shuttle Service starts at 6 p.m. on the corner of Los Liones Drive and Sunset Blvd.
Please don’t park in the Topanga State Park lot.

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