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Translator's notes in square brackets

Author's notes unbracketed





First published 1918




Why I went to Germany Early friendships The Deutsch-
Franziisische Rundschau Die elf Scharfrichter Why I re-
turned to France . i



The modern Berlin caf6 The opening of the Kaffee Princess
Its orchestra I meet the Armenian Why was Germany
interested in Armenia ? The Teuto-Armenian magazine
and its editor France's " glorious past " In search of a
king The withering of the Armenian National Com-
mittee . . . . . . . . 7



Karsten P. ... in Munich Our visit to von Vollmar The
differences between the various German states The
Reichstag The Social Democratic Party What is their
real influence ? Sketch of the rise of Social Democracy
Karsten P. ... in Breslau His famous retort to the
insolent Berliner Education Committees Social
Democratic organisation Socialism among the peasants
Karsten and I attend a village concert Election fodder
Karsten P. ... in Berlin The Kaiser and the sullen
builders Karsten P. .... Reichstag Deputy . . 17

vi Beyond the Rhine



The Hofbrau at Munich I meet Prince Ludwig Ferdinand
The dinners of the late Prince Regent The unlucky
sculptor Prince Ludwig Ferdinand as member of the
opera orchestra The Oktoberfest and the Schafflertanz
The Bavarian Censorship Wedekind escapes Myself as
the Artistic Poodle We make mock of an Imperial Over-
ture Prussia threatens The Prussian Censorship in
Breslau In Berlin William II as arbiter elegantiarum
William and the recalcitrant sculptor William and the
Impressionists- William and the Gedachtniskirche
" The Star of Bethlehem " I am censored at Rixdorf
But emerge unconquered ...... 35



" Do not forget your whip " The mortar- women Municipal
employees Waitresses Bourgeois lack of taste The
Hausfrau The lawyer and the breasts of the Naiads
Kaffee-Klatsch Concert audiences My lecture at Wei-
mar And at Landshut Bavarian princesses I visit the
Princess de la Paz at Nymphenburg And am " done " by
the cabman The wealthy woman, the mirror of the
Parvenu Genoa versus Berlin Fashionable crazes :
" Reform " clothing, physical culture, Mensendieck
" The Dangerous Age " The coming of Post-Impres-
sionism : Kahnweiler, Valentine de Saint-Point The
Empress Bohemia at the Stephanie Cafe (i) Anatole
(2) Margarete Beutler and her babies (3) A Bohemian
spoilt (4) "The Dictionary of Authors" (5) Else
Kratzfuss (6) Friederike Kempter Fashionable vice
Gretchen up-to-date . . . . . 55



Where we must learn from Germany Democracy of comfort
- Flats Postal arrangements Parcels Railways
Stations Hotels Public baths Street cleaning and
dustmen Street repairs Newspaper advertisements-
Intelligence versus Obstructionism The true value of
Kultur Tales of German mentality The scandal of the
mustard-pots " Made in Germany " . . . -91

Contents vii



The waiting-room stove at Kaiserslautern I discover the
Jewish problem at the Frankfurt Zoo The Jews are the
mortar of Germany-* Their hold on the German Press
On the German theatres On Berlin Their attitude to-
wards war Their acquiescence in the war The three Jews
at Portofino " Converts " from Judaism German- Jew
slang Jewish self-criticism The Brothers Deutsch and
the Tyrolese hat The Wiener Werkstatte The Uber-
brettl Reinhardt and Schall und Rauch Reinhardt in-
vades the circus " The Miracle " Jewish craze for
novelty : (i) Picture-dealing and picture-buying (2)
Sanatoria (3) Eurhythmies The saving sense of humour:
Zadoc, Isaac, Aaron and the miracles Jewish craze for
splendour : (i) Restaurants : Kempinskiand Rheingold
(2) Shops : Wertheim and its story Le Juif s'amuse
The Emperor and the Jews Myself and the Jews The
cab-rank in the Hardenbergerstrasse .... 109



The Meistersinger of Niirnberg Niirnberg to-day The
Master-Singer of Berlin We give a masked ball at
Munich " Through Darkest Germany " " Alles ist
verboten ! " Prussia as the Bravo of Germany The
German policeman, the " man-who-protects " We
climb the towers of the Frauenkirche And make too
much noise The triumph of snobbery The German
officer The " Kopenick Captain " The German student
His clubs His duels His drink And yet one student
fell, in 1848, in the cause of freedom .... 155



My theatre at Munich Wedekind's menagerie The romantic
tale of Alfred Walter Heymel Die Insel appears and Bier-
baum lives in clover The clover withers Ludwig Scharf,
the honest poet Danny Giirtler, the amazing charlatan
Literary thieves : (i) Wilhelm Bolsche (2) Siegfried
Jacobsohn (3) Fritz Schlomp (4) Maximilian Bern

viii Beyond the Rhine


The artist-advertiser: Roda-Roda Advertisement mania :
(i) Weingartner (2) Richard Strauss (3) Mo'issi (4)
Grosz and Isadora Duncan (5) Grosz and Vecsey
(6) Bonn Evers and I write a play But cannot intro-
duce a Zeppelin The cinema, its rise and fall The
scientist-advertiser : (i) Schrenk-Nortzing (2) Magnus
Hirschfeld Wedekind expresses a " genuine literary
opinion " Griinfeld and the eager Philistine The
spoiling of Munich Old Aschb6 The spoiling of Ober-
ammergau H. H. Evers and his mother : the fiction
Frau Evers and the French governness : the fact . .185



What of the German intellectuals ? Three voices : Lieb-
knecht, f 'accuse, Carl von Levetzow Levetzow's letter :
Luther, the evil genius of Germany . . . -233



Why I went to Germany Early friendships The Deutsch-Franz-
iisische Rundschau Die elf Scharfrichter \Vhy I returned to

T N 1895, wjien I had finished my military service, I
* returned to Paris, the place of my birth. I had
studied at the Lycee Condorcet. Barely twenty-three
years old, my situation was indeed precarious. My
father had just died without having had time to make
the legal arrangements necessary to safeguard my
interests, and I, so to speak, woke up one morning
to find myself alike without family and \\ithout

The prospect of vegetating painfully in a city that
I had known in happier days failed to attract me. On
an impulse of adventure I decided to expatriate myself
and look for a job elsewhere.

Trusting to some vague introductions, I departed for
Munich, getting out on the platform one fine spring
morning with my entire capital at the bottom of my
trouser pocket in the shape of two pieces of gold. I
knew no more of German than that little which one
learns at school, and the first months of my stay in
Munich were difficult. Lodging in a poor garret in the
Schleissheimerstrasse, one of the most crowded streets
of the Bavarian capital, I earned a precarious liveli-
hood by giving French lessons to officers, shopkeepers

Beyond the Rhine

and middle class families. My memories of this modest
beginning have nothing of bitterness. Youth, strength,
health and a tendency to optimism were on my side,
and the novel surroundings into which I had been
transplanted roused my curiosity. Gradually my
pupils increased and I was able to move to more com-
fortable quarters.

I made rapid progress in German, which enabled me
to mix with the people of the town, to understand their
mentality and to accustom myself to their manners and
customs. I formed friendships both precious and
genuine. My wanderings about the town brought me
in contact with a Bavarian musician, since become
famous, who used to live in Paris. He took pity on me
and introduced me to a literary circle which included,
among others, Otto Erich Hartleben (who has since
died), Max Halbe and Frank Wedekind. The fact that
I was French won for me a kindly welcome in this com-
pany ; I found myself in contact with the young
German intellectuals ; I was witness to their first
efforts and their earliest struggles. In the meantime
I had increased the circle of my acquaintance and,
becoming venturesome, I arranged for a series of
lectures, at Munich and other places in Bavaria, on
French literature and customs. The lectures attracted
a certain amount of attention and won me a local

Encouraged by my success, I decided in 1898, in

company with a Paris friend J. G. Prodhomme,
the musician, who had just arrived in Munich
to found a literary and sociological review : the
Deutsch-Franzosische Rundschau. The paper was
bi-lingual and possessed about a hundred French
and German collaborators. We worked for the
intellectual rapprochement of the two countries
without touching on political questions. Prod-
homme won the attention for the new paper of
Parisian literary circles in which he was well known,
and I brought it to the notice of the German writers
with whom I was intimate. This little paper now
belongs to the past. For four years it united plenty
of good will in a common and pacific cult of the humani-
ties. Those who have the curiosity to turn over the
numbers of the paper in the Bibliotheque Nationale
can form their own opinion of the value of our efforts,
which certainly mark an epoch in the history of Franco-
German relations.

I soon added to my magazine a small publishing
business, and had the opportunity of publishing, in
addition to several French books, the first works of
the new German literary renaissance.

My knowledge of German, which was now very good,
enabled me to increase my sphere of influence across
the whole of Central Europe, and I embarked on a
lecturing tour for the discussion of questions interesting
to both countries. Even the big newspapers began to

Beyond the Rhine

take notice of me, and I soon had the entree to all

In 1902 there began in Germany a movement to
reform the theatre. The young writers and artists
wanted an opportunity to win a public hearing for
their new formulae. I put myself at the head of the
movement in Munich and founded an advanced
theatre, " Die elf Scharfrichter " (The Eleven Execu-
tioners), the name reflecting the number and satiric
ideas of its founders. These were : Frank Wedekind,
Otto Julius Bierbaum, Richard Dehmel, Gustav Falke,
Detlev von Liliencron, Arthur Schnitzler, Franz Blei,
Leo Greiner, Max Halbe, Hanns Heinz Evers and Roda-
Roda. The services of the leading young musicians
and the better known young painters (among them
Th. Th. Heine, Bruno Paul and Olaf Gulbranson, who
were also drawing for Simplicissimus) were given to the
preparation of our programmes and our scenery. The
theatre made a great hit and had enormous influence
both in Germany and Austria.

My varied duties as director and general manager
forced me to study music, which played an important
part in our enterprise. I gave French folk-song a large
place in our programmes. I revived our old costumes,
our old provincial traditions, and I reintroduced
ancient instruments of music, revolutionising the con-
ception of an orchestra by adding a touch of the pictur-
esque, an unexpected hint of line and colour.

Prologue 5

I travelled through all the towns of Germany, Aus-
tria, Hungary, Poland, Holland, Scandinavia, Switzer-
land and Baltic Russia, everywhere drawing consider-
able audiences. I would begin the evenings by a
rapid survey, with quotations, of popular poetry and
art throughout the centuries. I published a book on
French folk-song and an anthology for German use.
There followed several collections of old songs, pub-
lished at Leipzig. These sold largely. A few volumes
of original verse and three plays, produced with success,
completed my literary equipment. . . .

I have thought well to begin my book with this short
autobiography so that the reader may know something
of the man who is going to talk of Germany in the pages
that follow.

Completely uprooted from France by the force of
circumstances, I believe that I am better qualified than
most foreigners to speak of a country in which I played
an active part for twenty years. At Berlin, Munich
and Vienna I have met too many of my compatriots,
who, perpetually brushing one against the other, are
incapable of mixing with the population among which
they find themselves, but nevertheless feel themselves
entitled to publish superficial and misleading apprecia-
tions of peoples that they hardly know.

War brought me back to France again, and from the

Beyond the Rhine

first days of mobilisation I have done the duty that
every Frenchman knows how to do.

I think, however, that I was always doing my duty
as a Frenchman when, with influence and reputation, I
strove over there in Germany to win affection for
France, and when I brought the support of my Latin
intelligence to the struggles of a young Teuton genera-

I believe in our victory because our cause is that of all
peoples, while the cause of our enemies is that of an
evil tyranny ; but I cannot help thinking that, if we had
better studied the Germans themselves, we should have
avoided many misunderstandings.

PARIS, July, 1916.


" Donnez-nous, dit ce peuple, un roi qui se remue." LA FONTAINE.

The modern Berlin cafe The opening of the Kaffee Princess Its
orchestra I meet the Armenian Why was Germany interested
in Armenia ? The Teuto-Armenian magazine and its editor
France's " glorious past " In search of a king The withering
of the Armenian National Committee.

E~'NG, long ago to be exact, at Berlin, just be-
fore the war I received a card luxuriously
bevelled informing me that there would shortly be
opened on the Kurfiirstendam a new cafe to be called
the " Kaffee Princess." The proprietor begged me,
with all the fulsome servility of German politeness, to
do him the honour of gracing with my presence the
solemn inauguration of his establishment. The card
was embellished with a golden crown adorned with
five neurons. It explained to me that the famous
architect X had designed the building and that the
well-known artist Z had conceived the scheme of
decoration and furnishing.

For some years Berlin had had a craze for the ultra
modern cafe. The movement was, of course, an out-
let for the commercial fertility of German artists.
The practical good sense of business men knew in
Germany none of the rigid limits of tradition. All
that is new is beautiful. The maddest schemes im-


8 Beyond the Rhine

mediately found wealthy men eager for their realisa-
tion. As a result, restaurants, tea salons, bars and
cafes acquired more and more the fascination of a
nightmare. Each new talent sought to outstrip its
competitors by employing decorative excesses of the
most violent nature, which horrified but fascinated
the docile curiosity of the public.

The opening of one of these new cafes was nothing
short of a dress rehearsal. The elite of society were
invited. Artists, writers, journalists, cultured idlers,
all the recognised habitues of places of public pleasure
sat about drinking iced champagne (French cham-
pagne of course no other exists for a public that is
really smart) ; little cakes were provided free by the
gracious master of the ceremonies, and everyone made
an enormous meal, criticising with genuine delight the
idiot proprietor who had been robbed and fooled by
artists without talent. When this occupation began
to pall, they looked keenly about for any notorious
individual whose presence might be interpreted as an
insult. Finally everybody went away, quite happy
to have seen the place, but happier still to have been
seen there by others.

Each new cafe ran the accustomed course. Until
the curiosity of the great city was glutted it remained
crowded ; perhaps for a few months. Then it would
become a discreet shelter for couples in search of

The Kaffee Princess was indeed sensational.
At the door of the Kurfurstendam an interminable

The Armenian Question

porter, a real Potsdam grenadier, displayed a livery
of delicate mauve cloth with startling gold bands.
He wore a huge Russian cap, also gold and mauve,
which made him look like one of the mushrooms in
Grimm's stories impressive, but vilely poisonous.
The interior lighting of the cafe was skilfully softened
by gold and yellow silk, which shrouded the electric
lamps in dainty folds suggestive of the finest lingerie.
Every room struck a different note. There was a
salon in episcopal violet, a green room (like a billiard
table), a red room (like a Bengal light). The daring
pattern of the seats tried to the utmost the physique
of those guests who attempted to use them. Glasses,
plates, cups, sugar basins, spoons, knives and forks
were like complicated riddles. It needed painful effort
to persuade them to perform those small services
which one has a right to expect.

As the astonished visitors were usually beyond
speech, their paralysis was drowned in waves of muted
melody. The " Viennese " orchestra, conducted by a
Russian Jew, played with a haphazard characteristic of
German taste, a Handel Largo, " The Merry Widow,"
the latest Tango and the Waldweben from Siegfried.
But always muted, everything was muted, without
'piano and without forte ; for a sort of impersonal
distance is, of course, the only real chic.

The Kurfurstendam is the most fashionable street of
West Berlin that is to say, the Berlin of the wealthy.
The actual Germanic race is barely represented there
except by a handful of errant females in riotous

io Beyond the Rhine

costume. The rest of the crowd that grace the street
are Jews. They feel at home there. They can be at
once distinguished by their type from the native
Germans. They stand for high finance, big business,
and the whole series of the liberal professions into
which they are driven by the rigid hostility of the
Government : they are doctors, lawyers, journalists,
publishers, theatrical managers, etc. etc. They form
naturally enough the nucleus of the world that pat-
ronises the Kaffee Princess.

I became more or less of an habitue at the Princess,
not for the sake of its style of decoration nor out
of love for the languid movements of the orchestra-
conductor, but because I lived a few yards off, and
particularly because that all-too-green room, reserved
for regular visitors, had a coolness and quiet which
I learned to appreciate. Every evening after the
theatre I would find there pleasant company with
whom I passed the hours till bedtime.

Regularty, at the table next mine, appeared a guest
with long hair, aged about thirty, always occupied
with reading some foreign paper printed in characters
which suggested a Turkish inscription. We began with
a nod of greeting and ended in conversation. He was
Armenian, as was also the paper that he read. He
told me he was finishing his studies at Berlin University
and was preparing for a Doctorate of Philosophy. He
talked German badly enough and hardly understood
French at all. Nevertheless, I learned from him a lot
that was interesting about the history, conditions and

The Armenian Question 1 1

ideals of his country, the fate of which had always
moved my sympathy.

The young Armenian told me that a National Com-
mittee had been founded at Berlin to interest the
Government in their fate, and that support had been
found in high quarters. I did not know Armenia, but
I knew Germany very well, and I ascribed instantly
to this benevolence motives more subtle than sheer
philanthropy. Germany keeps her sentimentality for
literature and never allows it to mingle with

What interest could Berlin possibly have in en-
couraging an Armenian revival ? It was enough to
move in German circles to know the importance the
Government attached to the question of the Balkans
and Asia Minor. The Bagdad Railway was a national
undertaking for which every one saw a magnificent
future. To unite Berlin and the Persian Gulf was the
first step toward the subjection of Europe to German
political theory. The rapid decay of French influence
in the East was a secret from nobody. German trade
had already laid its hand on Turkey. What, I asked
myself again, could the Wilhelmstrasse hope to gain
by showing official favour to Armenian aspirations ?

In the course of our conversations I learned that a
German- Armenian paper was to be founded. The funds
were provided by a German Bank in Constantinople,
which had just established a branch at Van in Armenia.
It is always through their banks that the Germans
begin their methodical and peaceful penetration of

1 2 Beyond the Rhine

another country. They have shown it over and over
again in South America, where gradually they have
edged out their European competitors by extending
large credits to native traders.

I had, then, the privilege of being present at the
realisation of the Armenian programme in Berlin.
My friend brought his comrades to the green room,
which soon lost all its charm of solitude and was
filled every evening with raucous conversation of
which I understood not one word.

I got to know in this way a great national poet,
exiled by the Turkish authorities, who was going to
edit the new paper. He was assisted by an Armenian
ex-general, built like a Hercules, with an olive-green
face framed in a thick grisly beard. Three times con-
demned to death by default for having defended the
cause of his fellow countrymen, he had some time ago
taken refuge in Berlin, where he practised the pro-
fession of a dentist. With such biceps I have no doubt
of his efficiency.

The first number of the periodical was conceived
and edited in my presence at the Kaffee Princess.
As it was to appear in the two languages, several
learned Germans supplied indigestible articles flavoured
with unreliable statistics, in which they endeavoured
to prove that only Germany was able to give back to
the Armenians that influence and that place in the
sun which they deserved. These articles, as well as
the contributions in Armenian, were sent to Constanti-
nople, because Germany did not possess, even at

The Armenian Question

Leipzig, the necessary fount for printing them. In
contrast, Constantinople swarmed with German print-
ing works, and it was therefore easier to produce the
paper on the banks of the Bosphorus.

The evening when the first number, freshly arrived
from Turkey, passed from hand to hand was indeed a
great occasion. The last page proclaimed the excellence
of the Hamburg-Amerika and of the Norddeutscher
Lloyd, while listing also the numerous advantages
offered to their clients by the Deutsche Bank and
Disconto Gesellschaft.

From the first number onwards the Foreign Minister
in Berlin gave his support to the paper. The Armenian-
German entente was an accomplished fact, and my
friends were never tired of praising their benefactors.

Indeed I did not grudge them their enthusiasm, and
I respected their illusions. This handful of men did
not represent the Armenian nation. They were acting
on their own accord and with the best of motives.
Nevertheless, I ventured with great discretion to
remind them of the sympathies of France, which had
never deserted them. I mentioned books by courageous
writers (such as Pierre Quillard) which ceaselessly
urged the Government of the Republic to intervene in
favour of the Armenians, but I was met with sceptical
smiles and shrugs of disillusion. I was not to think
that they disliked France. Oh no, it was not that. . . .

Indeed they loved France, and had the most pro-
found admiration for her glorious past. That was it.
Everything for which France stood in their eyes had

14 Beyond the Rhine

long ago perished. This was not the only time that
my patriotism had to suffer this cruel taunt. It was
the powerful shadow of the Prussian Eagle which so
many saw cast across the high roads of the future.
For my country they had only a respectful sympathy
and words which were not unlike condolences.

The Armenian gatherings became more numerous
and more excited. I had gone back to my usual table
and refrained, on purpose, from taking part in dis-
cussions in which, as a Frenchman, I might have
seemed an intruder. Many strange names glittered

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Online LibraryMarc HenryBeyond the Rhine; → online text (page 1 of 16)