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Kuh, Anton

KUH, ANTON

KUH, ANTON (1890–1941), German journalist and essayist. Coming from a Prague Jewish family of journalists – his grandfather David Kuh was the founder of the Tagesboten in Boehmen, his father, Emil Kuh, the chief of the Neue Wiener Tagblatt – Kuh began his career as a journalist in 1912. From then on, living in Vienna, Prague, and (after 1925) Berlin, he wrote more than 1,000 critical and satirical articles, essays, and reviews on cultural and political issues for many German papers such as the Prager Tagblatt (1912–37), Der Friede (1918–19), Das Tagebuch (1922–26), Die Stunde (1923–26), Der Querschnitt (1924–33), Die Weltbuehne (1928–32), Die Neue Weltbühne (1934–38), and, after emigrating to New York, Der Aufbau (1939–41). Some of his articles were collected in the volumes Von Goethe abwärts (1922), Der unsterbliche Oesterreicher (1931), and Physiognomik (1931), and more recently in Luftlinien (ed. R.Greuner, 1981), Zeitgeist im Literatur-Café (ed. U. Lehner, 1983), and Sekundentriumph und Katzenjammer (ed. T. Krischke, 1994). Kuh also made himself known for his controversial contribution to the debate on Judaism in speeches, which he made between 1918 and 1920 in Prague, Bruenn, and Berlin (published under the title Juden und Deutsche, 1921). Criticizing at the same time assimilation and Zionism as ultimately non-Jewish concepts, Kuh defended the Diaspora as offering a free, non-bourgeois, and genuinely Jewish mode of existence. He negated the institutions of family, state, and religion, using arguments from the psychoanalyst Otto Gross and the anarchist Krapotkin as well as from Nietzsche and Boerne, a selection of whose writings he edited (Boerne der Zeitgenosse, 1922). Already attacked for Juden und Deutsche (among others by Max *Brod, Robert *Weltsch, Berthold Viertel, and Johannes Urzidil), Kuh was involved in another debate with Karl *Kraus, whom he criticized in a speech in October 1925 (published under the title Der Affe Zarathustras, 1925). In 1933, Kuh returned to Vienna, and in 1938 went to Prague and New York, writing mostly against the Nazi ideology until his death of a heart attack.

bibliography:

U. Lehner, in: J. Spalek (ed.), Deutschsprachige Exilliteratur seit 1933, vol. 4 (1994), 1019–49; A. Kilcher, Juden und Deutsche (2003), 7–65.

[Andreas Kilcher (2nd ed.)]

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