Trebitsch, Siegfried

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

TREBITSCH, SIEGFRIED

TREBITSCH, SIEGFRIED (1869–1956), Austrian novelist, playwright, and translator. The son of a Viennese silk merchant, Trebitsch was a great traveler. His first volume of poetry, Gedichte (1889), was followed after prolonged intervals by Wellen und Wege (1913) and Aus verschuetteten Tiefen (1947). He was, however, better known as a prose writer and wrote many psychological novels, including Genesung (1902), Spaetes Licht (1918), and Renate Aldringen (1929). Die Rache ist mein (1934) was a volume of novellas. Trebitsch's plays include Ein Muttersohn (1911), Frau Gittas Suehne (1920), and Das Land der Treue (1926). His German translations of George Bernard Shaw's plays (in various editions from the turn of the century on) paved the way for Shaw's European vogue. Following the Anschluss in 1938, Trebitsch, a convert to Christianity, settled in Switzerland. His autobiography, Chronik eines Lebens (1951; Chronicle of a Life, 1953), is an informative and entertaining firsthand account of the European literary scene.

[Harry Zohn]

His stepbrother, arthur trebitsch (1880–1927), was also a writer in Vienna. Like Siegfried he abandoned Judaism and, as a disciple of Otto *Weininger, was a notorious antisemite. His book Geist und Judentum (1919) blamed the defeat of the Central Powers during World War i and the subsequent collapse of the Hohenzollern and Hapsburg dynasties on Jewish machinations. His Deutscher Geistoder Judentum (1921) utilized the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion to prove the existence of a Jewish conspiracy to dominate and debauch the world. An admirer of Houston Stewart *Chamberlain, whose racial theories he developed to a pathological extreme, Trebitsch vilified his fellow Jews until his death and even offered his services to the Austrian Nazis.

bibliography:

G. Schuberth, Arthur Trebitsch, sein Leben und sein Werk (1927); R. Mueller-Guttenbrunn, Der brennende Mensch: Das geistige Vermaechtnis von Arthur Trebitsch (1930); T. Lessing, Juedischer Selbsthass (1930), 101–31; F. Heer, Der Glaube des Adolf Hitler (1968), index; S. Liptzin, Germany's Stepchildren (1944), 189–94.