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VAN HODDIS, JAKOB (Hans Davidsohn ; 1887–1942), German poet. Born into an assimilated family, Van Hoddis chose as a pseudonym an anagram of his surname, Davidsohn. He was among the founders of the "Neue Club" in Berlin, regarded as the heart of German expressionism. His poem "Weltende" ("End of the World"), published in 1911, made its author famous overnight, becoming "the Marseillaise of the expressionist rebellion" (J.R. Becher). Showing first symptoms of psychosis at the age of 25, van Hoddis received private foster care from 1915 on. Twelve years later, incapacitated, he was referred to psychiatric clinics in Tuebingen and Goeppingen. While the rest of his family immigrated to Palestine just after Hitler's seizure of power, van Hoddis – like all Jewish psychiatry patients – was taken to the "Israelite Convalescent Home for the Mentally Ill" in Bendorf-Sayn; from there he was deported in April 1942 and murdered in a Polish concentration camp (presumably Chełmno or Sobibor).


I. Stratenwerth, All meine Pfade rangen mit der Nacht. Jakob van Hoddis, Hans Davidsohn (1887–1942) (2001); H. Hornbogen, Jakob van Hoddis: die Odyssee eines Verschollenen (1986); H. Schneider, Jakob van Hoddis. Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung des Expressionismus (1967).

[Philip Theisohn (2nd ed.)]

van Hoddis, Jakob

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