Konrad Heiden

April 5th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

When HG was 23, HG began living, on and off, with Jeanette L., a wordily woman some 20 years his senior. It was a very instructive and rewarding relationship. Jeanette lived in Paris for a number of years and was friends with esteemed sculptors Ossip Zadkine and Chana Orloff. Jeanette gifted HG (almost 63 years ago) with an exquisite drawing by Zadkine’s wife, Valentin Prax. It hangs in HG’s New Mexico office and HG stares at it for a moment as HG types this post. Jeanette was close friends with many great German journalists, artists and musicians who emigrated to the United States after the rise of Hitler. Jeanette, a libertine, had intimate relations with many of them. One afternoon, on New York’s West 72nd Street, Jeanette and HG were lunching at Eclair, a delightful restaurant and pastry shop favored by European refugees. Jeanette introduced HG to a distinguished German journalist/historian, Konrad Heiden (1901-1966). Heiden encountered Hitler very early in the Nazi’s career. In 1923, when Heiden was one of Germany’s most prominent journalists, he described Hitler as “a demagogue at the head of an army of the uprooted and disinherited.” Heiden was frighteningly prescient. In 1937, he predicted The Holocaust. Hitler and the Nazis, he said had a “cooly calculated plan for the mass murder of Jews”. The “mass murder,” he wrote,”would be on a scale the world has not seen. We can only venture guesses on what the technical means these executions are to take.” In the late 20’s, Heiden went to a Berlin dinner party given by a society hostess. Hitler, a guest, was silent at the party, confining himself to eating many pastries and cookies. Then, the hostess made a light remark about Jews. Hitler arose and delivered a 30-minute tirade, his voice rising to a scream. He then left. Heiden remarked: “His voice was the most penetrating and powerful I have ever heard.” Heiden wore a number of books about Hitler and the Nazis. “Der Fuhrer”, published in 1944, was a best seller in the United States. Heiden said Hitler was a “great propagandist.” Heiden wrote: ‘The great propagandist hears the murmur of the masses. His actions are contradictory and misleading. However, the lies of the great propagandist reveal deeper truths about the world’s cynicism and dishonesty. By his lies the great propagandist involuntarily shows himself to be a self revealing prophet of the Devil.” Heiden’s words seem very relevant in terms of today’s political scene.


Paree: Day Eight. These Boots Were Made For Walking

February 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Lots and lots of walking today. Started in the Montparnasse neighborhood where HG and BSK walked to the Musee and Atelier Zadkine. Ossip Zadkine was a cubist sculptor and painter whose works mark many Paris public areas (adjacent to Cafe Deux Magots and in the Luxembourg Gardens). HG met Zadkine during one of his U.S. visits in the 1950’s. A lovely man. The museum, studio and sculpture garden are small but beautifully organized. Zadkine’s work holds up — it is strong Cubism, rhythmic and powerful.

HG was sorry to ever see only one work–a painting– by Zadkine’s wife, Valentine Prax. HG was gifted with a beautiful drawing by Prax in 1952. As fresh today as it was almost 60 years ago. Zadkine and Prax are very celebrated in Paris but virtually unknown in the United States. A pity.

After viewing the Zadkines (and the Prax), HG and BSK strolled around the Luxembourg Gardens where forsythia was in bloom. Watched the boules players, the kids on ponies and the other sights of this most exquisite and civilized park. HG and BSK retraced their first visit to Paris footsteps of 46 years ago along the Boulevard St. Germain to Rue Du Bac. Lots of street music along the way. An exuberant, young (not very good) brass ensemble outside the Luxembourg gate and a very good Dixieland group of oldsters outside the St. Germain church. A cliche: Where did the years go? Back to the loft and a chilled bottle of very good Sancerre. Much red wine, pate de campagne, fresh baguettes await at dinner Chez HG and BSK. Hemingway called Paris “a moveable feast.” Surely it is a feast for all of the senses.

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