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Schwarzenbach, Annemarie (1908-1942)  
 
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She perhaps most hauntingly captured the rising threat of fascism in Europe through unsettling portraits of Hitler Youth and National Socialist functionaries, smugly confident in their group identities.

Early in the war years Schwarzenbach returned to America, enduring further depressive episodes and a doomed affair with wealthy émigré Margo von Opel. In New York she reconnected with the Mann siblings and through them met writer Carson McCullers, who fell hopelessly in love with her. Schwarzenbach, intent on rekindling the bond with Erika Mann, did not reciprocate. Mann, however, was preoccupied with legal and financial support for European refugees.

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For Schwarzenbach the political was personal. Financially dependent on her family and anxious to avoid estrangement, she opposed their class position intellectually through her journalism and other writings. But emotionally, she still sought and needed their approval.

Her fellow expatriates, especially the Mann siblings, whose politics were unambiguous and who had thrown themselves into anti-fascist activism, had little patience with her internal dilemmas.

News of her father's death and the deterioration of her relationships precipitated an emotional breakdown in 1940. After two institutional confinements in the U.S., Schwarzenbach returned to Switzerland in 1941 and tried to pick up the pieces in the mountain town of Engadine.

She took reporting assignments in Portugal and Africa and reunited with Clarac in Morocco, before returning to Switzerland in 1942. She also initiated regular correspondence with McCullers, who had dedicated Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941) to her.

While bicycling to St. Moritz to sign papers on her house in September 1942 she took a spill and incurred a head injury from which she never recovered. She died on November 15, at the age of 34.

Many of Schwarzenbach's photographic subjects appear authentically rooted in their environments. One is tempted to read this as a yearning for her own place in a world she roamed so hungrily. That may be a fanciful impression but, after all, she had that effect on people.

Ruth M. Pettis

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   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  Documentary Film

The queer community has used documentary film to resurrect historical memory and to permit the marginalized to bear witness, as well as to build an image base that reflects our diversity and counters distorted representations.

literature >> Overview:  German and Austrian Literature: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

With major periodic setbacks, over the last two centuries German-speaking authors have gradually developed a gay and lesbian positive literature.

literature >> Overview:  Journalism and Publishing

The gay and lesbian press is of prime importance in sustaining a frequently embattled minority and has been crucial in the development of a national mass movement for gay rights.

social sciences >> Overview:  Nazism and the Holocaust

As part of its agenda to preserve an "Aryan master race," Nazism persecuted homosexuals as "asocial parasites"; more than 100,000 men were arrested on homosexual charges during the Nazi years, with 5,000-15,000 gay men incarcerated in concentration camps.

arts >> Overview:  Photography: Lesbian, Pre-Stonewall

The most significant examples of pre-Stonewall lesbian photography convey relationships, reflect lesbian iconography, or show the photographer looking at and recording her beloved.

literature >> Overview:  Travel Literature

Travel has afforded gays and lesbians both freedom from the restraints of their own cultures and the erotic stimulus of exotic sexual customs and partners.

arts >> Freund, Gisèle

Though she was an accomplished and respected photojournalist, Gisèle Freund is today best remembered as a chronicler of the vibrant bohemian community of artists and writers that made its home in Paris during the 1930s.

arts >> Mann, Erika

Writer, actress, and intellectual refugee from the Third Reich, Erika Mann was one of the twentieth century's most intriguing nonconformists, noted especially for her anti-fascist cabaret satire.

literature >> Mann, Klaus

Klaus Mann's vision of homosexuality is marked by loneliness and alienation, and his fiction is characterized by melancholic hopelessness.

literature >> Mann, Thomas

One of Germany's greatest twentieth-century authors, Thomas Mann encoded his own homosexuality in his novels but thought that homosexuality led to the destruction of social institutions and the death of the individual homosexual.

literature >> McCullers, Carson

The fiction of the sexually ambiguous Carson McCullers offers uncomfortable resistance to the social ideal of neat heterosexuality.

arts >> Sekula, Sonja

Swiss-born artist Sonja Sekula created small-scale abstract images with profound emotional power.


    Bibliography
   

"Annemarie Schwarzenbach, The Dark Years 1937-1938." Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art. (2002): http://www.swissinstitute.net/2001-2006/Exhibitions/2002_Lounge_Specials/2002_Annemarie_Schwarzenbach/Schwarzenbach.htm

Bonstein, Carole, Daniel Gibel, and Nasser Bakhti. A Swiss Rebel--Annemarie Schwarzenbach, 1908-1942. Videorecording. Geneva: Troubadour Films, 2000; San Francisco: Frameline, 2000.

Georgiadou, Areti. Das Leben zerfetzt sich mir in Tausende Stuecke: Annemarie Schwarzenbach: Eine Biographie. Frankfurt: Campus Sachbuecher, 1995.

Maillart, Ella. The Cruel Way. Boston: Beacon Press, 1987.

Schwarzenbach, Annemarie. Alle Wege sind offen. Basel: Lenos, 2000.

_____. Annemarie Schwarzenbach: Selected Photographs and Writings, 1933-1940. Barbara Lorey de Lacharrière, curator; Amy H Winter, ed. New York: Godwin-Ternbach Museum, 2005: http://www.qc.cuny.edu/nis/Releases/viewNews.php?id=142

_____. Das glückliche Tal. Frauenfeld: Huber, 2001

_____. Freunde um Bernhard. Basel: Lenos, 1998.

_____. "from Lyric Novella." Isabel Cole, trans. Archipelago 4:4 (Winter 2001): 26-33; http://www.archipelago.org/vol4-4/vol4no4.pdf

_____. "from Death in Persia." Chris Schwarzenbach, trans. Drumlummon Views 1:1-2 (Spring/Summer 2006): 222-233; http://www.drumlummon.org/images/PDF-Spr-Sum06/DV_1-2_Schwarzenbach.pdf

_____. Jenseits von New York. Basel: Lenos, 1992.

_____. Lyrische Novelle. Basel: Lenos, 1988.

_____. Tod in Persien. Basel: Lenos, 1995.

_____. Wir werden es schon zuwege bringen, das Leben . . . Briefe 1930-1942. Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus, 1993.

Tippins, Sherill. February House. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Pettis, Ruth M.  
    Entry Title: Schwarzenbach, Annemarie  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2007  
    Date Last Updated August 9, 2007  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/schwarzenbach_a_arts.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2007 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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