Biography of Emil Ludwig (1881-1948)

German writer, real name Emil Cohn, born in Bratislava in 1881 and died in Moscia, small village located in the vicinity of Ascona (Switzerland) in 1948. Born in a family of Jewish bourgeoisie, he/she studied law and history at Heidelberg, Lausanne, Bratislava and Berlin. Despite his first literary attempts, where already a determined vocation, manifested in 1904 he/she started working in a family business. However, in 1906, he/she left her to travel to Switzerland and finally devote himself to literature. During the period of World War I he/she wrote reports for the Berliner Tageblatt newspaper from several European capitals. This was a decisive in its life period, because it helped him to take a position more and more European and less nationalistic.

After the war he/she became one of most successful writers: in 1930 his works had achieved runs of a million copies and had been translated into over 27 languages. The cause of this success was the new genre developed by Ludwig in the three novels and nine plays published between 1911 and 1931, the historical biography of a psychological nature. Certainly one big difference with others of equal biographical character can be seen in their texts, and is that in the works of Ludwig the degree of reflection and analysis of the historical facts reaches a level unknown until that time. This can be seen in detail in the first published Biography: Goethe. Geschichte eines Menschen (Goethe. Story of a man, 1920). The sub-title clearly formulates the purpose of Biography: demystify the genius and place it at the individual level, discover his soul and his personality, their weaknesses and their magnitudes, all accompanied always a material of great documentary value.

The biographies of Rembrandt (1923), Napoleon (1925) and Wilhelm II followed Goethe. (Guillermo II, 1925). Despite their constant confrontation with history in all their biographies, his political position is difficult to determine and since his first works it was regarded as the intellectual representative of the young Republic. After the murder of his friend Rathenau, he/she abandoned the Jewish in protest, although in 1902 it had become already officially to Christianity. Swiss nationality he/she adopted in 1932 and in 1933 all his books were publicly burned. Thanks to its good economic situation helped many German writers persecuted and organized international protests against the Third Reich. In 1940 he/she was appointed responsible for President Roosevelt for Affairs with Germany. His idea of fascism was derived from the character of the Germans, at the time that was required a transformation of this town is reflected in the text pronounced in relation to this position.

In 1945 he/she returned to Switzerland, where he/she lived until his death and was where most criticized that admired.