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Thomas Wolfe's other German girlfriend: who was Lisa Hasait?

The distinction of being known as "Thomas Wolfe's German girlfriend" properly belongs on several grounds to Thea Voelcker. For one thing, of all Wolfe's relationships with German women, that with Voelcker was the most intense, even though it was also relatively brief. Their affair, moreover, came to involve--albeit rather marginally--other individuals who were significant in his life such as H. M. Ledig-Rowohlt and Maxwell Perkins. Not least of all, the short and tumultuous encounter of Voelcker and Wolfe during the summer of 1936 was immortalized by Wolfe in his posthumously published novel You Can't Go Home Again in the figures of Else von Kohler and George Webber, although the reality of Voelcker's personality corresponded only in part to the fictional treatment she received from the pen of her erstwhile American lover (Rogers; Stokes).

But while this fleeting connection was the sole one of its kind involving a German woman about which Wolfe left behind a literary monument, it now transpires that a second such relationship has been recorded in print. Its author, however, was the other partner to the encounter, and her name before marriage was Lisa Hasait. (1) She also wrote a few letters and postcards to Wolfe that have survived and that, together with her recent memoirs (Von Dresden nach Otjiwarongo, 2001), provide a revealing insight into his behavior in the foreign country where "I am liked best and have the most friends" (qtd. in Kennedy 46).

In the course of his six visits to Germany, Wolfe met a number of women. Already during his initial sojourn there in 1926 he was impressed by the beauty of the country's female population--they were apparently the "robust blondes" he had expected them to be (Letters 81)--in contrast to their thick-necked menfolk whose shaven heads and faces scarred by dueling cuts repelled him (Stutman 139, 140; Notebooks 1: 88, 91, 93). Yet, while he readily confessed his own need for "women again" after a long separation from his mistress, Aline Bernstein, Wolfe's still ardent affection for her restrained him from pursuing any German females he encountered; as he wrote her: "I kept the faith, Jew" (qtd. in Stutman 139). Bernstein's presence with him the following year in Munich and Nuremberg presumably prevented amorous adventures, and restraint may have prevailed again in 1928 despite his catching sight of many "Good looking women" in German hotel lobbies (Notebooks 1: 185).

The situation had entirely changed, however, when Wolfe, after a five-year absence, returned to Germany during the summer of 1935. By then his love for Aline Bernstein belonged to the past, and so did his anonymity. Instead, Wolfe was the widely acclaimed author of one novel in German translation--Schau heimwarts, Engel!--with a second (Of Time and the River) already a best seller in the United States. The young bachelor, strikingly tall and handsome, was being feted all over Berlin by his publicity-conscious publisher, Ernst Rowohlt, and the vivacious Martha Dodd, daughter of no less a personage than the American ambassador. This was the background for Wolfe's meeting in the German capital with Lisa Hasait. (2)

Just who was she? Born in Dresden on 16 December 1909, Lisa (Elisabeth) was the younger of the two daughters of Max Hasait, the internationally recognized technical director of the Royal Saxon Opera (known today as the Semper Opera) and his socially ambitious wife (Kuntze 7-8, 12, 71-72). Following her schooling in three practically oriented institutions (her self-made father, who had hoped for a son as his second child, focused the family's academic ambitions upon the older sister), Hasait embarked on a period of training in the book trade. In late 1931 she escaped a restrictive home life by leaving for England where she became an au pair mother's helper and earned a language diploma from Exeter University. She spent three years in all there and subsequently in France doing the same work, thereby becoming fluent in both English and French. In 1934 she returned to London where she served as her father's translator while he was employed for a stint at Covent Garden. Back in Germany she took a job as a secretary with the Siemens electrical firm in Berlin (Kuntze 8, 13, 15, 23-24, 40-57, 66-71, 76-97). (3) This was the position Lisa Hasait held when Thomas Wolfe burst into her life.

In addition to acquiring a sound knowledge of Wolfe's native tongue, which helped pave the way for her introduction to the young writer, Hasait made an important female friend during her stay in England--a young woman whom she identifies only as Rangane, the "very intelligent and attractive" daughter of a Greek diplomat in the British and later German capitals (Kuntze 58-60, 107). (4) It was she, along with Martha Dodd, who brought the pair together, as recounted in the following excerpt from the chapter entitled "Thomas Wolfe--the Writer" (5) in Lisa [Hasait] Kuntze's memoirs:

It was already reported in the newspapers, especially the English ones, that Thomas Wolfe, the sensation of the American literary world, would be traveling around our country again. Rangane had prepared us for that. From the same source we now also learned some personal information about him: He was born in 1900 in Asheville, North Carolina, [and] studied between 1920-24 at the state university there; in 1924 he became a lecturer in English literature in New York; (6) in 1930 a Guggenheim fellowship enabled him to travel to Europe which he later repeatedly visited. (7) This time was not the first, and later we would learn more precisely about that. Martha, the daughter of the American ambassador, regarded it as her task to introduce the author who had become famous so quickly to people that in her opinion were valuable for him [to meet]. She had been a close friend of Rangane for years. So one day Rangane told us, too, that the next day Martha would be bringing Thomas Wolfe to [see] us. It was not supposed to be a lavish reception. She would serve only tea, since it was known that this young American who was extraordinary in every way hated to be passed around like an object on display. It was therefore decided that this little tea party would take place in the yellow room [at the Greek legation], which in any case was unsuitable for a major event.

Who was Thomas Wolfe? As I have said, his visit had already been announced in many papers, but if you asked persons not interested in literary matters what they knew about him, the responses only came very hesitantly. His first work "Look Homeward, Angel" had achieved the status of a best seller in America, (8) but his newly found fame had not so far brought him happiness. On the contrary--like a completely unexpected, terrible thunderstorm, his constant companions were anger and hatred; his relatives, indeed his entire hometown of Atlanta [sic], had dumped on him. A short while ago a translation had appeared in Rowohlt-Verlag. But, in general, the book had not become known that fast around Berlin.

After we had already drunk some tea and conversed, the door opened and the tall, very good-looking [and] famous man walked slowly into the room. How can you describe the effect that this so completely unique, exceptionally large person exercised upon his surroundings? He was there. You looked at him in amazement. Yet, the strangest thing was that his size did not make a negative impression. With their warm gaze his attractive dark eyes seemed wordlessly to ask to be accepted just as he was. And this is exactly what happened, too. He sat down on a vacant chair. Rangane had introduced him in only a few words. Everyone in the room, of course, knew who was visiting us. Even for those who were usually quite articulate, it was not easy to find the right words. Everybody present had read and learned about the lofty position already accorded him in his homeland. One knew that he had already been proposed for the Nobel Prize. (9) Since possibly no one there had so far read his very successful book, however, it was difficult to find a common subject for discussion. But because all of the carefully chosen guests present belonged to the same social class, the result was noncommittal "small talk," (10) which in any case is usual on such occasions.

I sat across from Thomas and could observe him clearly. And in doing so I discovered that he kept his eyes half closed, but that he evidently heard everything that was said around him in the room. After a few futile attempts, people did not address him any more either. They accepted his presence, yet also sensed that for the moment at least he himself did not wish to speak. And I had so much hoped to hear his voice and naturally also his opinion on what he had seen and heard in Berlin. Rangane then mentioned that this time he especially wanted to seek out the area of Germany from which his ancestors had come. That was Thuringia. (11)

Soon the end of this modest social occasion was approaching. As usual, Rangane then suggested to her visitors that to wind things up they drive together to a little-known restaurant that was not overcrowded where they could converse freely. It therefore happened that Thomas and I were seated next to one another at a long bar--alone. I accordingly found the courage to confess that I, too, wanted to write, would [and] could [do so]. (12) However, his reaction to this was so vehement that it frightened me. He laid his big hand across my right one and declared solemnly: "Never, never, never," (13) And then he continued in a calm and normal voice: "Never write about your own family, your own friends, your own hometown! You would certainly regret it, for people cannot bear [to hear] the truth. For eight long years I have not been able to see my beloved birthplace [or] my beloved family [again]. I depicted them all, their narrow lives, their greater and lesser struggles for fame, for existence, [and] for survival. If you read my books you will understand my warning." The next day I very carefully read the volume that had caused him so much sorrow. And he even wrote me a very personal, very warm dedication in it. I also clearly sensed that he still suffered from the impact of this first work, which in the meantime had become renowned. Rangane, who had been sitting at a nearby table with the other guests, now stood up and reminded him of the big reception that his publisher would be giving for him later that same evening. So everybody rose, there was a general parting, and Tom announced that he would take me home.

He signaled for a taxi, we climbed in, and he declared that he would really like to see more of the land of his forbears. And suddenly--I was wholly unprepared for this--he embraced me passionately, and when I grasped that he meant this seriously, I resisted energetically. I did not want what for me was a very precious encounter with such an admirable human being to develop in so banal a fashion. The driver had also stopped because we had already reached my flat. Thomas jumped from the car, ran around in front of the taxi's headlights, tore open the door, helped me to get out, and raised his arms toward heaven shouting: "You are the purest girl in the world. I'm going to marry you. I shall go to my ambassador tomorrow and speak with him! I am terribly sorry, but now I have to go to my publisher's party. A publisher is important!"

The following day Rangane telephoned and haltingly confessed that Martha was very upset, but that she, Rangane, had to admit she did not know why. I did not want to explain either. It has remained a secret until this moment.

When I picked up Thomas in his Berlin hotel, "Am Zoo," as we had agreed upon the day before, I first of all had to wait until he had recovered from his nighttime party at the Rowohlt house. I thought his generous, wonderful idea of wanting without any question to marry me would [nevertheless] probably not appeal to my family. One has to take very much into consideration his strong personality. I immediately experienced a somewhat amusing example [of this]. He had asked me to take him that morning to [view] the world famous Pergamon Altar. (14) When I now reminded him of this he looked pleadingly at me, [wondering] if I would understand that he now preferred a visit to the zoo. I was [already] familiar with the Altar and of course was not angry with him. But on the way, which was not far, he informed me that he did not want to go near the monkey cage. Monkeys made him very nervous. Then I asked where we should go. He replied with a friendly laugh: "To the elephants." It was truly a priceless confrontation; other visitors stopped in their tracks and became amused observers because these gigantic animals at once came over to the bars, stuck their trunks through, and expected to receive special attention from this man who in his size resembled them. He accepted bags that were brought to him containing suitable treats for the animals, and it really was an extra show. The effect was also unmistakable, for Tom now overcame his experiences of the previous night, which had obviously affected him a lot. A deep calm emanated from the animals and that was clearly what poor Tom needed after a night of celebration. Meanwhile he explained to me that unfortunately many of his grandiose plans for his stay in Germany could not be realized. He was disappointed at the meager royalties [for his book], presumably compared to American standards. I tried to explain to him that the costs of translating this truly thick novel also had to be taken into account. But all that did not lessen his enthusiasm for Germany. (110-13)

The memoirist proceeds next to reprint an advertising announcement from the publisher of You Can't Go Home Again in its German translation (15) as an introduction to her discussion of the incident in the novel that marked Wolfe's break with Nazi Germany: his encounter on a train with a hapless Jewish refugee trying to flee the Third Reich. She expresses her regret that this "harsh experience ... diminished his very great love" for the country, while praising the "masterful description of the atmosphere of mounting fear" in the railway coach that the reader "comes to feel ... in his own body" and that "reveals clearly the extremely high level of artistic skill on the part of the young author." Her admiration, too, for Look Homeward, Angel is not lessened by the fact that its depictions of family relationships left her equally shaken and without any sense of happiness: "Since he describes each scene so realistically, it is understandable that people were more often angry with him than loved him. And strangely enough he could not understand that in the last analysis this reaction constituted an absolute recognition of his great abilities." The chapter concludes with a statement deploring that "like many American writers" alcohol played a large role in Wolfe's books as well as his life ("Thomas unfortunately needed whiskey") and implies that this was what eventually killed him. "His mother, whom he loved a great deal even if she could not understand the sort of person he was, suffered severely on account of his early death" (113-15).

This is the extent of Lisa Hasait's recollection of Thomas Wolfe in her memoirs, with one interesting addition. In 1942 she married a Wehrmacht officer, Eberhard Kuntze, from the former German colony of Southwest Africa (now Namibia) to which the couple and their young son emigrated seven years later. There the family took up farming near the town of Otjiwarongo, and as a way to augment their income Lisa began writing articles about rural life for the German-language newspaper in the capital, Windhoek. In doing so she had occasion to remember the cautionary words she had once heard from Wolfe:

Now that I was working for the press I had a strange experience. None other than my [own] relatives were upset [that] their sister- and daughter-in-law who had arrived from Germany ... was describing what was going on ... and being planned [here in Southwest Africa]. Of course, I recalled very well the urgent warning that the great American novelist Thomas Wolfe had long ago given me at our first meeting in Berlin, never to write about my homeland, my parents, [or] my friends in a book the way he had done in his novel "Look Homeward, Angel." With this admonition in mind, I was really careful and reported only on matters that did not involve our farm or family. But a certain element of reserve nevertheless remained on their side; I even received the impression that they regarded "writing" as a suspicious undertaking. (169)

Wolfe's advice notwithstanding, Lisa Kuntze wrote several partially autobiographical books, plus children's stories, and founded an amateur theater company in her adopted country (Kuntze 188-91, 208). She died in 2001, shortly after completing her memoirs. What do these, augmented by her--admittedly sparse--correspondence with Wolfe, add to our knowledge of him and the nature of his connection with Germany?

According to Kuntze's account, dictated sixty-five years later when she was nearly blind, it was Wolfe who had initiated the seduction of a young female admirer. That seems inherently probable; by 1935 he was doubtless on the lookout for female companionship when he traveled to Germany. He was, in fact, a day late arriving in Berlin because, as he confessed to Heinz Ledig-Rowohlt, he had made a brief unexpected stopover in Hanover "pursuing some amorous adventure, he told me later with a secret smile" (Ledig-Rowohlt 186). Albrecht Strauss relates a similar anecdote: "Many years ago my father's friend, Dr. Fritz Bamberger, told me that late one night in the thirties he had seen Wolfe, his coat-tail flapping in the breeze, chasing a streetcar on Berlin's Kurfurstendamm--in hot pursuit of a buxom blonde waitress of whom he had evidently become enamored" (5). But in her letters of June and July 1935, invariably addressed to "my big dear Thomas," Hasait was unapologetic about the indecorous manner in which she too had behaved at a party following their initial meeting. After first pretending she was ill, when she learned of his presence at the gathering she rushed in to see him--and for this she was called "ridiculous" by her friends. "Well, child [she told Wolfe] I don't care whatever anybody thinks of me.... Aren't we free to do what we like? ... I had thought of nothing but the pleasure of seeing you again.... The nice days we had together I enjoyed them more than I can ever tell you." Meantime, Hasait thanked him for the address apparently of a publisher's assistant to whom she had mailed "a little story" she had written. "It would be good, if I would be lucky." She also reminded Wolfe that he had said he would send her a copy of Schau heimwarts, Engel! the next time he dropped by the Rowohlt office: "it would give me so much pleasure." (16)

In another note, undated, Hasait prodded Wolfe not to forget the book ("Darling, ... I would be so happy"), while assuring him she still had the little white flowers in her room that were a souvenir of a Sunday spent together. She added that she would like to show him the Spreewald district around the city because "it is so romantic"; "I shall try to get in touch with you on the phone and in case you are out, try yourself to ring me up, there are millions of telephones in Berlin aren't there???????" (17) Later Hasait sent him postcards from vacation sites in Baden-Baden and Mittenwald in Upper Bavaria. They acknowledged receipt of his novel--it was "sitting on my night-table"--and of a letter from Copenhagen where he was on his way back to America:
   And you, child, I hope you don't mind I am writing in
   German [she concluded in English]. You wanted it, didn't
   you--and I think you will understand very well, if
   you are able to read my writing. I hope you are able to
   read my writing. I hope you are well and [that] your
   friends in your country will love you as we do. There are
   still people [here] talking of you and I am sure everybody
   will be glad to get you back as there is no real success
   without working--That is you, Tom, who taught
   me this! ... I am healthy and happy--and I should
   love--to see you--one day--again. (18)


Although there are some minor factual discrepancies (for example, about precisely when she received a copy of his first novel) between Lisa Kuntze's memoirs and her contemporary messages to Wolfe, the latter at least leave no doubt as to her considerable affection for him. Whether in 1935 she took his sudden proposal of marriage more seriously than she later recalled, however, seems unlikely. It is not so much as alluded to in any of her letters, nor did she bother to write Wolfe after he returned to the United States. Evidently she regarded their relationship as being over when he left Germany. This might be thought to imply that the pair were never intimate, contrary to what Martha Dodd might have supposed (Rogers 18n5).

On Wolfe's side, his friend Henry Volkening observed that he "disassociated clearly love from sex" and genuinely held the former sentiment for only one woman, Aline Bernstein, before their age difference "made him feel differently toward her" (qtd. in Bruccoli and Bruccoli 95, 87). Otherwise, said Volkening, Wolfe "didn't give a tinker's dam for any of them, for more than just the passing fun of fornication" (qtd. in Bruccoli and Bruccoli 86-87). When Wolfe considered a few times getting married, Volkening thought he did so "with only partial seriousness." "In any case, the virtues he looked for in a wife were those unimaginative ones of the typical German Hausfrau, with her 'Kinder, Kuche and Kirche' [children, kitchen, church]." But, in Volkening's opinion, Wolfe "would not have lasted out a year with such a creature" (qtd. in Bruccoli and Bruccoli 95). Despite her subsequent literary and theatrical accomplishments, Lisa Hasait appears to have been a thoroughly conventional young German woman. In her memoirs she calls the birth of her second child in 1950 "the happiest moment of my life," and her union with Eberhard Kuntze lasted until his death forty-five years later (Kuntze 175, 204). A marriage between Hasait and Wolfe would in all likelihood not have served either partner. She was, accordingly, wise to dismiss his offer, which he probably never intended to fulfill. (19)

To conclude, how do the person and character of Lisa Hasait compare with those of Thomas Wolfe's "real" German girlfriend, Thea Voelcker? Both women were several years younger than he was, both came from less than completely happy family situations, and both had started to display literary ambitions at the point in their lives when they encountered Wolfe. To judge by photographs, both could perhaps better be described as attractive rather than beautiful. Hasait seems to have been relatively tall, but her height was by no means the striking quality that first attracted Wolfe to Voelcker; nor did size assume the psychological significance for Hasait that it did for Voelcker. Another difference between the couples is that whereas Wolfe--however incongruously--proposed marriage to Hasait, only to be turned down by her, Voelcker did not want him for a husband but rather as the father of her child--an idea he rejected out of hand (Stokes 9-11).

The desire by Thea Voelcker for a baby from Wolfe and his almost violent refusal, rather than possible political differences between them as Ledig-Rowohlt speculated (198), brought their relationship to an abrupt and bitter end. Politics, however, might have assumed a different importance in his relationship with Hasait, had it continued. For, since May 1934, she had belonged to the Nazi Party's unit for Germans living abroad, the so-called Auslands-Organisation der NSDAP. She joined after attending meetings it sponsored in London and later Paris; her membership number was 3,452,954. When she returned to Germany, she was greatly impressed by the transformation the dictatorship had wrought among the country's population. Accordingly, Hasait began to devote "my entire free time" to working on behalf of the NSV, the National Socialist Welfare Organization, "an absolutely unique undertaking in the entire world." Among other services, she composed propaganda articles and short stories for newspapers and magazines on its Winter Relief and "Strength through Joy" vacation projects. Hasait also planned a novel about "The Change in Women" undergone during the Third Reich, as well as a series of reports dealing with, among other topics, "French Communism in National Disguise" that were to appear in the regional Party press. In demonstrating that writing was not only "an intellectual and individual activity" but also "an obligation toward the community," Lisa Hasait believed, "our Fuhrer has shown us the way." (20) Not surprisingly, perhaps, almost none of this information is found in her memoirs, although these do contain a few hints that she had been sympathetic to Hitler's cause. Thus, she wastes no words criticizing Hitler for launching another world war in 1939; she seems, in fact, to have been entirely oblivious to the conflict and to Nazism's crimes until the Allied bombing of Dresden and the arrival of Russian troops turned her family into refugees in their own land. (21) But before that happened, while in the employ of the Shortwave Broadcasting Station at the German National Radio's Berlin headquarters (one of the regime's principal propaganda instruments), (22) Hasait chose to marry a man who had gone from his African birthplace to Germany in order to serve as an officer in its armed forces (Kuntze 99-106, 122-23, 125-49)--commonly an indication among former German colonial residents of enthusiastic support of Hitler and his imperialist goals. (23) Eberhard and Lisa Kuntze even dreamed of settling somewhere in the Crimean peninsula, which had "deeply impressed him" when he was stationed there; (24) providing, of course, that the war ended in a German victory (Kuntze 157).

If Wolfe's connection with Lisa Hasait had ever progressed to the stage of marriage, it therefore appears certain that the two would have disagreed profoundly about the course of German affairs once his eyes had been opened by Martha Dodd, Heinz Ledig-Rowohlt, and others to the evils of the Nazi system. As it was, Thomas Wolfe remained free to denounce these without fear of losing the friends he cherished in Germany.

Notes

(1.) Not Lisa Hasair as Rogers (10-11), and following him Stokes (19n29), called her; she is correctly identified by Kennedy and Reeves as Hasait, an uncommon German name (Notebooks 2: 746, 748).

(2.) Credit for first establishing that Lisa Hasait and memoir writer Lisa Kuntze were the same person belongs to Steven B. Rogers.

(3.) The account in her memoirs of Lisa Hasait's educational and employment experience is augmented and occasionally corrected from her signed curriculum vitae of August 1936 included with her application for admission to the Nazi Chamber of Literature (the compulsory occupational organization for all authors in the Third Reich), which is part of her personnel file found among the records of the Reichskulturkammer held by the Bundesarchiv Berlin (BAB), Record Group R56.

(4.) The name of the Greek Minister in Berlin during the mid-1930s (presumably Rangane's father) was Alexandros Rizo-Rangabe.

(5.) All translations from German are my own.

(6.) Actually Wolfe was an undergraduate at Chapel Hill from 1916 to 1920; he enrolled in Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for three years beginning in September 1920, and intermittently between 1924 and 1930 taught in the English Department of the Washington Square campus of New York University.

(7.) After 1930 Wolfe returned just twice to Europe (and Germany)--in 1935 and for a final visit in 1936.

(8.) According to Paschal Reeves, "Look Homeward, Angel was never a best seller in America, though it did become one in both England and Germany" (xix).

(9.) This erroneous impression doubtless stemmed from Sinclair Lewis's flattering remarks about Wolfe on the occasion of his own receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1930.

(10.) In the original this is given in English as "small talks."

(11.) There is no genealogical evidence that Wolfe's paternal forebears came to Pennsylvania from this picturesque region of east central Germany (Reeves 4; Walser 1-2).

(12.) Between April and October 1934, Hasait had already published four articles (for example, on London theater life) in the Nazi Party press of her native Saxony (Application of Elisabeth Hasait to join the Reich Chamber of Literature, 13 Aug. 1936, BAB, R56).

(13.) In English in the original.

(14.) Perhaps Europe's foremost single antiquity, located in Berlin between 1929 and 1945 when the victorious Red Army removed it to Moscow; it is now again housed in its own museum in the German capital.

(15.) It is unclear whether the announcement quoted referred to the first German version of the novel published in 1942 by Alfred Scherz Verlag in Bern (Switzerland) or a subsequent postwar edition brought out by Rowohlt.

(16.) Lisa Hasait, letter to Thomas Wolfe, 5 June 1935, Thomas Wolfe Collection, North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC-CH, NCC), CW series, box 14. Used by permission of the late Paul Gitlin, Administrator CTA of the Estate of Thomas Wolfe.

(17.) Lisa Hasait, letter to Thomas Wolfe, n.d., William B. Wisdom Collection, Harvard University, Houghton Library (HUHL), bMS Am 1883.1 (728). Used by permission of Eugene Winick, Administrator CTA of the Estate of Thomas Wolfe. This and her subsequent postcards close with the phrase "Heaps of love."

(18.) Lisa Hasait, postcard to Thomas Wolfe, 27 July 1935 [from Mittenwald], HUHL. See also Lisa Hasait, postcard to Thomas Wolfe, 27 June [?] 1935 [from Baden-Baden], UNC-CH, NCC.

(19.) One is reminded of the impulsive proposals of marriage (sometimes accompanied by near sexual assault) that George Orwell made to several women he scarcely knew following the death of his first wife, though in this case the need to provide care for his infant son was perhaps the predominant motive. But would Wolfe's similarly early demise have turned Lisa Hasait too into a formidable literary widow like Sonia Orwell (Meyers 238-42, 364n4)?

(20.) Lisa Hasait's application and curriculum vitae, Aug. 1936, BAB, R56.

(21.) When a young Silesian mother fleeing the Red Army contemplates its arrival in Saxony by remarking, "Now we will have to pay," Kuntze records that she "looked at her in amazement. 'Pay,' I asked, 'whatever do we have to pay for?'" (129).

(22.) On the centrality of radio broadcasting and specifically Germany's short wave network in Nazism's propaganda apparatus, see Zeman 111-17. Among Lisa Hasait's tasks was answering incoming mail from listeners abroad.

(23.) Lisa Kuntze states that Eberhard was "conscripted" from his high school graduation class in Southwest Africa for service in the Wehrmacht (163); however, while German settlers in territories under League of Nations mandate control remained subject to Reich conscription regulations, and various forms of indirect pressure could be applied by the Nazi authorities to enforce these, such measures were usually unnecessary because most younger Germans abroad "grew up in a nationalist and even militaristic spirit and went to Germany on their own free will." This information was provided in communication from Martin Eberhardt, 16 March 2006; also similar information from Christoph Rass, Henning Melber, and Werner Hillebrecht, 7, 9, 12, and 15 March 2006.

(24.) Eberhard Kuntze, who was born 31 July 1917 at Farm Hillenhof in German Southwest Africa, served as a lieutenant in an artillery regiment during the 1940 campaign in France and Belgium and was subsequently a staff officer in an armored formation on the southern sector of the Russian front. At the end of June 1944 the decorated Captain Kuntze was captured by Allied forces in Normandy and was not released from Canadian custody until April 1947. This information provided in a letter from the Deutsche Dienststelle, 24 April 2006.

Works Cited

Bruccoli, Arlyn, and Matthew J. Bruccoli, eds. Thomas Wolfe's Friendship with Henry Volkening: The Documents. N.p.: Thomas Wolfe Society, 2005.

Kennedy, Richard S., ed. Beyond Love and Loyalty: The Letters of Thomas Wolfe and Elizabeth Nowell. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

Kuntze, Lisa. Von Dresden nach Otjiwarongo. Windhoek, Namibia: Kuiseb Verlag, 2001.

Ledig-Rowohlt, Heinrich Maria. "Thomas Wolfe in Berlin." American Scholar 22.2 (1953): 185-201.

Meyers, Jeffrey. Orwell:Wintry Conscience of a Generation. New York: Norton, 2000.

Reeves, Paschal. Introduction. Thomas Wolfe: The Critical Reception. Ed. Reeves. New York: David Lewis, 1974. xvii-xxxiv.

--. Thomas Wolfe's Albatross: Race and Nationality in America. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1968.

Rogers, Steven B. "'She Looked Like One of the Valkyries': Who Was Thomas Wolfe's German Girlfriend?" Thomas Wolfe Review 21.1 (1997): 8-20.

Stokes, Lawrence D. "Thomas Wolfe's German Girlfriend: Further Thoughts on Thea Voelcker." Thomas Wolfe Review 29.1-2 (2005): 5-20.

Strauss, Albrecht B. "Thomas Wolfe and Samuel Johnson: An Unlikely Pair," Southern Literary Journal 31.2 (1999): 1-11.

Stutman, Suzanne, ed. My Other Loneliness: Letters of Thomas Wolfe and Aline Bernstein. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

Walser, Richard. Thomas Wolfe's Pennsylvania. Athens, OH: Croissant, 1978.

Wolfe, Thomas. The Letters of Thomas Wolfe. Ed. Elizabeth Nowell, New York: Scribner's, 1956.

--. The Notebooks of Thomas Wolfe. Ed. Richard S. Kennedy and Paschal Reeves. 2 vols. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1970.

--. You Can't Go Home Again. New York: Harper, 1940. Zeman, Z. A. B. Nazi Propaganda. London: Oxford University Press, 1964.

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Ms. Tanya Fortsch and Ms. Barbara Guhring of the Namibia Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft whose publishing firm, Kuiseb Verlag, brought out Lisa Kuntze's memoirs, and to her daughter and the copyright holder, Mrs. Michaela Hubschle, for permission to reproduce parts of them; also to my Dalhousie University colleague Prof. Gary Kynoch, Dr. Christoph Rass (Aachen), Dr. Henning Melber (Uppsala), Dr. Werner Hillebrecht (Windhoek), and Dr. Martin Eberhardt (Constance) for special advice about African and military matters; to my friend Siegbert Thiedemann (Berlin) who carried out research for me at the German Federal Archives; and to the Deutsche Dienststelle in Berlin, which provided details on the Wehrmacht career of Eberhard Kuntze.
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Title Annotation:Memoirs from Namibia
Author:Stokes, Lawrence D.
Publication:Thomas Wolfe Review
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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