Carl Zuckmayer

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Carl Zuckmayer in 1920

Carl Zuckmayer (27 December 1896 – 18 January 1977) was a German playwright and memoirist, a recipient of numerous literary honors and awards.


  • ...Hades had opened its gates and vomited forth the basest, most despicable, most horrible demons. In the course of my life I had seen something of untrammeled human insights of horror of panic. I had taken part in a dozen battles in the First World War, had experienced barrages, gassings, going over the top. I had witnessed the turmoil of the postwar era, the crushing uprisings, street battles, meeting hall brawls. I was present among the bystanders during the Hitler Putsch in 1923 in Munich. I saw the early period of Nazi rule in Berlin. But none of this was comparable to those days in Vienna. What was unleashed upon Vienna had nothing to do with [the] seizure of power in Germany. ...What was unleashed upon Vienna was a torrent of envy, jealousy, bitterness, blind, malignant craving for revenge. All better instincts were silenced... only the torpid masses had been unchained. ...It was the witch's Sabbath of the mob. All that makes for human dignity was buried.
    • As quoted & translated by Eric R. Kandel, In Search of Memory (2006) referencing Als Wärs ein Stück von Mir (1966) see also, A Part of Myself: Portrait of an Epoch Tr. Richard and Clara Winston (1984)
  • Imagine that. All the men of Germany marching in step with even their wotsits hanging the same way.
    • Wabschke, The Captain of Köpenick Tr. Ron Hutchinson (2013)
  • Oh that music - how it goes through one -
    • Sissi, The Captain of Köpenick Tr. Ron Hutchinson (2013)
  • I couldn't incriminate myself if I tried. And when it comes to the workings of the government I'd just as soon look away, anyway. You never know what you'll see.
    • Voigt, The Captain of Köpenick Tr. Ron Hutchinson (2013)

Quotes about Zuckmayer

  • Sudhof's general characterization stresses three points: 1. Although Zuckmayer never pursued narrow topical ideas, his goal was to protect man, to formulate the claim of humaneness. ...he tried to transfer the traditions of German classicism into modernity. 2. The landscape of Rhenish Hesse was an important element stressing ties to his home region in almost all of his works. 3. His work is not prophetic in character; it does not intend to proclaim any particular political or philosophical teaching but rather attempts to mirror his time... He is an optimistic author who believes in man's inherent good.
    • Hans Wagener, Carl Zuckmayer Criticism: Tracing Endangered Fame (1995) referencing Siegfried Sudhof's article "Carl Zuckmayer" (1973)
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