The far-reaching impact of World War II resulted in massive destruction,
decimation, deprivation, and the unparalleled displacement of people
across and far beyond the European continent. In commemoration of the
70th anniversary of the end of the war, After the War uses photographs,
artifacts, and archival material to document and provide insights into
the end of the war and post-war disorder and revitalization in Europe
and the United States. Selected photographs from the Roman Vishniac
Archive at the International Center of Photography in New York are
brought together with materials from American Jewish Historical Society
and Leo Baeck Institute, whose collections reside at the Center for
Image above courtesy of Leo Baeck Institute.
After the War has been supported by a generous grant from The David Berg Foundation.
The Leo Baeck Institute Archives contains a folder of poetry written by Joseph Roth in the First World War (probably 1917). Today remembered as a writer of fiction, Roth wrote numerous poems as well, especially when he was younger. This is his poem “Herbst” (“Autumn”), which was published. You can see both the handwritten original by Roth and the published version.
During the time Roth wrote this and the other poems in this folder, he was serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army. The photograph shows Joseph Roth during the time of his military service in 1916. He is the man in the second row, far right. He probably had a desk job and never saw active duty. Roth claimed later to have spent months in Russian captivity as a prisoner of war. The Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy, with its 15 official languages, collapsed in the war, but Roth did not lose his adoration of the vanished empire. “… we all lost a world, our world,” he once said.
Submitted by Michael Simonson, Leo Baeck Institute.