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In 1943, Moriz Scheyer was in hiding at a convent in the Dordogne when he began drafting Asylum, the extraordinarily tense, moving and at times almost miraculous account of his persecution in Vienna and flight to wartime France. An arts editor for Vienna's principal newspaper before the German invasion in 1938, Scheyer was friends with some of the city's great artists, from Stefan Zweig to Gustav Mahler, and an important literary journalist in his own right. Here he turns his acerbic wit and critical eye to his own remarkable experiences, tracing events from the Anschluss in Austria to Paris immediately pre-war and under occupation; the exodus from Paris to life in two different concentration camps; an escape attempt, contact with the Resistance, and, finally, a dramatic rescue and clandestine life in a convent. Written when the events were still fresh and raw, this Jewish writer's memoir is riveting in its immediate perspective and the minute details of those days. After Scheyer's death in 1948, his stepson - who disliked the book and its all-encompassing denunciation of the German people - destroyed the manuscript. Or thought he did. Recently, the only remaining copy was discovered in the family's attic by Peter Singer, who has translated and provided an afterword to this unique recollection of the holocaust.
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A miraculous memoir of escape, survival and art in wartime Europe

About the Author

MORIZ SCHEYER (1886-1948) was a significant critic, essayist and travel writer, within the literary and cultural milieu of pre-war Vienna. As arts editor of the city's main newspaper, Neues Wiener Tagblatt, from 1924 until 1938, he knew such figures as Gustav Mahler and Joseph Roth, and was a personal friend of Stefan Zweig and Bruno Walter. In his lifetime he published three books inspired by his travels in the Near East and South America, as well as three volumes of literary-historical essays. Scheyer called his memoir of his wartime experiences 'A Survivor', and seems to have sought its publication. After his death in 1949, however, his stepson destroyed the manuscript. Or thought he did. Recently Scheyer's grandson, P. N. Singer, discovered a carbon copy in his father's attic. Asylum is Singer's translation of the manuscript, to which he has added an epilogue on the people, events and context. Learn more about Singer's family and the manuscript at


An extraordinary rediscovered manuscript, written in hiding by a friend of Stefan Zweig, which evokes the realities of the Holocaust and the French Occupation more vividly than almost anything I've read. -- Jonathan Coe "Try to understand me," Moriz Scheyer begs the future readers of his memoir in 1944. And we do, leaving it drained, but exhilarated by the description of how he roamed an unfriendly Europe, stateless. With the publication of this mesmerizing book, his search for asylum might just be over. -- Ronald C. Rosbottom, Amherst College, Author * When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light under German Occupatikon, 1940-1944 *

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