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The Reuter Society

Manfred Pagel

A scheduled talk by Iain Pears, former correspondent now art historian and novelist, was cancelled at the last minute due to his indisposition. Manfred Pagel stepped into the breach to tell the poignant story of Alfred Kerr (1867-1948), renowned German-Jewish author, journalist, theatre critic, editor, poet and commentator who fled Berlin in 1933 after a tip that the Nazis were about to confiscate his passport. By the end of the 1920s Kerr had transcended fame and become an institution in Germany, yet at a stroke he lost his homeland and readership there, including his high-profile editorial position at the Berliner Tageblatt daily and the comfortable lifestyle that went with it. After fleeing Germany he struggled to make an income and achieve recognition in Britain. Correspondence with George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann’s son Klaus was to no avail. He ended his life with an overdose of sleeping pills in post-war Hamburg. ■