How would you feel if the familiar world you live in, the very household things which you possess and which, in turn, possess you, were suddenly, at a moment’s notice, snatched away from you, and you had to begin quite a new life, in new surroundings? How would you feel if what had seemed settled and secure turned out to be shifting and dangerous like quicksand, and you had to build an entirely new existence on very different foundations?
Ask Mrs. Marianne Mosse, twenty-one-year-old vivacious and sparkling clever young woman who comes to us from the Germany of Hitler, and she will tell you. Mrs. Mosse is the wife of Dr. Erich Mosse, a nephew of the German publisher, Rudolph Mosse. Dr. Mosse was not only a successful physician in Berlin but had also won literary laurels under the pen name of Peter Flamm. His novels found a wide and discriminating audience, and he and his graceful, charming young wife, whose piquant beauty and wit won her many admirers, were leaders in the cultural life of the German metropolis.
And then, suddenly, within a few hours, six weeks before Mrs. Mosse’s first baby was expected, they had to leave Berlin, their home, their possessions, their friends, and find sanctuary first in Zurich and Paris and finally here in America.
“It was a terrible experience,” says Mrs. Mosse, “and yet, strange to say, it was also exhilarating. We had lost our country which we loved, our homeâ€”but, as a recompense, we encountered everywhere such kindness and helpfulness that we never felt lost or foreign. My baby was born in Paris where I stayed for one year, and then we came to America to begin here in earnest a new life and a new career.”
And when one asks this charming refugee how she likes our country she becomes almost lyrical.
“Like it,” she exclaims, “why, that is too weak a word. I love it here. I think America is the most hospitable land in the world. Everyone has received us with open arms, with open hearts. The women especiallyâ€”American women are a wonderful type! Tremendously efficient and capable and yet delightfully feminine. Unspoiled and natural and yet full of allure. There is nothing quite like them in the Old World.”
Polities, however, Mrs. Mosse refuses to discuss. “I am not a political woman,” she says. “My interests are all artistic. Formerly I worked with my husband in his creative writing, now I plan to carve out for myself a career as an interpretative artist in the great American moving picture world. Already in Germany I had offers to appear on the silver screen, but I hesitated. Now I feel that the film is the medium through which I can express my personality and the rich emotional experiences these exciting times have brought me…. No, no politics, just a little hint of my own personal, perhaps Utopian, dream. I wish that women all over the world would unite to work consistently for peace, for tolerance, for true progress, for humanity. I should like to advocate an International Union of Mercy to which every woman should belong. Then we would have no more the terrors of a destructive war and the equally great terrors of a peaceless peaceâ€””
A wistful note has come into her voice, but soon she smiles again, for her youth and her vitality triumph over all sadness and regret. And leaving her one feels that, despite all she has lost, her life has not become impoverished. Like the bee who sucks honey from poisonous blossoms, she has distilled out of her dark experiences a rich and satisfying philosophy of life.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.