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May 3:  Born as Salomo Morgenstern in the village Budzanów near Tarnopol, eastern Galicia, Austria (Austrian part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire; today: Budaniw, western Ukraine, district of Ternopil). Sixth and youngest child of a traditional Jewish family. On May 10th Salomon is circumcised in the synagogue of Budzanow.

. Soma  transcription         Chaie, Hencie, Moses, Samuel          Birthregisters: courtesy (C) AGAD - Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw                           

Kin (Family tree)

His father Abraham Morgenstern works as an estate manager and sharecropper in different small villages in the neighbourhood of Tarnopol. The familiy language at home was Yiddish, communication with the (not Jewish) neighbourhood was Ukrainian and also Polish.


Location of Galicia, Tarnopol, Budzanow ...

Pozdrowienie z Budzanowa - Greetings from Budzanow. Old picture postcard


View on Budzanow, Sefer Budzanow, Haifa 1970

ab 1895

The family lives - caused by the occupation of the father - in different villages south of Tarnopol (Loszniów, Burkanów, Dobropolje). SM visits the Cheder and  Ukrainian and Polish primary schools. - Learns at home next to Hebrew also German according to the wish of his father.

Shop in Budaniv (same region south of Tarnopol) where also a Morgenstern has worked. Situation of about 2000. Photo: Courtesy Raphaela Kitzmantel.

ab 1904

Visits the Polish secondary school in Tarnopol (today: Ternopil) contrary to the will of his Chassidic father – with the support of the mother. 


The 1st Gimnazjum (Secondary school)                    the 2nd (of four) Gymnasium /staircase  in Tarnopol                 3.May-Street. Old postcard.                                     The school SM visited. Old postcards




Old synagogue of Tarnopol, which SM probably has visited regularily. Old postcard.

1908 Visits the theater in Lemberg (today: Lviv). Wants to become theater critic. Occupies himself with western philosophy; critical attitude to religion. 

Theater in Lemberg. Old postcard.

SM (Second frome left; sitting) in school uniform

ca. 1909 Delegate in Lemberg at a conference of Zionistic secondary school students of Galicia. Meets at that occasion  the accidently present (not  Zionistic) Joseph Roth.  

His father, who was just above 50 years old, dies as a consequence of an accident. Thereby again stronger attention to the religious Jewry
Acoording to official records: Ss mother Sara, together with SMs sister Hencia Perla, moeves to Tarnopol. There they live together with SM, and later also with SM´s brother Moses at the same adress.

Tarnopol map 1908 - center


Tarnopol 1910 census records


In Tarnopol: Final secondary-school examinations (general qualification for university entrance) – passed  with distinction. 

  Annual report school year 1911/1912   -    Egzamin dojrzałości zlozyli (passed final examination) 1) w oddziale A (in the branchg A)  z odznaczeniem (with distinction) …. Morgenstern Salamon [sic] …   Courtesy Harald Stockhammer


Studies at the University of Vienna: Law – according to the outspoken wish of the deceased father. Attends also philosophic an economic lectures

University Vienna. The school for law was in the left wing. Post card from about 1910

1913 After two semesters in Vienna  inscirbes  at the Royal Franzens University in Lemberg and continues to study there

University Lemberg. Post card


August 1: (uncertain:) undergoes a voluntary military physical examination (in Lemberg ?) – not qualified

Thereafter visits the parental home. After outbreak of WW I, flees with his mother and sister to Vienna escaping the Russians invading Eastern Galicia. Arrives in Vienna midth of September. 

As from falls semester:  continues to study law in Vienna        

December 28: military physical examination in Vienna – qualified

1915 February 15: Had to go to war to his regiment, the “home-regiment” of Tarnopol; gets his military formation in Wildon, Styria

August 16: transfer to the eastern front (against Russia)




Participates  at WW I in the Austrian infantry in Serbia and Hungary. Follows the officer training in  Temeswar (in the Banat; today: Timisoara, Romania). Function as buying agent of horses for the army. 

His brother Samuel dies in Russian captivity. 

Midth1918 Returns to Vienna 
1918/1919 After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire SM belongs to the new Polish state and gets this citizenship (because his birthplace is located now in Poland). His attempts to achieve the Austrian citizenship by option were refused by the Viennese authorities (till 1929). – Continues to study law. Wants to become a writer for theater plays. Calls himself Soma. After the war again in company with Joseph Roth in Vienna. Lives in subletting on different places, first within the Gürtel in the 8th district (Albertgasse), later, more in the periphery, cheaper, in   Penzing (14th district) . Earns income by giving private lessons. 
1920 Translates  the Jewish drama Sezowie (The judges) of the painter-poet Stanisław Wyspiański. (The world premiere was 1907, 1911 it had been picturized. Morgenstern´s translation is lost. In 1937 the work has been again translated into German by Jan Wypler from Kattowitz – who happens to be of the same age as Morgenstern – an published by him privately.)

Close friendship with Renée, a French musician in Vienna, who was friend with musicians in Vienna already before the war. She makes SM familiar with the music of Mahler and the Second Viennese School. 



January: moves to the more elegant peripheral district Hietzing

May 23: graduation as doctor of Laws at the university of Vienna
as from October (till June 1924) accomodation in th Maxingstraße 30, Hietzing (close to where Alban Berg lives) 

 further information about SM´s places of living in Vienna - in German only


SMs places of living in Vienna (selection)

ab 1921 Communicates in Hietzing with a circle of Hungarian emigrants (e.g. Lajos Hatvany and Béla Balázs). Becomes aquainted via this circle with  Georg Lukács and Robert Musil
1921/1922 Writes the play „ER oder ER“ („He or He“)  
1922/1923 Writes the play „Im Dunstkreis“ (or: Im Kunstkreis – „In the circle of vapor” – “In the circle of Art”  
1923 Meets  (the already known by sight) Helene and Alban Berg in the tramway 59, which connects Hietzing with down town Vienna -  beginning of a friendship. 

The tramway 59 - © Archiv Wiener Linien

1924 Meets (at Alban Berg´s home) the Denish composer an conductor Paul von Klenau (who lives partly in Vienna) and especially becomes acquainted with  his daughter Ingeborg von Klenau  (Her mother is Anna Maria von Klenau, née Simon, sister of the editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung, Heinrich Simon. (Cf.  Kin)

First  articles as journalist for German papers  (Newspapers Berliner Tagblatt and, Vossische Zeitung; periodical Die Literatur)

Ingeborg von Klenau


Via Alban Berg acquaintace with the young Teddy Wiesengrund, who refers to himself later as Theodor W. Adorno

Contacts with Hermman Thimig and with the Theater in der Josefstadt

Assistant/freelancer (exact status of the collaboration is unknown) with Max Reinhardt at the Theater an der Josefstadt.

1926 (Not realized) plan to have a debut performance of „Im Dunstkreis“  at the Theater an der Josefstadt.

Works on his third theater play „Imago“ (remains a fragment)

Moves  to Berlin because of better possibilities to work as a journalist  (mainly as a theater critic)

Recommends to Alban Berg to use  Gerhard Hauptmann´s “Und Pippa tanzt“ (And Pippa Dances) or  Wedekind´s „Lulu“ as model for a new opera.  Contributes later also with the preparation of the text of Lulu for the opera. 


SM with Alban Berg und Ingeborg in the soccer Stadium in Vienna

1927 Moves to the newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung and relocates to Frankfurt.  There acquaintance/friendship with Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer and others.  End 1927 becomes employed at the Frankfurter Zeitung.
1928 February: returns to Vienna as cultural correspondent oft he Frankfurter Zeitung 

Wider  intellectual circle of friends, (mainly at home in the CaféMuseum (Karlsplatz, center of Vienna) including next to Joseph Roth and Alban Berg also Eduard Steuermann, Otto Klemperer, Jascha Horenstein, Josef Frank, Kaspar Blond, Bernhard Fuchs, Karl Tschuppik, Ernst Bloch, Alma Mahler-Werfel, Conrad Lester [then still Konrad H. Lichtenstern]

July:  Observes in Vienna the Schubert centenary  respectively the  10. Deutsches Sängerbundfest  (10th festival of the German Singer-Coalition). This event is later reflected both in his memoirs and in his novels.

September, 4:  Civil marriage with  Ingeborg von Klenau   (born in Munich, Danish citizen, from her mother´s side of German-Jewish origin;  has left the Lutheran protestant church before the marriage). Witness to the marriage were the (from Hermann Thimig divorced) Viennese actress Hanna Thimig and SM´s  school day friend Dr. Moses Margulies. 







Family tree of (also) Inge von Klenau


September:  visits the world congress of Agudas Yisroel (organization for observant Jews, who oppose the Zionist movement) in Vienna in the Sofiensaal – also by invitation of his friend Bernhard Fuchs. This visit triggers the plan for the novel The son of the Lost Son respectively the trilogy Sparks in the Abyss.

      Opening session of the world congress of Agudas Yisroel in the Sofiensaal in Vienna - Photo: Courtesy of the Jewish Museum of Vienna.


Obtains (again) the Austrian citizenship 

October: birth of the son Dan .

         Dan with his mother mit seiner Mutter Ingeborg

Special stamp of the World congress of Agudas Ysriel in Vienna


The "Sophiensäle" in Vienna III, Photo from about 1935




Starts to work on the novel The Son of the Lost Son 




Presents a radio show:  Contry profile  “Austria” at the German broadcasting station Südfunk.  

  Summer: six weeks holidays in the Alps of Tyrol

Announcement of the radio show


The Frankfurter Zeitung dismisses SM (as all other Jewish staff) after the takeover of the Nazi Party in Germany 

Financial problems; occasional income for journalistic  works

Flat in the 2nd district

1934 Escapes for some months to Paris after the „Februarkämpfe“ (February Uprising of the Austrian Civil War). There he continues to work on his novel 

Returns from Paris to Vienna and starts to work on the second part of the trilogy  Idyll im Exil (English title: In my father´s pastures)

Groomsman of  Ernst and Karola Bloch in Vienna

Belvederegasse 10, SM´s last flat in Vienna, 1934-1938

1935 Completes the  Sohn des verlorenen Sohnes

The novel  is released beginning of December at the Jewish publisher Erich Reiss in Berlin.  Readership and reviewers react predominantly positive. About 4000 copies sold – which is in the given circumstances (the book may be sold in Germany only by Jews) quite successful. 
At a meeting in the  Café Museum with the sick Alban Berg SM does not force Berg´s consultation with the physician Kaspar Blond (in order not to interfere with family matters).  SM reproaches himself  the rest of his life for this omission, which might have facilitated the death of Alban Berg.

December 24: Alban Berg  dies of sepsis – probably because of too late called in medical treatment.


Cover of the first edition


March: Flees on the very day of the “Anschluss” (annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany) to Paris. His relatively little endangered wife and son Dan stay for the time being in Vienna because of a illness of Dan

Lives in Paris together with Joseph Roth in the Hôtel de la Poste, Rue de Tournon

Completion of the second part of the trilogy, Idyll im Exil (In my father´s pastures). Tries to publish in the Amsterdam exile publishing company Allert de Lange

passport photo 1938


May: tries to finance the departure of his wife and son with an advance payment for Idyll im Exil   (vgl. cf the here shown letter to the publisher in Amsterdam - in German)

August: Ingeborg Morgenstern leaves Vienna together with the son Dan to Copenhagen (1943 to Sweden)

September: receives by intercession of Thomas Mann a monthly grant from the American Guild for German Cultural Freedom
Starts to work on the third part oft he trilogy, the novel  Das Vermächtnis des verlorenen Sohnes (The Testament of the Lost Son)

SM´s attempts to achieve a Danish visa end in vain

entry in the telephone directory - published shortly after SM had escaped from Vienna



Joseph Roth´s Café Tournon in the Rue Tournon (photo G.B.Deutsch 2006)


Letter to the publisher Allert de Lange in Amsterdam, specialized in exile literature in German




Stefan Zweig prompts the English author and translator Joseph Leftwich to translate the  Sohn des verlorenen Sohnes (The son of the Lost Son is published in1946)

April/May: Ingeborg and Dan visit SM in Paris .

May 27: Death of Joseph Roth in Paris 

September 22: Detention as “hostile foreigner” in a camp in Colombes near Paris       

October: Transfer to a camp in Montargis, about 120km south of Paris. Learns there about the death of his brother Moses Morgenstern in the concentration camp Buchenwald.

 December: residence permit for Paris (probably through intervention of Stefan Zweig). Attempts to achieve a visa for the USA. 

SM in the Café in Paris. Drawing of Bill Spira. Courtesy of the Theodor Kramer Gesellschaft, Vienna


Is admitted as member oft he Exile-P.E.N. (Advocates were  Stefan Zweig, Hermann Kesten and Joseph Roth)

May 22: After the German invasion in France:  arrested by French authorities and is detened in the Stade Buffalo near Paris .  -  

June 3: Transfer in a camp in Audierne in Brittany.   -  

June 20: German  troops take over the camp.  -  June 21: Escapes from the camp together with the Viennese physisist Alfred Reis. Further escape to the south.

July:  crosses the boarder  to the not occupied part of France. Obtains a Polish passport. End of July: arrival in Marseille.

Numerous attempts to get an exit visa fail in spite of many interventions. Gets again arrested and is admitted to a collective camp in Marseille. 



 February/March: leaves France and travels via Casablanca to Lissabon. Gets a (new) Visa for  the USA through intervention of Varian Fry

Das heute noch existierende Hotel Majestic, SMs Quartier in Casablanca. Alte Ansichtskarte.

Aus der Passagierliste der SS Guiné

April 1: Leaves Lissabon on the SS Guiné  (together with between others Friedl & H.W. Katz; Hans Sahl); Arrival in New York on  April 15. 

Moves in the hotel Park Plaza near the Central Park. In the same hotel  stay also other refugees SM knows or  who are friends (Leonhard Frank, Hermann Kesten, Walter Mehring, Hertha Pauli)

Fall: moves to Beverly Hills, California, to his friend Conrad Lester, who supports him also financially

SM´s French permit, Marseille, from February 14, 1941

SS Guiné

Plaza Hotel (on the right side) at the Central Park


Works on Vermächtnis des Verlorenen Sohnes, Flucht in Frankreich (The Testament of the Lost Son, Escape in France)

Typewritten manuscript of the first chapter of "Flucht in Frankreich"


Death of the mother in the concentration camp Theresienstadt. Death of the sister Helena in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

>>Death notice of Sara Morgenstern in (c)

>> cf.also further information  in

SM´s telephone directory in Los Angeles

1943 Returns to NY tot he Hotel Park Plaza 
ab 1943 Prosperous circle of friends in NY, mainly around the caricaturist Al Hirschfeld and his wife Dolly Haas and around the theater critic Brooks Atkinson;  friendly contacts also with his schooldays friend Karol Rathaus, with Alma Mahler-Werfel and others.  Active correspondence with old friends in Europe, like Jascha Horenstein, Josef Frank, Klemperer, Kaspar Blond, Anna Mahler
1946 The English translation of the trilogy, The Son of the Lost Son,  is published at the Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia and at Rinehart & Company, Inc, New York in the translation of Joseph Leftwich and Peter Gross

Acquires the American citizenship 

Cover of "Son of the Lost Son"


Ingeborg Morgenstern moves with  Dan to New York

The second part of the trilogy, the novel Idyll im Exil  (Idyll in the  Exile), is published at  the Jewish Publication Society of America  with the title: In My Father´s Pastures in the translation of SM´s friend Ludwig Lewisohn. (The original German version is published only after SM´s death.)




Overwins the paralysis to write, SM had suffered from the last years, and starts to work on Die Blutsäule  (The Third Pillar).

    Manuscript-notebook. Courtesy Leo Baeck Institute, New York

INTERNAL LINK : Further information (in German only) about the manuscript  see "Topics"

From the manuscript  of the novel "Die Blutsäule" (The Third column).Beginning of the 14th chapter. Courtesy Leo Baeck Institute, New York.

1950 Travels to friends in Europe (London, Paris, Bavaria, Vienna, Zurich, Marseille) and in Israel. Visits in Israel his sister Klara Schwarz, the only close relative who had survived the holocaust.

The third part of the trilogy, The Testament of the Lost Son  (Das Vermächtnis des verlorenen Sohns, is published  at the Jewish Publication Society of America  in the translation of  Jacob Sloan and Maurice Samuel. (The German original  is published only in 1963)
1953 Sister Klara Schwarz dies in Israel by an accident
1955 Die Blutsäule is published at Ferrar, Straus and Cudahy, NY  with the title The Third Pillar, in the  translation of  Ludwig Lewisohn 
etwa 1955 Starts to work on his autobiography (till 1976 – remained unfinished)
1957 Second journey to Europe
ab 1959 Receives from western Germany a compensation life annuity

Letter head from 1959 of SM´s abode


Das Testament des verlorenen Sohnes (The Testament of the Lost Son) is published at  Kiepenheuer &Witsch, Köln, Berlin with the title Der verlorene Sohn. (without reference tot he first and – in German not yet published – second part of the trilogy).

Die Blutsäule (The Third Pillar) is adapted to an audio drama by  Heinz von Cramer  in a by SM approved version and broadcasted twice  by the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden, Germany  (October 26 and 29,  20.30-22.00 hrs)

Programme announcement in the German Südwestfunk

1964 The   Hans Deutsch Verlag  ( Vienna-Stuttgart-Zurich) publishs  „The Third Pillar“  for the first time in the German original version: Die Blutsäule – Zeichen und Wunder am Sereth

about 1965

Starts to work on his last novel  Der Tod ist ein Flop (Death is a flop)

1967 Moves to his wife after an heart attack:   61 West 74th Street (also near to the Central Park)

                        Visiting card                      Courtesy Raphaela Kitzmantel

1968 Third and last journey to Europe

       Envelope of Soma Morgenstern       Courtesy Raphaela Kitzmantel

about 1970 Combines the parts of his memoirs referring to Joseph Roth and to Alban Berg to separate bunches




The Rabbinical Assembly of New York selects a pray, a paragraph of The Third Pillar, a for their prayer book for Yom Kippur.




Radio inteview with Rabbi Wolfe Kelman

Internal LINK: >>publication of the inteview courtesy Dan Morgenstern and The Jewish Theolgical Seminary of America


April 17: Death in the Roosvelt Hospital in NY

The Hebrew edition of “The Third Pillar” ( SM had been intensively been involved in the preparations and had impatiently looking forward for this edition) is published with delay only shortly after SM´s death at Eked publishers, Tel Aviv in the translation of  Manfred Winkler: עמוד הדמים   (Amud hadamim - "The Blood Pillar").

Amud hadamim, front and back of the cover



The complete works of SM, edited by Ingolf Schulte, are published at zu Klampen,  Lünebrug, Germany. The biggest part are primary publications.