Dec 2000 Journal

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Der erste Zug nach Berlin arrives at last!

Gabriele Tergit (1894-1982) emigrated with her husband, the architect Heinrich Julius Reifenberg, from Berlin via Czechoslovakia (1933) and Tel Aviv (1935) to London (1938). She was a near-founder member of Club 1943 and Secretary of the PEN-Centre German Speaking Writers Abroad (1957-81).

Jens Brqning, a writer and journalist from Berlin, has re-edited Tergit’s writings as well as unearthing some of her hitherto unpublished works and has previously presented her works at Club 1943: his 1996 edition of her experiences in pre-war Palestine Im Schnellzug nach Haifa and of her highly praised and often bitingly witty law court reports from the 1920s Wer schiesst aus Liebe (1999). In October he presented his latest publication, the novella Der erste Zug nach Berlin. Maud, a somewhat naïve, spoilt and inexperienced upper-class young American woman, travels with a group of journalists to Berlin immediately after WW2, and encounters a confusion of political and social attitudes, often reflecting past prejudices and an unwillingness to learn from recent experience. The book overflows with characteristically acute and often sharply witty observations. It may not be a literary masterpiece, but it is a worthy and enjoyable testimony to its author and age.

Gabriele Tergit was a prolific and highly valued contributor to AJR Information. A selection from these essays would certainly deserve the attention of Mr Brueqning’s meticulous and praiseworthy efforts.
Hans Seelig

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