Ernst Toller

(1 December 1893 – 22 May 1939 / Samotschin / Poland)

Ernst Toller
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Ernst Toller was a left-wing German playwright, best known for his Expressionist plays and serving as President of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic, for six days.

Biography

Ernst Toller was born in Samotschin, Poland, on 1st December 1893. His father was a successful Jewish wholesale merchant. He was schooled in Bromberg where depsite describing it as a "school of miseducation and militarization", he was able to begin his literary career with the publication of a number of articles in the local newspaper and then poetry.

In 1914 Toller moved to France in order to study law at the University of Grenoble. However, within six months the onset ... more »

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Best Poem of Ernst Toller

Corpses In The Woods

A dung heap of rotting corpses:
Glazed eyes, bloodshot,
Brains split, guts spewed out
The air poisoned by the stink of corpses
A single awful cry of madness.

Oh, women in France,
Women of Germany
Regard your menfolk!
They fumble with torn hands
For the swollen bodies of their enemies,
Gestures, stiff in death, become the touch of brotherhood,
Yes, they embrace each other,
Oh, horrible embrace!

I see and see and am struck dumb
Am I a beast, a murderous dog?
Men violated
Murdered.

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