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Who are some famous writers who had to leave Europe because of Nazis, Communists or...

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jakubrous | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 4, 2013 at 9:50 PM via web

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Who are some famous writers who had to leave Europe because of Nazis, Communists or similar regimes?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:01 AM (Answer #1)

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There is a rather impressive list of artists and thinkers who had to escape from centralized forms of persecution.  One member of this fraternity was Freud.  Sigmund Freud was a world famous psychologist.  He was considered by many to have founded psychoanalysis, the basis of the modern therapy used today.  In the 1930s, as the Nazis were gaining power, intellectuals like Freud were sought out if they were not going to publicly support the Nazis party rise.  Freud was one such figure who could not embrace the Nazis. Not only because he was Jewish, but because he was able to reduce their drive for power to the most basic of biological terms, Freud was persecuted by the Nazi power apparatus.  Regarding the Nazi seizure and burning of his books, Freud said:  ""What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now, they are content with burning my books." Freud ended up leaving Nazi Germany, his home, for Western Europe, in particular England.

Another thinker who had to flee from oppression was Milan Kundera.  The Czech born writer developed writing techniques and themes that were critical of centralized authority.  Many of his works are centered on the fight against Communism. In a broader sense, Kundera's works are focused on the pathetic and tragic condition of modern man.  His intellectual nuances were not appreciated by the Communists that occupied Eastern Europe. He has been in exile since 1975, although in the Early 1980s, Kundera became a French citizen and since then has renounced his Czech identity.  He ""sees himself as a French writer and insists his work should be studied as French literature and classified as such in book stores."  Kundera and Freud are two examples of thinkers that had to leave their homes due to repressive and intolerant political regimes.

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