Station: [15] Lion Feuchtwanger: Die Geschwister Oppermann / Oppenheim


The same, yet not the same.

Both these books by the German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger describe the fate of a Jewish family during the months before and after the Nazis came to power. The story recreates the oppressive mood and the increasing threats to which the members of a bourgeois family are subjected.


The novel was written over the course of 1933. Feuchtwanger failed to return to Germany from a lecture tour and settled in France instead. From then on, he published his books through Querido, a publisher-in-exile, based in Amsterdam.

The novel’s title was originally meant to be “Die Geschwister Oppermann” —a “The Oppermann Family”. But a professor and SA Brigadeführer, a brigade leader of the same name got wind of this and forced a name change to “The Oppenheim Family” under threats of violence. So the book exists with two different titles.


In May 1933, while Feuchtwanger was still working on his novel, the Nazis included his works in their book-burnings. This was just after the pogrom of March 25 in Creglingen had caused the first deaths.

If you’d like to know how Lion Feuchtwanger described those events in his novel, please select audio number 15.1.