Paul Elbogen

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Paul Elbogen (born November 11, 1894 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary; died June 10, 1987 in Revelstoke, British Columbia)[1] was an Austrian writer and editor, and worked for a time as a consultant for the American Columbia film company. Like his brother Franz, he came from a Jewish upper-class Viennese family and was part of the jeunesse dorée of the Austrian capital before the First World War.


For a time Elbogen attended the well-known Catholic Schottengymnasium. During the First World War he worked as a volunteer helper in a military hospital. Afterwards, he began a busy publishing career, distinguishing himself as a critic and art connoisseur. In this capacity he appears in an anecdote in Friedrich Torberg’s book Die Tante Jolesch. During his eventful life, Elbogen came into contact with many famous film stars, including Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Marilyn Monroe, with numerous writers such as Peter Altenberg, Heimito von Doderer, Karl Kraus, Thomas Mann and Robert Musil, and with artists such as Alban Berg and Arnold Schönberg.

After the Anschluss of Austria, Elbogen and his wife fled first to Italy, then to France. There they were temporarily interned after the beginning of the Second World War and finally reached the USA on a Danger visa, where they lived first in Hollywood, then from 1962 until their death in San Francisco. On one of their many trips, they were killed in a car accident at an advanced age.[1] A substantial portion of the Elbogen estate is housed at the University of California at Davis.


Elbogen had his greatest successes as an editor of letters by famous Germans, most notably with the collection Liebste Mutter (Dearest Mother), published in 1929. Other collections included Lieber Vater (1932) and Humor seit Homer (published anonymously by Rowohlt in 1964).

Under the pseudonym Paulus Schotte, Elbogen published several novels, including Kopfüber ins andere Ich (1934), and the portrait collection Leben als Abenteuer (1938). Other collections of portrait essays are entitled Verlassene Frauen (1932), Kometen des Geldes (1933), about famous captains of industry, and Genius im Werden, about the youth of great men. As a novelist Elbogen was ambitious but unsuccessful. Most notable are the artists’ novel Dram (1949) and the novel Der dunkle Stern (1960) about a slave deported to America who becomes a great actor.

Elbogen’s autobiography Vom Hundertsten ins Tausendste was published in 2002 under the title Der Flug auf dem Fleckerlteppich.


  • Günter Rinke: From Old Austria to California. The Writer and Editor Paul Elbogen. In: Exil 1/2002, pp. 62-71.
  • Wilhelm Sternfeld, Eva Tiedemann: Deutsche Exilliteratur 1933-1945. Eine Bio-Bibliographie. Schneider, Heidelberg/Darmstadt 1962.
  • Werner Röder; Herbert A. Strauss (eds.): International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-1945. vol. 2,1. Munich : Saur, 1983 ISBN 3-598-10089-2, p. 256
  • Elbogen, Paul. In: Lexikon deutsch-jüdischer Autoren. Volume 6: Dore-Fein. Edited by the Archiv Bibliographia Judaica. Saur, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-598-22686-1, pp. 273-282.

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Individual references

  1. a b Canadian Accident Kills Elderly Couple From San Francisco. In: San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 1987.