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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: August 2018

15 - Something of a Party Offiziosus in Bavaria: Political Editor at the Münchener Post (1910–1911)


AS EISNER HAD SURMISED PRIVATELY, his candidacy for Dessau's Reichstag seat was effectively doomed. Friday, 1 July 1910, Heinrich Peus appeared in Nuremberg to investigate firsthand the rumors of professional dissolution and personal dissipation. Adolph Hoffmann, whom Eisner counted among the ruinous “Berlin clique,” had offered to stand in his place. Confronted by Peus with what Karl Fentz and Max Walther had said of him, Eisner resisted the impulse to withdraw on the spot and remarked coolly that Peus would have done better to speak with people “other than scoundrels.” After interviewing members of Eisner's camp, Peus returned to Dessau incensed at Fentz's willful misrepresentations. Eisner went first to Berlin then to Dessau to shore up his campaign, but the damage could not be undone. On 5 July Peus met with Albert Südekum in Bitterfeld to assess the sustainability of Eisner's candidacy. Once Südekum had voiced his opinion, Peus proposed Julius Kaliski in Eisner's stead. Südekum suggested Wolfgang Heine. Heine visited Südekum on the eighth and consented to stand. One month later the Social Democratic Press Bureau in Berlin announced that a “change of his professional and personal circumstances” impelled Eisner to resign his candidacy in favor of Heine.

Resettled in the Bavarian capital with Else Belli and their infant daughter, Kurt Eisner at age forty-three struck out in new directions. Although he continued to speak at party functions near and far, Eisner channeled rejuvenated energies into his freelance writing, fresh family life, and a position on Adolf Müller's editorial staff at the Münchener Post. The change of scene restored him. He resumed professional contact with Joseph Bloch and Heinrich Braun and immersed himself in South Bavarian activism. Bernhard Grau observes that “astonishingly soon Eisner fell in step again and found his place in the political and social life of the city and the local party organization.” Gone was the despair he had confessed to Kaliski just three months earlier, dispelled the inability to work that had plagued him in the final days at his desk on Breitegasse. In a letter to Social Democratic newspaper editors he outlined an expansion of the Arbeiter-Feuilleton to provide reviews of books and journal articles of topical interest.