SONNENSCHEIN, HUGO MSS.
General note: Please note that underlined words have received some sort of (typo)graphic emphasis in the original text.
[1 ]. Sonka Schritte des Todes [: ] Traumworte. 35 leaves (= [ii ], [1 ], 2–33); wove paper (leaf [i ]: white construction paper; leaf [ii ]: brown construction paper; leaf [1 ] onion–skin paper; leaves 14–17: wide, darkly cream–colored sheets of paper, originally verso of a German commercial/administrative document form); thick, off–white endpapers. Red paper wrappers pasted on white construction paper, over which have been placed protective transparent plastic covers: decorative "S" pasted onto front cover.
Front endpaper, Verso: A white bookplate affixed to a black sheet of framing paper is pasted to the page. The bookplate contains a 10–line text in Czech, which may be translated as follows: "Like many others, I went through ¦ , with the number 560, ¦ the Kounicov railway lines, the prison in Vratislav, and the labor camp in Cvikava. ¦ I have returned ; I am again on the earth. I am on the earth; I am alive. ¦ And I remember ¦ I saw around me many sufferings (on the part) of my comrades, ¦ I witnessed the deaths of many Czech people. ¦ We prayed together at difficult times. ¦ Remember, friends, together with me, all those ¦ who did not come back to us." Bookplate signed "Fanta" (?) [the initial letter is difficult to read ]. At line 2 (after the number "560", small symbolic illustrations (heart from which plant grows being trod upon by a black shoeprint within which stands a swastika).
Leaf [i ]: German title, written in black ink, "Sonka Schritte ¦ des Todes ¦ [two–line bar ]
¦ Traumworte. ¦ [two–line bar ] ¦ Meine Wortvisionen aus Kerker ¦ und Konzentrationslager." [= "Sonka [. ] ¦ Steps ¦ of Death ¦ (two–line bar) ¦ Dream words ¦ (two–line bar) ¦ My word–visions from prison and concentration camp" ]. Underneath, a five–line dedicatory inscription, in Czech: "Kristiane fanto, příteli, oba se vracíme ze záhrobí! ¦ Žijeme? Je to možné? Budeme žit! Podávám Vám ¦ obě ruce a tento rukopis a ¦ libám Vás — ¦ 21. května 1945, v den (sic) návratu Sonka." [= "Kristian Fanta, friend, we are both returning from beyond the grave! ¦ Are we alive? Is it possible? We shall live! I give you both my hands and this manuscript and ¦ I embrace (lit., "kiss") you —¦ 21st May, 1945, on the day of (my) return [. ] (signed) Sonka." ].
Leaf [ii ]: Affixed to the sheet is a photograph portrait of Sonka/Sonnenschein in hat, the bottom sixth of which has a white space signed, in black ink, with the name "Sonka".
Leaf [1 ]: Contents page, typed in carbon copy: "Inhalt ¦ Vorwort ¦ Vorspruch ¦ Traumgedichte ¦ Die Zelle ¦ x x x ¦ Auschwitzer Testament ¦ Nox et visiones ¦ Frauen–Erscheinung ¦ x ¦ Liebeslied ¦ Trauergesang ¦ Einsamkeit ¦ Hungerspruch ¦ Warten ¦ Die Mauer ¦ Gesetz ¦ Der Schritt der Schritte ¦ Nachspruch"
Leaves 2–3: Handwritten Introduction in German, dated "March 1945, Moscow." The author describes the genesis of the poems, which he describes as "'nicht gedichtet, nicht erdacht und nicht geschreiben'" but "geträumt", within the framework of his experiences at Auschwitz from 1943–1945, of which he says "Was ich dort erlebte, was grauenvoll, was Ich sah, war unwahrscheinlich bös." He recounts the death of "the only person, whom I loved as much as life", his wife, who died, as prisoner #49.124, in the gas chamber at the B–camp in Birkenau on 10 December, 1943: this, he says, led him to seek "escape in dream(s), in which "voice was given through me" ["es aus mir sprach" ] 'with songs, hymns and prayers.' Sonka further describes the circumstances of his first encounter with the Russian liberators of Auschwitz on 27 January, 1945: according to him, the three soldiers he encountered then seemed to him to be as if "archangels" in their white winter coats. He emphatically credits the Red Army with the liberation of the "few survivors of the German death camp of Auschwitz. The final three paragraphs address the composition of the following poems and I translate them in extenso:
"I live and am amazed. I am free and am astonished. Moscow invited me and has received me hospitably. An adventuresome, a dangerous way led me through Auschwitz to Moscow.
There I wrote down the little that I have retained in memory from (my) time beyond life from that world of dreams.
With an intimate embrace I send it to my sons, Ilya and Tomas."
Leaf 4: Handwritten text of "Vorspruch" (in German)
Leaves 5–6: Handwritten text of "Traumgedichte" (in German)
Leaves 7–9: Handwritten text of "Der Zelle" (in German).
In line 3 of 1st stanza on l. 7, the phrase "von Not genährt" has been corrected to "von Not verzehrt" in a marginal annotation written with purplish–colored read in Sonka's handwriting.
Leaves 10–11: Handwritten text of "x x x" [written in the form of a shallow inverted triangle ] (in German).
Leaves 12–13: Handwritten text of "Auschwitzer Testament" (in German).
Leaves 14–17: Handwritten text of "Nox and Visiones" (in German).
(a). Author's surname "Sonka" under title.
(b). Preceding the text of the poem on p. 14 is a five–line annotation with corrections by author: "Entworfen in Januar 1940 im ¦ Gestapo–Gefängnis Pankraz in Prag. ¦ traumvollendet im Dezember [changed from "Januar" ] 1944 [changed from 1945 ] ¦ in Vernichtungslager [changed from "Konzentrationslager" ] Auschwitz [added above line ]–Oświȩcin, ¦ Vladislav Vancuras gedenkend." [= "Sketched in January 24 in ¦ the Gestapo detention center Pankrác in Prague. ¦ completed in dream in December (changed from "January") 1944 (changed from "1945") ¦ in the extermination camp (changed from "concentration camp") Auschwitz–Oświȩcin, ¦ remembering/thinking of Vladislav Vancura." ].
(c). The leaf numeration has been altered from "1", "2", "3", "4" to "14", "15", "16", "17".
(d). In l. 2 of the bottommost stanza of leaf 16, wording altered, from "Treten in den freie Tag" to "Treten in den hellen Tag" (correction in author's handwriting in pencil, above line; original word struck out).
Leaf 18: Handwritten text of "Die Frau" (in German)
The title differs from that in table of contents on Leaf [1 ].
Leaf 19: Handwritten text of "+" (in German)
Poem dated 10 December 1943 (i.e., the day of Sonnenschein/Sonka's wife's death). The "+" perhaps represents a cross.
Leaf 20: Handwritten text of "Liebeslied" (in German)
Leaf 21: Handwritten text of "Trauergesang" (in German)
Leaf 22: Handwritten text of "Einsamkeit" (in German)
Leaves 23–24: Handwritten text of "Hungerspruch" (in German)
Leaves 25–26: Handwritten text of "Warten" (in German)
Leaves 27–28: Handwritten text of "Die Mauer" (in German)
Leaf 29: Handwritten text of "Kadenz zu einem Zitat [: ] Gesetz" (in German)
The first part of the title does not occur in the table of contents on Leaf [1 ].
Leaves 30–32: Handwritten text of "Gesang vom Schritt der Schritte"
Title varies slightly from that in table of contents on Leaf [1 ].
Leaf 33: Handwritten text of "Nachspruch" (in German).
[2 ]. Hugo Sonnenschein, Moje Slovácko [Czech translation of Slowakische Heimat ]. 43 unnumbered leaves (= [i ], [33 ], [9 ]); wove paper (leaf [i ]: thick off–white paper; leaves [1–33 ]: thin off–white typing paper; leaves [B1–B9 ]: thick off–white paper); thick, off–white endpapers. Grey cardboard–paper jacket folded over blue cardboard covers, over which have been placed protective transparent plastic covers: decorative red "S" pasted at an angle onto the lower right corner of the front cover.
Leaf [i ]: Title page, written in black ink, primarily in ornate block script, "Moje Slovácko ¦ (Slowakische Heimat) ¦ [enclosed in rectangular box: ] Hugo Sonnenschein ¦ Přeložil Emil Dvořák" [= "My (Moravo–)Slovakia ¦ (Slovak Homeland) ¦ [enclosed in rectangular box: ] Hugo Sonnenschein ¦ translated by Emil Dvořák." ].
Leaves [1–3 ]: Typewritten introduction to the collection signed by the translator, Emil Dvořák. Dvořák explains the poetic and ethno–patriotic reasons for his decision to translate Sonnenschein's Slowakische Heimat into Czech and highlights the poetic reputation of Sonnenschein. He states that the translation is based on the text of Slowakische Heimat "published in its 3rd edition in 1920 at Fr. Borovy's [press ] in the edition 'červen'", which has served as the authority where the texts of the poems differ from the versions published in "Slowakische Lieder" [leaf [2 ], 3rd paragraph from top ], but that it does not include the "Worte des Lyrikers", whose Czech version is already available both in a periodical publication (the journal čas in 1912) and in a previously published translated collection of Sonnenschein's works. Dvořák discusses the genesis of his translation and the principles guiding it; he notes that the current versions of his translations differ from those published in (the journals) Rovnost and Naše Slovácko. He thanks Fr. Patzelt for interpretative help and dedicates the translation to his "friend and love", Anička Kubová. Text undated.
Leaf [4 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Původ. – Dítě. – Muž." ["Origin. – (the) Child. – (the) Man" ]. Above 1st line of 1st stanza, typewritten "Malkova" [= "Malke's" ] altered to "(Malk)čina" [= "ditto", but indicating female possessor ] in pencil. 1st three lines of 1st stanza; 1st line of 2nd stanza; and 2nd line of 3rd stanza include diacritical and punctuation marks added in black ink. In the final line of the poem, the word "lide" [= "people" ] is underlined in black ink.
Leaf [5 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Trpěliví" [= "(The) patient ones" ]. A "V"–shaped mark in purple ink occurs to the left of the first two lines of the 3rd stanza.
Leaf [6 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Píseň" [= "Song" ]. In the 2nd line of the 4th stanza, typewritten "a" [= "and" ] has been replaced by a hyphen in black ink.
Leaf [7 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Milovaná Ovečka" [= "The beloved lamb" ]. In 1st line of 2nd stanza, the "ž" of "tož" has been struck out with black ink. In 2nd line of 2nd stanza "polezují" has been altered to "poletují" (= "are flying about") with black ink. In 4th line of 3rd stanza, "jaj" has been altered to "jej" with black ink.
Leaf [8 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Slovácká ballada" [= "(Moravo–)Slovak ballad" ]. A "V"–shaped mark in purple ink occurs to the left (separated by a space) from the first two lines of the second stanza. In the 3rd line of the 6th stanza, the words "napříč přes ně" [= "Perpendicularly across them" ] have been altered, in purple ink, to " .d vnich [sic ] hned" [= "... in them, immediately," ]. At the 1st line of the 7th stanza, a new version of the line is noted to its right in purple ink: "Jano se nezarazil" [= "Jano was not taken aback" ]. At the third line of the 7th stanza, a new version of the line is noted to its right in purple ink (some correction apparent in the first word): "vrahem svého srdce byl" [= "He was (or: "had become") the murderer of his own heart" ]. At the end of the fourth line of the 7th stanza, an exclamation point has been added in purple ink before the final hyphen at the end of the sentence.
Leaf [9 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Beznadějná láska" [= "Hopeless love" ].
Leaf [10 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Jaro" [= "Spring" ]. In the 1st line of the 4th stanza, "nejrůznější" has been altered to "nejrůznějšich" with "ch" in thin black ink.
Leaf [11 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Uliančin čardáš" [= "Ulianka's csardás (i.e., tavern–dance) ]. In the 1st line of the 1st stanza, the word "dcera" [= "daughter" ] has been added in black ink above the line. In the 2nd line of the 4th stanza, the verb phrase "byl by" has been altered to "by byl" in black ink.
Leaf [12 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Svobodo" [= "(O) freedom!" ]. In 6th line of 2nd stanza, a diacritic has been added in black ink.
Leaf [13 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Muzika" [= "Music" ]. In 1st, 2nd, and 3rd lines of 4th stanza, corrections visible in black ink: in 2nd and 3rd lines, the original typescript of the corrected text has been scratched out.
Leaf [14 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Chudý zpěv" [= "Poor/impoverished song" ].
Leaf [15 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Štěrkař" [= "The stone–breaker" ]. In 3rd line of 4th stanza "kompou" corrected to "kopou" [= "they dig" ] in black ink; in 4th line of 4th stanza, "p" in "pěst" corrected with black ink.
Leaf [16 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Víno" [= "Wine" ]. In 1st line of 2nd stanza, "příteli, až" [= "friend, all the way" ] has been cancelled in (faded) black ink and replaced with "kamaráde" [= "comrade" ].
Leaf [17 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Cikánský stan na Váhu" [= "(The) Gipsy tent on the Váh (river)" ]. In 2nd line of 2nd stanza, "styrý" corrected to "starý" with black ink. At end of 3rd line of 2nd stanza, a period has been corrected to a colon in black ink.
At end of 3rd line of 7th stanza, double line in blue pencil inscribed to the right of the line.
Leaf [18 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Mařenka" [= female personal name ]. In 2nd line of 3rd stanza, "zhooucení" corrected to "zhroucení" [= "collapse" ] in typescript. In 2nd line of 3rd stanza, "–ro–" in "proŽívá" [= "to live through; to experience" ] corrected with black ink.
Leaf [19 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Maryšin šátek" [= "Maryna's shawl" ].
Leaf [20 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Božena" [= female personal name ].
Leaf [21 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Slovácká pohádka" [= "(A) (Moravo–) Slovak Tale" ]. In 4th line of 1st stanza; 1st, 2nd, 5th lines of 2nd stanza and 2nd line of 3rd stanza, diacritics added with black ink.
Leaf [22 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Topoly u Skoronic" [= "The Aspen Trees at Skoronic" ].
Leaf [23 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "červencový večer" [= "(A) July Evening" ]. In 2nd line of 11th stanza and 1st line of 3rd stanza, diacritics added with black ink.
Leaf [24 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Bohuslavice" [= toponym" ]. On verso, the title of the poem is typed out in lower right–hand quadrant, oriented upside down in relation to the text on recto.
Leaf [25 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Utopistův Domov" [= "(The) utopian(s') home" ]. In 1st, 5th, 6th, & 11th lines of 3rd stanza, punctuation and diacritics added/corrected in black ink.
Leaf [26 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Babička Malke" [= "Grandmother Malke" ]. All letters of the name "Malke" in the title are in upper case. Text of poem disposed in two columns. In 1st line of 1st stanza, "skravá" corrected to "skrývá" [= "covers" ] in typescript. At end of 7th line of 2nd stanza, a question mark is added in black ink. In 1st line of 5th stanza, "Miže" corrected to "Může" [= "She can" ]. In 1st line of 6th stanza, "Yi" corrected to "můj" [= "my" ] in typescript. At end of 7th line of 6th stanza, dash added in black ink; in 8th line of 6th stanza "zdbn" corrected to "zdoben" [= "decorated" (participle) ] in typescript. In 2nd line of 8th stanza, "odstrokval" corrected to "odstrkoval" [= "pushed away" (past tense) ] and at end of 3rd line of 8th stanza, "sna" corrected "snad" [= "most probably; after all" ] in black ink. In 4th line of 9th stanza, "důvěřicě" corrected to "důvěřivě" [= "in a trusting manner" ]. In 1st line of 10th stanza, "odplazou" corrected to "Odplatou" [= "(a) recompense" ]; in 2nd line of 10th stanza, "–á–" in "práce" partially corrected in black ink. In 2nd line of 11th stanza, dash corrected with black ink.
Leaf [27 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Ballada o stvoření" [= "A Ballad about the Creation" ]. In 3rd line of 3rd stanza, "opil" corrected to "opice" [= "monkeys" ]. In 2nd and 7th lines of 3rd stanza; 2nd line of 4th stanza, diacritics and/or punctuation marks added in black ink.
Leaves [28 ]– [29 ]: Typewritten text of prose poem entitled "Obchůzka" [= "(The) tour" ]. In 4th line of 1st paragraph on leaf 28, "blaženstvím" corrected to "blaženství" [= "beatitude" ]. In the 2nd line of 3rd paragraph, "–y–" in "přikryjí" [= "they shall cover" ] is corrected in black ink. In 4th line of 6th paragraph on leaf 28, sentence–initial "a" corrected to "A" in typescript. In 1st line of 8th paragraph on leaf 28, "Btttr Vilémi, Vilémi člověk" corrected to "Bratře Viléme, Viléme! člověče" [= "(O) brother William, William! (You) person" ]. In 3rd line of 8th paragraph on leaf 28, "žid" corrected to "žide" ["Jew" (vocative case) ] in black ink.
In 2nd line of 1st paragraph on leaf 29, the word "cikáni" [= "gypsies" ] cancelled in typescript. In 3rd line of 2nd paragraph on leaf 29, diacritic added in black ink. In 3rd line of 2nd paragraph on leaf 29, "ojna" corrected to "okna" [= "windows" ]. In 1st line of 7th paragraph on leaf 29, hyphen added in black ink. In 4th line of 7th paragraph on leaf 29, "zelená" corrected to "zelenýma" ("with green"). In 1st line of 11th paragraph, "je" corrected to "ke" ("to") in typescript.
Note: According to the final line of the text, the prose poem is dated to 25 May, 1910.
Leaf [30 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Proklatec" [= "The Accursed One" ]. In 8th line of 2nd stanza and 2nd line of 3rd stanza, punctuation and diacritic added in black ink.
Leaf [31 ]: Typewritten text of poem entitled "Kyjov" (toponym; name of town in southern Moravia). In 3rd line of 1st stanza, "klessl's" corrected to "klesal's" [= "sank down" ] in typescript; in 1st line of 2nd stanza, "p–" in "plné" ("full") modified with black ink; In 1st, 3rd, and 7th line of 2nd stanza, diacritics and some punctuation added in black ink.
Leaf [32 ]: Typescript text of title and first four lines of the poem "štěrkař" (cf. leaf [15 ] above), which are crossed out with pencil. Underneath, written with pencil in a large cursive hand, "Worte des ¦ Lyrikers" [= "(The) lyric poet's words" ].
Leaf [33 ]: Typescript text of poem entitled "S Vladimírem Leninem" [= "With Vladimir Lenin" ], corrected to "S Vladimírem Iljičem" [= "With Vladimir Ilyitch" ] in blue pencil. In 3rd line of 1st stanza, "sen" corrected to "Sen" [= "dream" (n.) ] in typescript; in 6th line of 1st stanza, "lide" [= "people" (vocative case) ] is underlined with black ink. In 2nd line of 2nd stanza, apostrophe added to "zem'" [= "earth" ]. In 6th line of 2nd stanza, comma after "básník" is cancelled with purple ink. In 9th line of 2nd stanza "již" corrected first to "na" [= "on/for" ] and then to "dnes" [= "today" ]. Between these 2nd and 3rd stanzas (the latter of which consists of a single, centered line), there is written a "V" with a horizontal bar running through it, in purple ink. Below the typescript are three handwritten lines bearing corrections in the same hand and ink: "Tvým heslem, [cancelled: heslo ] proletáři, hoj! (or: "boj"?) ¦ — S Vladimír [sic ]– Iljičem v před a v boj! ¦ (entire line cancelled: Tvým budeš, proletariátě, heslo)" = "With your motto, [cancelled: "motto" in different case ], o proletariatě, hoy! (or: "fight!") ¦ — With Vladimír Ilyitch, to the front and into battle! ¦ (cancelled: "Through your [ ], you shall be, o proletarian, a motto.) ]. These cancelled lines are not found in the original German text of the poem mentioned on leaf [2 ] above and appear to be an addition on the part of the translator.
Leaf [B1 ]: Recto and verso each has a clipping from a newspaper pasted upon it.
Recto: The column–long text, entitled "Pisně neklidného ducha" [= "Songs of a Restless Spirit" ] and surmounted by a photo–portrait of Sonka/Sonnenschein, contains a review of his "Der Bruder Sonka wandert nach Kalkutta" [= "Brother Sonka wanders to Calcutta" ], published by "Veřejný světový svaz, Praha–Vršovice"; the review is signed by "Oh." Provenance is identified by a handwritten note in black ink running along its left side as "Literární Noviny č 5/IX—20.XI.1936" [= "The Literary News, No. 5/9; 20 November, 1936 ].
Verso: The column–long text, entitled "Padesát let samosprávy českého Kyjova" [= "Fifty years of self–regulation of Czech Kyjov" ], gives a brief history of that town and chronicles its political tribulations during the 1st World War. A note in black ink under the clipping identifies the provenance as "Slovo Národa" [= "Word of the Nation" ], dated 2 March, 1946.
Leaves [B2 ]– [B9 ]: Blank.
[3 ]. [Sonka ], Můj stručný životopis (politický) [= "My (Political) Biography in Brief" ]. 11 leaves (= [iii ], 8); wove paper (leaf [i ]: thick off–white paper; leaves [ii–iii ]: thick mottled orange paper; 8 leaves thin off–white typing paper; thick, semi–translucent, onion–skin protective sheets with spider–web design precede leaves [ii–iii ]; following the last of the numbered sheets are stubs for attaching at least two more sheets of paper; no visible indication that these were used); thick, off–white endpapers. Red cardboard–paper jacket folded over dull cardboard covers, over which have been placed protective transparent plastic covers: decorative off–white "S" pasted at an angle onto the lower right corner of the front cover. The book is written in Sonka's hand throughout.
Leaf [i ]: Title page, written in black ink: "Můj stručný životopis (politický) ¦ I. ¦ napsaný k výzvě centrály KSč (v Moskvě): ¦ 11. dubna 1945 (po návratu s presidentem Benešem). ¦ Sonka." [= "My (Political) Biography in Brief ¦ I. ¦ written at the behest of the central (committee) of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (in Moscow) ¦ 11 April 1945 (after my return with president Beneš) ¦ Sonka" ].
Leaf [ii ]: Pasted to this page is a photograph portrait of Sonka/Sonnenschein with his autograph. Caption underneath, written in black ink: "fotografováno v Moskvě: 22. března 1945, několik týdnů ¦ po odchodu z Ośveçina. [sic ] ¦ Sonka. ¦ Židenice, 27. května 1945" [= "photograph taken in Moscow (on the) 22nd of March 1945, a few weeks ¦ after (my) departure from Auschwitz. ¦ Sonka. ¦ (In) Židenice, 27th May, 1945." ].
Leaf [iii ]: Pasted to this page diagonally, from upper left to lower right are (1) in the lower two–thirds of the page, a colored map of eastern Bohemia/western Morava and (2) in the upper one–third of the page, a black–and–white postcard on which are printed images from five photographs: a central oval field, showing people dressed in traditional regional costumes, surrounded by four rectangular fields depicting different buildings within an urban setting. The names of certain places on the map have been underlined either with an orange–leaded pencil (upper left) or with purple– and grey–leaded pencil (center and right–hand side). Some toponyms have been added in purple–colored ink near the lower, center/right–hand side of the page.
Leaf 1: Beginning of Sonka's autobiographical account, which is dated "Košice, 2nd of April, 1945; it is addressed to "Milí soudruzi" ["Dear comrades" ] and is written in pencil in a semi–cursive hand. The text, which is in Czech, includes insertions, deletions, and underlinings in the author's hand. The text includes an introductory paragraph in which Sonka states that he will give "some data about [his ] political activity, the probable subject of the comrades' interest, followed by two paragraphs in which he gives his place of birth and early places of habitation, his early involvement (as a journalist) with the socialist/communist movement in Vienna. The account goes through 1910.
Leaf 2: Continuation of Sonka's autobiographical account, written in pencil, with insertions and deletions. The two paragraphs of this page recount Sonka's travels (Paris, Florence, Lvov, Amsterdam), his military service during World War I (Russian and Italian front), his role in the foundation of the KSR (Austrian [? ] Communist Party) and the Red Guard in 1918, and various activities for the promotion of the communist cause in the Czechoslovak republic (including conversion of the literary magazine "červen" [= "June" ] into a communist weekly and the foundation of the "Knihovnička června" [= "The little June library" ], a book series in which Lenin's " [The ] Revolutionary State" appeared for the first time. Throughout, Sonka stresses his connections with others active in communist affairs. The account goes through the late 1910's.
Leaf 3: Continuation of Sonka's autobiographical account, written in pencil, with insertions and deletions. The first paragraph describes the impact of Sonka's literary–organizationl activities on political life in the Czechoslovak republic in the late 1910's. The second describes his (illegal – Sonka's emphasis) travels to Munich and Budapest, as well as his attendance at the IInd. Communist International held at Moscow in 1920: he describes how he and Zápotocký informed Lenin about conditions in the Czechoslovak Republic, as well as how he delivered a secret message on the behalf of čičerin to Stalin and wrote an exhortatory article in "Pravda" addressed to the political and military establishment of the Czechoslovak republic. The third paragraph mentions an arrest at Vardö in "northernmost Norway" during the course of his return trip: Sonka attributes this detention to interference from the Czechoslovak Republic. The account goes through 1920.
Leaf 4: Continuation of Sonka's autobiographical account, written in pencil, with insertions and deletions. The first paragraph, a continuation of the previous page's last paragraph, mentions Sonka's imprisonment, upon his return to the Czechoslovak Republic, at Kutná Hora (a town in Bohemia), about which he we wrote "Meine Kuttenberger Haft", and discusses his political writing at that period. The second paragraph recounts his transfer to Vienna in 1921 after the foundation of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSč) and his activity there as secretary of agitprop, secretary of workers' aid, and other functions in the Austrian Communist Party, as well as his role as a middleman between the two parties (i.e., his service as a representative of the Austrian Communist Party at the Czechoslovak Communist Parties 2nd and 4th congresses.)
Leaf 5: Continuation of Sonka's autobiographical account, written in pencil, with some deletions and corrections. The first paragraph, a continuation of the previous page's last paragraph, mentions Sonka's interventions at the congresses of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. The second paragraph describes the factionalism of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, offers reasons for his marginalization within, and eventual expulsion from, the party, and details his "anti–fascist" activities as writer and pro–communist radio commentator, claiming that he was influential in Austria and Germany.
Leaf 6: Continuation of Sonka's autobiographical account, written in pencil, with some deletions and transpositions. The first paragraph describes Sonka's arrest in Vienna in 1934 following his participation in the workers' movement against Dollfuss and his expulsion to Czechoslovakia. The second paragraph recounts subsequent life in Prague as an "anti–fascistic" writer not formally connected with the Communist party: it includes the emphatic asseveration "I never was a 'Trotskyite'" (l. 11 from top), elaborating that although Troskyites tried to forge connections with Sonka, he steadfastly spurned them and adds that early conviction and loyalty to "the best and most genial (i.e., cleverest) leadership" of Lenin and Stalin precluded any possibility of his being Troskyite.
Leaf 7: Continuation of Sonka's autobiographical account, written in pencil, with some deletions and additions. The brief first paragraph concludes the last one of the preceding page. The second paragraph recounts Sonka's renewed application to Zápotocký for readmission to the Czechoslovak Communist Party. The third paragraph describes Sonka's antifascist activities after the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Hitler, including distribution of illegal communist writings and writing on behalf of the pact between Hitler and Stalin. The final paragraph recounts Sonka's persecution by the Nazis.
Leaf 8: Continuation of Sonka's autobiographical account, written in pencil, with some additions, deletions and transpositions. The single paragraph on this leaf continues the last one from the previous page, recounting Sonka's tribulations during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He describes repeated efforts by the Gestapo to entrap him in collaboration; the arrest of him and his wife at the beginning of 1943 and their transport to Auschwitz; his wife's death in the gas chambers in 1943, and his liberation at the hands of the Red army on 27 January, 1945.
Transverse annotation (unclear whether an addition to the text) in pencil near the inner edge of the leaf includes two words: "Bildung…. Propagande".
At the bottom of the page are annotations that appear to give names of individuals, places, and factual details about them: some names are cut off by the paper margin. One name near the center, underlined with black ink, appears to read "Bohdan Pavlů" (?), under which is written "vstan k soz. demokr. strane a v ciz." [= "stood in for the Social Democratic Party and in for(eign lands ?)" ]: the partially cut–off word underneath this may be "Krakow". To the right is an annotation in German: 'grosse Verleger ¦ "der (?) ……." ¦ Weg zur Freiheit' [= "(The) great publisher ¦ "………." ¦ (The) way to Freedom" ]. An arrow leading from a partially effaced personal name points to this annotation.
In the lower right–hand quadrant of the verso is an eight–line text in Czech, written in Sonka's hand with a pencil transversely to the axis of the leaf, that repeats emphatically and expansively his denial of Trotskyite affiliation, albeit in language that suggests some past dealings with Trotskyites. Some of the phrases recur in Item [4 ], p. 1.
[4 ]. [Sonka ], Doplněk životopisu II [= "Addendum to the Autobiography" ]. 10 leaves ( [i ], [9 ]) = [i ], 18 pp.; wove paper (leaf [i ]: thick off–white paper; leaves [1 ]– [9 ] (= pp. 1–4, [2 ], 5–16): thin off–white typing paper; thick, semi–translucent, onion–skin protective sheets with spider–web design precede leaves [1–9 ]; following the last of the numbered sheets are stubs for attaching at least one more sheet of paper; no visible indication that these were used); thick, off–white endpaper in front. Red cardboard–paper jacket folded over dull cardboard covers, over which have been placed protective transparent plastic covers: decorative off–white "S" pasted at an angle onto the lower right corner of the front cover. The book is written in Sonka's hand throughout; text is in Czech, with some German passages (noted below).
Leaf [i ]: Title page, written in black ink: "Doplněk životopisu ¦ II. ¦ Košice, 14.IV.1945 (po návratu s p. dr Be– ¦ nešem z Moskvy do čSR). ¦ Sonka." [= "Addendum to (my) biography ¦ II. ¦ Košice, 14 April 1945 (after [my ] return with Dr. Be¦neš from Moscow to the Czechoslovak Republic) ¦ Sonka." ].
Leaf [1 ]:
Page 1: Text written in pencil, with insertions and deletions. It opens with an introductory paragraph limning the contents of the volume. Sonka writes that, at the invitation of Slansky's court, he is rounding out his curriculum vitae with respect to three points: (1) a more detailed explanation of his relations to Trotsky; (2) a response to a charge of informing leveled against him by an unknown accuser of which he had been apprised by comrade Kopecký; (3) a more concrete description of his "fate and activities in 1939 as a response to the charge of which he has been apprised by comrade Kopecký. The remainder of the page begins his discussion of the first point, opening with the emphatic denial of any Trotskyite leanings, using phraseology taken from Item [3 ], leaf 8, verso, and suggesting that he has been accused of Trostkyism because he and Trotsky were personally known to one another. He then begins to detail his dealings with Trotsky from the 1920s
Page 2: Text written in pencil, with insertions, deletions, and transpositions. Describes Trotsky's attempts to have Sonka publish T.'s autobiography and a journal with the projected title "Weltbühne", rejected by Sonka; attempts by Trotskyites to mount a written protest against the imprisonment of a friend's widow in the USSR, rebuffed by Sonka (who, however, interceded on her behalf privately with the Soviet ambassador)
Leaf [2 ]:
Page 3: Text written in pencil, with insertions and deletions. Sonka recounts his decision to sign a telegram drafted by social democratic judges addressed to Stalin regarding the trials of 1936, which was published without his consent: he believes that this letter earned him the reputation of being Trotskyite; he also mentions his rebuffing of Trotsky's invitation (from Mexico) to attend the "Untersuchungs–Ausschuss" in New York in 1938 and notes Trostskyite attempts to defame him as a "Stalinist agent" in German–occupied Czechoslovakia, whereas other communist agents (at his behest) decried him as a Trotskyite. At bottom, the heading for point 2.
Page 4: Text written in pencil, with insertions, deletions, and transpositions. Sonka begins his defense against the charge of being a spy and informant, which he characterizes as "irresponsible, old–ladies' gossip" and writes that he will offer a bare chronological account of his activities in 1939. He comments on the difficulty of prewar years for him in Prague and announces his intention to write a "detailed" and "captivating" book about his experiences, if he can recover his papers from that period; he notes that he still suffers from nightmares. At end of first paragraph, a pencil mark (like inverted "A") indicates point for insertion of additional text. The bottom paragraph begins the narrative of a house visit to, and interrogation of, Sonnenschein/Sonka by three Gestapo officers on 15 March 1939 in Prague: the dialogue presented is in German, embedded within Czech narrative.
Leaf [3 ]:
Page [4a ]: Text written in pencil, with insertions and deletions. Supplementary material to text on Page 4, describing Sonnenschein/Sonka's answers to questions posed by German interrogators about the state of the communist party in Russia during interrogators subsequent to 1939.
Page [4b ]: Text written in pencil, with deletions, insertions, and transpositions. End of text from page 4a and supplementary material to text on p. 5, commenting on the veracity of information in a letter concerning the execution of prisoners in a concentration camp.
Leaf [4 ]:
Page 5: Text written in pencil, with insertions and deletions. Continuation of narrative of Gestapo interrogation from p. 4, recounting how Sonka gave a letter written to him by Trotsky from Mexico to his interrogators to read: dialogue is in German and narrative in Czech. To the left of the 12th line from top is a "#" sign with another one in the righthand part of the line, apparently marking the point of insertion for the supplementary text in 5a.
Page 6: Text written in pencil, with insertions, deletions and transpositions. Continuation of narrative of Gestapo interrogation (from p. 5) and its aftermath. Description of how Gestapo returned the letter from Trotsky through an informer; how Sonka/Sonnenschein received money from an émigré relative; how he secretly helped out the communist resistance; how he shipped his two sons off to England; how the Gestapo confiscated some books and papers from his house.
Leaf [5 ]:
p. 7: Text written in pencil with additions and deletions. Sonka/Sonnenschein recounts his detainment by Gestapo in the Pankrác district of Prague in late 1940, his daily subjection to interrogation, and the subjects of interrogation. He also quotes an example how the text of one of his socialist–inflected poems ("Erde") was altered to suit Nazi tastes ("Deutsche Erde") and published under the name of a Nazi poet.
p. 8: Text written in pencil with additions and deletions. Sonka/Sonnenschein describes how interrogations at Pankrác came to an end for him and how he was released; how he received back documents (i.e., a letter containing a "Weisung" he had written; and recounts his collaboration with several communist colleagues as well as his frequentation of the meetings of trade and national socialist groups.
Leaf [6 ]:
p. 9: Text written in pencil with additions and deletions. Sonka/Sonnenschein describes the circle of people he met socially through the bookseller Meisle in the period after his release from Pankrác, listing people by name and often adding brief judgements of their character.
p. 10: Text written in pencil with additions and deletions. Sonka/Sonnenschein continues with his description of the Meisle social circle, noting that it was "not a pleasant" group of people, but nevertheless one where it was possible to play cards, receive news, and gossip. He recounts how Meisle (who made his living as a bookseller selling stock from Orbis) was detained as well as a communist member of his circle and the latter's girlfriend; how Sonka/Sonnenschein was informed of these arrests, and how he came to suspect that the relay of information about them was meant to provide a pretext for entrapping him as a communist.
Leaf [7 ]:
p. 11: Text written in pencil with additions and deletions. Sonka/Sonnenschein describes how the communist prisoner's girlfriend served as an agent provocateur for the Gestapo and sought to entrap him.
p. 12: Text written in pencil, with additions and deletions. Sonka/Sonnenschein describes how he was entrapped, returned to prison, interrogated, but finally released when the communist prisoner's girlfriend confessed to the entrapment in the presence of the Gestapo: note that he uses German when quoting his interrogators. He recounts further jailings of the Meisle circle, including the latter's wife.
Leaf [8 ]:
p. 13: Text written in pencil, with additions and deletions. Sonka/Sonnenschein ends his narrative about the Meisle circle: Meisle's wife and a friend were released, while Meisle himself and the young communist were shipped off to Mauthausen, where they both were killed. Sonka/Sonnenschein ends with a plea to ask a certain "Dr. Karl Levit" (name underlined in text), who had also been a habitué of Meisle about the affair. At the end of eighth line from top, a sign like an inverted "A" marks the locus of a new section. The following paragraph discusses a second "provocation" by the Gestapo, this time through the person of Míla Valentová, a colleague of Norbert Walter, editor of the journal "české Slovo" and the novel series "Napěti".
p. 14: Text written in pencil, with additions and deletions. Sonka/Sonnenschein describes how he was imprisoned in conjunction with Walter and Valentová, the latter of whom he suspected of being an agent for the Gestapo: he states that he does not know what happened to Walter and Valentová, but strongly implies that they came to a bad end, quoting Gestapo officers in German. At the head of the 10th line from bottom is the inverted "A" sign, marking the beginning of a new section (?). The insert describes Sonka/Sonnenschein's forced "self–report" at the Gestapo station on the day that Heydrich was assassinated, ending with a minatory statement by the Gestapo commissar (in German) and states that he saw a certain Vančura in custody there. At the bottom of the page are three lines of small text; the letters of the bottommost of these have been partially cut off.
Leaf [9 ]:
p. 15: Text written in pencil, with additions and deletions. One insertion has been placed above the wrong line: the small text ending with "ein anständiger" above l. 12 continues at l. 14, which begins "Kerl! Ich wünsche" … . The first paragraph describes a threat by the Gestapo commissar (given in German) to confront Sonka/Sonnenschein with an accusation by Fučík and Sonka/Sonnenschein's successful attempt to call the commissar's bluff (also delivered in German). Sonka/Sonnenschein briefly lists the leaders of the (communist ?) organization in Prague after the original ones were shipped off to Theresienstadt and states that he worked with them until he and his wife were sent to Auschwitz in 1943, where his wife died in the gas chambers at the end of the year. He recounts one more attempt by the Gestapo in February 1944 to induce him, with both promises and threats, to act as an informer by bringing him to Prague and his return to Auschwitz later that year.
p. 16: Text written in pencil with some additions and deletions. The writing along a crease running sidewise across the middle of the paper has faded and the lead has smudged at various points of the page. In the first paragraph, Sonka/Sonnenschein explains why he didn't wear the yellow star during his WW II years in Prague and describes his background thus: "My origins are very complicated. Already as a young poet, I turned this (fact) into a (poetic) program. In the year 1910, I wrote in my book "Ichgott": "Sonka—Judenjunge, Slovakenkind: Kulturbastard [= "Sonka: a Jewish youth, child of the Slovaks: a cultural bastard" ]". The final paragraph seeks to refute the criticism that nothing had happened to Sonka/Sonnenschein during the war (and, thus, that he must have been guilty of some form of collaboration) by vehemently recalling police surveillance in Prague, torture and the death of his wife in Auschwitz.