2.4 Language and Culture

Letter from George Grosz to Ulrich Becher
George Grosz ("Böff"): Letter to Ulrich Becher, New York, [?.] May 1935. // In this letter, George Grosz sets out some of the things that struck him in his new cultural environment. For example, he makes fun of some of the phrases he constantly heard around him: "know what’I mean... don't ye? ...well anyway".

German Exile Archive 1933–1945 of the German National Library, TNL Ulrich Becher, EB 85/147, © The Estate of George Grosz, Princeton/New Jersey

2.4 Language and Culture

Having a common language is a crucial aspect of everyday life and a precondition for social and cultural participation. For some, language is also a medium of artistic expression.

Exile often made it necessary to learn a new language and sometimes a different script. While children were quicker to adapt to the new linguistic and cultural environment, this represented a great challenge for adults.

German-speaking cultural associations, clubs and political groups were set up in many countries of exile. German exile publishing houses and the works of exiled writers formed part of the resistance against the Nazi regime. However, few of these works were translated and read by the population of the host country.