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Prominent Jewish industrialist, liberal thinker and politician. He was especially active in the early years of the Weimar Republic, until his assassination in 1922 by right-wing extremists. He was author, among other works, of Von kommenden Dingen (1917).

A strong German nationalist, Rathenau was a leading proponent of a policy of assimilation for German Jews: he argued that Jews should oppose both Zionism and socialism and fully integrate themselves into mainstream German society. This, he said, would lead to the eventual disappearance of anti-Semitism.


  • William Drabkin, with Marko Deisinger

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  • OJ 15/16, [31] Handwritten letter from Weisse to Schenker, dated November 9, 1917

    Weisse now has a piano in his army lodgings, plays in the evenings, expects to send Schenker an analysis of Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 119, No. 2, shortly. The Italian defeat is near. He has sent a pamphlet by Walther Rathenau.

  • OJ 10/1, [45] Handwritten letter from Dahms to Schenker, dated September 26, 1919

    Dahms responds to Schenker's letter (non-extant). He reflects on Prussian militarism. He declares that there is no such things as "military genius"; Germany was as guilty as the Entente Powers for the war; soldiers were treated as slaves by their officers, with Wilhelm II bearing the ultimate guilt. He rejects all political parties. England does not treat its people as Germany does. He believes only in the German spirit, which he regards as the spirit of the world. He cannot wait to leave Germany, and wants only to immerse himself in Schenker's work.

  • OJ 10/1, [69] Typed letter from Dahms to Schenker, dated March 11, 1922

    Dahms's book, which has earned an award, is delayed at the bindery. He blames this on the prevailing undisciplined conditions in Germany, criticizes the current government, and predicts war.

  • OJ 10/1, [78] Handwritten letter from Dahms to Schenker, dated August 23, 1923

    Dahms has received Tonwille 4 but not yet examined it. — Has deferred work on his Haydn book because of financial problems over Musik des Südens and poor take-up of subscriptions. — Debates whether to attend the Leipzig musicology conference. — Comments on German politics as the occupation of the Ruhr unfolds, and compares German attitudes with Italian.