Joseph Roth

Joseph Roth (1894 – 1939), was an Austrian-Jewish journalist and novelist. He was born and grew up in Brody, a small town near Lemberg (now Lviv) in East Galicia, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1914, he  started to study philosophy and German literature at the University of Vienna, but he broke off his studies soon after, in 1916, to serve in the Imperial Habsburg army fighting on the Eastern Front.

In 1918, Roth returned to Vienna and began writing for left wing newspapers. In 1920, he moved from to Berlin, where he spent the next five years. There he worked as journalist for the Neue Berliner Zeitung, for the Berliner Börsen-Courier, and for the liberal Frankfurter Zeitung.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, Roth left Germany and lived a precarious hotel existence in Paris and Amsterdam, in permanent exile. He died in Paris in 1939.

joseph roth

Shortly after Hitler’s rise to power, in February 1933, Roth wrote to his friend, the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig:

“You will have realized by now that we are drifting towards great catastrophes. Apart from the private — our literary and financial existence is destroyed — it all leads to a new war. I won’t bet a penny on our lives. They have succeeded in establishing a reign of barbarity. Do not fool yourself. Hell reigns.”

(Source: Hitlers Machtergreifung – dtv dokumente, edited by Josef & Ruth Becker, Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2nd edition, Munich, Germany, 1992, p.70)


  • The Spider’s Web (Das Spinnennetz) (1923)
  • Hotel Savoy (1924)
  • The Rebellion (Die Rebellion) (1924)
  • “April: The Story of a Love Affair” (April. Die Geschichte einer Liebe) (1925; in The Collected Stories)
  • “The Blind Mirror” (Der blinde Spiegel) (1925; in The Collected Stories)
  • The Wandering Jews (Juden auf Wanderschaft) (1927; reportage, not fiction)
  • The Flight without End (Die Flucht ohne Ende) (1927)
  • Zipper and His Father (Zipper und sein Vater) (1928)
  • Right and Left (Rechts und links) (1929)
  • The Silent Prophet (Der stumme Prophet) (1929)
  • Job (Hiob) (1930)
  • Radetzky March (Radetzkymarsch) (1932)
  • The Antichrist (Der Antichrist) (1934)
  • Tarabas (1934)
  • “The Bust of the Emperor” (Die Büste des Kaisers) (1934; in The Collected Stories)
  • Confession of a Murderer (Beichte eines Mörders) (1936)
  • “Die hundert Tage” (“The Ballad of the Hundred Days”) (1936)
  • Weights and Measures (Das falsche Gewicht) (1937)
  • The Emperor’s Tomb (Die Kapuzinergruft) (1938)
  • The Legend of the Holy Drinker (Die Legende vom heiligen Trinker) (1939)
  • The String of Pearls 1939 (Die Geschichte von der 1002. Nacht)
  • “The Leviathan” (Der Leviathan) (1940; in The Collected Stories)
  • What I Saw: Reports from Berlin, 1920-1933, trans. by Michael Hofmann, New York: W. W. Norton & Company (2002)and London: Granta Books (2003)
  • The Collected Stories of Joseph Roth, trans. by Michael Hofmann, New York: W. W. Norton & Company (2003)
  • The White Cities: Reports from France, 1925–39, trans. by Michael Hofmann,London: Granta Books (2004); issued in the United States as Report from a Parisian Paradise: Essays from France, 1925–1939, New York: W. W. Norton & Company (2004)
  • Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters, trans. and edited by Michael Hofmann, New York: W. W. Norton & Company (2012)

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