Jura Soyfer

Life, Works, Time

  A brief chronology
8.12.1912 Born in Kharkiv/ Kharkov. The city develops since the end of the 19th century rapidly and gets a metropole of the area. Soyfers father, Vladimir, is an industrial, his mother, Ljubov, a woman of the society. Soyfer learns – beside his mother tongue Russian – from his nursemaid also French. His first poems he writes in French and German.
1914–1918 First World War
1917 October Revolution. Terror and anti-terror started. At the end of the First World War troops from more then 20 countries occupied revolutionary Russia. The city Kharkov changes several times the side of the military front. Under the rule of the counter revolutionaries anti-Semite pogroms began.
1920 Flight of the family over Istanbul to Vienna. Austria at this time is divided deeply, because of social conflicts, but also in the question of national orientation. Beside the state power exist paramilitary groups. Some of the Politicians were murdered.
1927 Uprising after the Schattendorf trial. The Justizpalast was burned down. During a brutal police action 90 were murdered. For the responsible police officers this had no consequences.
1923 Entering Bundesrealgymnasium III, Hagenmüllergasse, Vienna
1927/28 Joining Sozialistischen Mittelschülern, three years activist at the „Achtzehnern“


Start at the Politische Kabarett of the Sozialdemokratische Partei


First publications in Schulkampf and Arbeiter-Zeitung


Matura. Inscription of German and History at the University of Vienna. Soyfer joins the “Akademische Legion” of the Socialist Students. Start of publishing in the “Arbeiter-Zeitung” (name: Jura).


Tour through Germany: reports from Germany in the Arbeiter-Zeitung


Print of satires in the journal Kuckuck. Reprint 15 poems in the newspaper Deutsche Freiheit (Saarbrücken 1933/34).


Uprise in February. No guns or instructions at the meeting point. Start with the novell „Thus died a party“. Illegal resistence fort he KP (informations about Austria via John Lehmann to England, whom he also teaches Russian; pamphlets, political schooling).


Plays: The end of the world (performance: ABC), The Lechner Edi (performance: Literatur am Naschmarkt)


Plays in ABC: Astoria, Vineta, Broadway Melody 1492 (last one: application of a play of Hasenclever/Tucholsky). Arrest because of his political resistence. A suitcase of of manuscripts gets into the hands of the police (manuscripes like Pinguine).


Once more free on 17th February because of an “Amnestie für Politische“. 12th March Occupation of Austria by the Hitler-Army. 13th March once more arrest, as he tries to get over the border to Switzerland by Austrians. 23rd June concentration camp Dachau. Soyfer writes the Dachau-Lied. September: concentration camp Buchenwald. Resistence also within the concentration camp (also with scetches).


The parents of Jura Soyfer arriv on 9th Februar in New York. Jura Soyfer dies on 16th February in the concentration camp Buchenwald. Because of the efforts of many friends of Jura Soyfer and especially Otto Tausig and Herbert Steiner during the exil in England the first edition of his texts were published in Vienna in 1947. A lot of texts could not be found until now. Amongst them: Kasperl sucht ein Stück, Auf dem Goldblocksberg, Dreigroschenoper angewandt, Aber die Mumien schweigen, parts of the novel Thus died a party, the scetches from concentration camp Buchenwald.


© JSG 2008