1871-1933: Germany before Nazism

1871 – Wedding of Max and Sophie. They will have five children: Ludwig (1872-1930), Meta (1874-1919), Hugo (1876-1960), Alfred Bruno (1878-1957), Kurt (1880-1944).

1888 – Max, a tailor, runs a clothing factory in Stettin. With a workshop colleague, Henriette Zander, he immigrates to New York, abandoning his wife and children.
Sophie and her children move to Berlin, Blumenstrasse, where reside her brothers.

1890 – Max returns from the United States and settles in Hamburg. Sophie and the children join him but after six months separate definitely and return to Berlin. They will occupy six different homes in Berlin before settling in 1891 in a small apartment near the factory of Sophie’s brother, Rudolph.

1891 – Thanks to a scholarship, Alfred Döblin enters as a sixth grade student at the Köllnischer Gymnasium (High School).
Sophie and her children move to Markusstrasse 20, located in front  of the factory of her brother Rudolph Freudenheim, factory where also is employed Ludwig, the brother of Alfred.

1896 – First manuscript: Modern, Ein Bild aus der Gegenwart

1900 – Alfred Döblin passes the baccalaureate at age 22.
Begins in October his medicine studies in Berlin, with the financial assistance of his brother Ludwig and of Rudolph Freudenheim.
Begins the writing of his first novel, Jagenden Rosse.

1903 – Begins writing his second novel, Der Schwarze Vorhang (The Black Curtain), which will be published in 1912 in the magazine “Der Sturm” and in 1919 by the Fischerverlag

1904 – Alfred Döblin specializes in neurology and works on his Ph.D. at the “Freiburger Psychiatrische Klinik in Freiburg (Breisgau). He resides Marianstrasse 9.

1905 – April, publication of his medicine thesis, Bei der Gedächtnisstörungen Korsakoffschen Psychose. On August 9, is awarded his doctorate in medicine.
First performance of his play in one act, Lydia und Mäxchen.

1906 – Alfred Döblin, doctor, is an intern at the Psychiatric Hospital of Regensburg.
Publication of Lydia und Mäxchen by Singer (Strasbourg).
From November 1906 till 1908-is an intern at the Buch psychiatric hospital, in the suburbs of Berlin (now Hufeland Krankenhaus).

1907 – In October, Alfred Döblin creates a theatrical troupe at the Buch hospital and meets Frieda Kunke a nursing aide aged 16 years. Thus begins a liaison which will last until 1911.

1908 – Death of Rudolph Freudenheim in March. Sophie inherits from her brother and divorces with Max. Alfred Döblin is appointed in June assistant physician at the hospital Städtisches Krankenhaus am Urban, Berlin, where he will remain until 1912.

1910 – The publication of the “new expressionist” novels of Döblin marks the beginning of collaboration in the magazine Der Sturm, which will last until 1915.

1911 – February 13, engagement with Erna Reiss,   on the day of her birthday. Erna was born in Berlin, February 13, 1888. She is the grand-daughter of David Reiss, a banker, and the daughter of Jacob Julius Reiss (1839-1907) a shoemaker and of Henriette Calm. (Erna, beautiful, well educated and ambitious had begun her medical studies and was doing an internship at the hospital where Alfred Urban Döblin met her in 1909).

1911 – Doctor neurologist with the Health Insurance Fund.
Installation in October of his first medical practice in general medicine and neurology at   Blücherstrasse 18, Berlin. Born in Berlin on October 14 Bodo Kunke, son of Alfred and Frieda Kunke. He will be raised by his maternal grandmother. Alfred Döblin will recognize Bodo on April 11, 1912.

1912 – January 23, marriage in Berlin of Alfred Döblin with Erna Reiss.
In July starts work on the manuscript of Wang-Lun
Birth of Peter Döblin in Berlin on October 27. He will be declared, as later Wolfgang and Klaus, of Protestant denomination.
Die Ermordung einer Butterblume (The murder of a buttercup), is published in November by “Rutten & Loening”.

1913 – Moves in Berlin, from 18 Blücherstrasse to 194 Frankfurter Allee.

1914 – Publication in November of Wadzeks Kampf mit der Dampfturbine .
Alfred Döblin joins the military forces in December as a medical officer. (He will be demobilized in October 1918).

1915 – Publication by the Fischerverlag of Wang-Mon
Alfred Döblin and Erna move on January, 7   to Sarreguemines – 7 Market Street.
March 17 birth in Berlin of Wolfgang Döblin.
Move in June into a furnished 3 room apartment-, in Sarreguemines – Neukirchstrasse19.
In July, Alfred begins working on the manuscript of Wallenstein.

1916 – In October awarded the Fontane prize for his novel Wang-Lun.

1917 – May 20 birth in Sarreguemines of Klaus Döblin.
From August 1917 till November 1918 – Transfer to Haguenau (Alsace). Resides at 30 rue de la Redoute.

1918 – Death in January, as a result of tuberculosis, of Frieda Kunke.
Alfred and Erna return to Berlin in November and live temporarily with Alfred’s brother Ludwig.

1919 – Installation in January in an apartment and medical office at 340 Frankfurter Allee.
Death on March 15 of the sister of Alfred Döblin, Meta, mortally wounded, during the Spartacus revolution, by a grenade by while doing her shopping.

1919-1927 – Sympathy for the USPD until 1921 and then for the SPD. Alfred Döblin however does not officially join these parties.

June 1919 until 1924 – Contributes, under the pseudonym Linke Poot, with political and social articles and columns in Der Neue Rundschau. The collection of these columns will be published in 1921 by the Fischerverlag in the book Der Deutsche Maskenball.

1920 – Death on April 21 of Alfred Doblin’s mother, Sophie, at the home of her son Ludwig in Berlin. She is buried with her daughter Meta in the Jewish cemetery in Berlin-Weissensee.
Finishes in June writing the play Lusitania.
Wallenstein is published in October by the Fischerverlag.

1921 – February 26 the actor Alexander Granach presents Yolla Niclas, aged 21, to Alfred Döblin, , at a dancing event in Berlin. Thus begins an affair (and a “friendship” that will also include Erna and the children) which will last until 1925.

1925 – Death on April 25, in Hamburg, as a result of a cancer of Max Döblin, father of Alfred.

From 1921 to 1924 – Alfred Döblin is the Berlin correspondent of the newspaper “Prager Tageblatt” for which he writes mainly articles about theater plays in Berlin.

1922 – Begins work on the manuscript of Berge Meere und Giganten.
Receives the Kleist Prize in October.

1923 – Publication in March of Die beiden Freundinnen und ihr Giftmord.
Awards the Kleist Prize to Robert Musil.

1924 – In January joins the «Association of Friends of New Russia.”
Berge Meere und Giganten is published by the Fischerverlag.
From September to late November trip to Poland funded by the Fischerverlag.

1925 – In May suffers from typhoid.
Foundation of “Group 1925”, an association of writers, a radical leftist group joined by Alfred Döblin.

1926 – Publication by the Fischerverlag of Reise in Polen.
Birth in Berlin on December 7 of Stephan Döblin.

1927 – Publication in May by the Fischerverlag of Manas.
Publication in November by the Fischerverlag of Das Ich über der Natur.

1928 – On January 10, elected member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, literature section.
Initiates the writing of Berlin Alexanderplatz.

1929 February 26, radio interview between Alfred and Wolfgang Döblin then 14 years old.
The candidacy of Alfred Döblin is presented for the Nobel Prize. It will however be awarded to Thomas Mann.
Publication in October by the Fischerverlag of Berlin Alexanderplatz.

1930 – Ludwig, eldest brother of Alfred Döblin, commits suicide in April in the bathroom of the Friedrichs Bahnhof railroad station in Berlin. This tragedy will be covered in the book Pardon wird nicht gegeben.
On November 29 first representation of Alfred Döblin’s plays Die Ehe in Munich.

1931 -The family moves to Kaiserdamm 28 in Berlin-Charlottenburg.
Publication by the Fischerverlag of Wissen und Verändern.
Release in October of the movie Berlin Alexanderplatz starring Heinrich George.

1932 – Begins writing Babylonische Wandrung .

1933 – Greta Reiss, Erna’s sister, deaf and dumb, converted to Catholicism is received in a Catholic institution. She will be discovered by the Nazis in the cellar of this institution and disappears without a trace.