Friderike Zweig is one of the most accomplished 20th century women to have written memoirs of their men. Born Friderike Maria Burger in Vienna on December 4, 1882, she was a teacher, translator, journalist, novelist and political activist at a time when most Viennese women didn’t finish high school. Friderike was married to Felix von Winternitz and mother of two daughters when she began to share a household with Stefan Zweig during the first world war.
The Winternitzes divorced and in 1920, Friderike married Stefan Zweig, then the most widely-translated writer in the world. They established a home in Salzburg that admirers called “the Villa in Europe” where Friderike served as Zweig’s researcher and editor as well as marital partner. Their strong and unconventional relationship survived the chaotic aftermath of the first world war in Austria; the Nazi occupation of Europe; their divorce in 1938; Stefan’s remarriage to Lotte Altmann, whom Friderike had hired as her husband’s secretary; and their separate paths to the Americas.
Their correspondence continued until the day before Zweig’s death by suicide in 1942. Friderike lived almost three decades longer in New York and Connecticut where she devoted herself to literary projects and social activism.
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