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Papers of Adam von Trott


Box II


II i T112 - T159 Adam von Trott to Diana Hubback

[1 Jan. 1934] - [June 1934] 48 letters, ALS except T125, T140, T155, and T157 (the latter four were written in pencil by AvT and were consequently rather faint: it appears that Diana Hopkinson has gone over some parts of them in pen).

In early January 1934 AvT was in Rothenburg and Imshausen, although fairly early in the year he moved to Hanau (near Frankfurt), with visits to Imshausen continuing. At the end of January he spent some time in Göttingen (T116) and whilst there met Wolf von Wachsmann, whom Diana Hubback had known in 1931. Diana Hubback writes that he was in a state of uncertainty about his future at this time, concerning his career (for example T116), and his relationship to the Nazis: the dilemma lay in whether he should make concessions to the Nazis in public life, or retreat to a life of academic study (IV iii, p.34). T129 expresses the dilemma of choosing between claims to "practical political existence (for which I think I was made)", or "an existence of...aloofness which is spiritually of great importance to me..." (see also for example T132).

Diana Hopkinson's memoir (IV iii, pp.35-7) explains that AvT thought that "much criticism of events in Germany was ill informed or biased at this time" (see also T127), and quotes a letter that he wrote to the Manchester Guardian ("M.G.") replying to a "simply ferocious" article which had given horrifying accounts of the treatment of Jews by the Nazis. T120 (February 1934) and others refer to this letter. In T120, he expresses his fears for the relationship between England and Germany. In T127 he writes: "my letter to the Manchester Guardian [which had been taken by some in England as a defence of Nazi activities] should have caused no more of an uproar at Oxford than the fact that I am staying with my work here which I certainly would not do if what I wrote were untrue". T135 refers to the necessity of toleration of his effort to "differentiate between propaganda and actualities".

His perception of "actualities" in Germany at this time is expressed in T130, where he refers to time he spent in Büdingen, and describes how, whilst he was there, there was a public meeting, and he saw "that this place as every other was haunted and that there are as yet no 'islands' here". The memoir explains that "islands" means political ones, and that "he felt very isolated politically and socially at this time" (IV iii, p.42). In T143 he mentions that he was sent the recent sermons of some "brave catholic cardinal in Munich who found it possible to say a few straightforward things" - his friend Ingrid Warburg was responsible for sending these to him (IV iii p. 43). 

In March AvT paid a visit to Berlin concerning his future (T130, T131) - in order, says Diana Hopkinson's memoir (IV iii, p.40), to see if he could be transferred from his training to some sort of legal position as a civil servant, hoping, she says, to have more freedom than in his work at the courts. However "he realised his lack of political reliability would not recommend him". T148 refers to the rejection by the civil service of the application he had made earlier in the year. T142 expresses his discontent with his legal work in Hanau (also T156), and T153 (3 June [1934]) expresses his dislike of Hanau and his wish to go to Berlin (also see IV iii, p.47).

AvT spent Easter 1933 at Imshausen. Plans were made for the two to meet at Whitsun: they went to Alsace in May. On their return to Germany, Diana Hopkinson's memoir recalls, there was a Nazi party rally in Mainz, "a menacing reminder of what we had escaped for a few days" (p.46).

AvT refers to various family events in late May, including the illness of his aunt and the death of a cousin. Further uncertainty about his future is apparent in T155, which comments: "you can afford to plan ahead a lifetime while I can reckon for months only".

II i T160 - T198 Adam von Trott to Diana Hubback

(including [July 1934] - 25 Dec. 1934 40 letters T160A)

These letters from the second half of 1934 continue the themes and concerns of the earlier part of the year. In several letters AvT declares how busy he is with his legal work. In T160 AvT writes that: "new pressure has been brought to bear on my affiliation", but that he may "try to get matters straight by joining a labour camp...". Although he still hopes to go to Berlin "they may not transfer me there if still refractory". Instead he states that he will leave Hanau in August. He moved to Kassel that summer, his "escape into Berlin" having been frustrated (T163). From there he wrote in August that "I shall have no friends here at isolation is observed and opposed as usual" (T168).

Political issues and relations between Germany and England continued to concern him (T164), to the extent that previous concerns, for example his final examination result in Oxford, seemed less important: "Life has grown more stern, bigger and harder since..." (T166; see also IV iii p.52). However links with some friends from Oxford were retained: that summer Shiela Grant Duff visited him in Germany, and in September Diana Hubback met him in Dusseldorf. Several letters of the summer months mention a possible visit to Oxford in October - however the actual visit is not referred to. In December AvT began work in Berlin. At this time AvT was working on a book about the early nineteenth century intellectual and critic of the French under Napoleon, Heinrich von Kleist: several letters refer to this work (see also IV iii, p.53). However later, in 1935, he complains that his publisher is reluctant to publish the work (T218, in III i). Diana Hopkinson explains in The Incense Tree that publication of the work would have been daring because a comparison might be inferred between the corruption of Prussia under Napoleon and what was happening in Germany under the Nazis (p.130).       

Many of the letters of this period are about Diana Hubback's and AvT's friendship since their separation after AvT's return to Germany.

II ii H90 - H129 Diana Hubback to Adam von Trott

1 Jan. 1934 - 31 Mar. 1934 40 letters

II ii H130 - H169 Diana Hubback to Adam von Trott

[April 1934] - 30 June 1934 40 letters

The letters in II ii correspond to the period covered by T112 to T159 in II i.

Diana Hubback continued to work in London although in several letters she expresses apprehension about whether she will be offered paid work (as opposed to the trainee work in advertising she had been doing) in the spring - which, eventually, she is (see H116 and H117, for example). However later letters, for example H134 (14 April 1934) complain that she has insufficient work to do and express concern about the insecurity of her employment (also H165).

Her frequent letters discuss friendships, for example the complexities in her relationships with Shiela Grant Duff and Goronwy Rees; her sister's ill health, and the death of a cousin; her social life, including visits to Oxford and descriptions of art exhibitions she has visited; her work, and the various products about which she is copywriting. In H108 Diana Hubback gives her opinion on AvT's Manchester Guardian letter, which she had typed and sent to the paper for him. H115 refers to its reception in Oxford, a "dinner table topic". She argues (unsuccessfully) to be allowed to visit him at Easter (H119). Instead, she spent some time at the family house (Trethias Cottage) in Cornwall, from where several letters of late March were written. She did, however, visit him at Whitsun (mid-May 1933). Several letters in May and June refer to the fact that some of her contemporaries from her time at Oxford were taking their final exams at that time - as she would have done had she been able to remain at Oxford. In June she was presented at Court (H159).    

II iii H170 - H203 Diana Hubback to Adam von Trott

2 July 1934 - 30 Sept. 1934 34 letters

II iii H204 - H229 Diana Hubback to Adam von Trott

8 [Oct.] 1934 - 31 Dec. 1934 25 letters

(Note: there is no letter H205. This has been re-numbered H338A, and placed in III vi. See Note on dating and arrangement of letters , above.)

The letters in II iii cover the same period as T160 - T198 in II i. Her worries about the security of her job continue, and in H173 she refers to even greater insecurity: "How can I, or any of my generation, anywhere, plan more than a year or two?", although she acknowledges that "your future is of course more precarious than mine". However H182 does indeed announce that she has lost her job, and has embarked on looking for another one, wondering whether to change professions (H185). H202 (25 [September] 1934) announces the beginning of a new job, again as a copywriter, although she also expresses frustration with this one (for instance, H204). By October she is considering a change of career - to bookselling, for example. Some letters express regret at having left Oxford. She writes also of other activities, including her work with slum children, and a visit to her brother in Cambridge in November, when she stayed in Rupert Brooke's house (H219). 

In July she sends news of Schools results of various friends at Oxford (H182, H183). August saw AvT's twenty-fifth birthday. Diana Hubback visited Ireland in August with a friend from Oxford, Jane Rendell, before spending time there with her family. In September after much anticipation she went to visit AvT in Germany (meeting him in Dusseldorf). At Christmas she spent some time in Cornwall. 


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