New beginning for Pfeffermühle in "Hotel Hirschen" in Zurich (1933)

Brochure: Pfeffermühle in Zurich
Brochure of Hotel Hirschen in Zurich from the 1930s, venue of the Pfeffermühle after its relaunch in exile
Monacensia. Literaturarchiv und Bibliothek München. Pfeffermühle 82

New beginning for Pfeffermühle in "Hotel Hirschen" in Zurich (1933)

Zum Mittagessen Erika und die Giehse. Der Erfolg der „Pfeffermühle“ ist vollkommen, die Zürcher Presse einhellig im Lob, das Publikum drängt sich jeden Abend. Das ist mir eine herzliche Freude. 

[Erika and la Giehse for lunch. The "Pfeffermühle" is a great success, the Zurich press is unanimous in its praise, there is a packed audience every night. It is so gratifying. (ed. trans.)]

Thomas Mann, diary entry, 4 October 1933

The relaunch of the Pfeffermühle in Zurich was not without difficulty. Although Erika Mann, Therese Giehse, Magnus Henning and Sybille Castle - the core of the ensemble - went into Swiss exile, approval for the opening of the cabaret was subject to a number of conditions by the Swiss immigration authorities. One of these conditions was that at least two Swiss nationals had to be employed in the ensemble. Secondly, a performance permit would only be granted if there was a strong literary emphasis. This was because Swiss asylum laws granted no asylum to the persecuted "if they continue their machinations and attacks on the existence and legal security of other states", (quoted from:) Helga Keiser-Hayne, Beteiligt euch, es geht um eure Erde, 1990) a difficult balancing act.

The cabaret opened on 30 September 1933 in the theatre hall of the Zurich "Hirschen Hotel". The audience and the bourgeois press responded enthusiastically. In the subsequent tour of Switzerland the Pfeffermühle played to sold-out halls.

In the course of the three exile shows, the Pfeffermühle became gradually politically more radical. Although they remained true to the principle of speaking in code and not naming names, the cabaret was also under observation by the German Reich. As early as February 1934 Thomas Mann, as evidenced by a diary entry, was cross-examined by the German Consul-General when renewing his passport on account of his daughter's "imprudence". And the "émigré cabaret" also met increasing resistance from Swiss nationalists.