Some history of the Seminar, added by publisher (J.G.):
  • This film was created during a summer session in 1950 by producer/director Jerome Hill and includes in it's cast Seminar co-founder, Richard Campbell, Jr., and former Seminar President, Dexter Perkins.
  • On the 60th birthday of the Salzburg Seminar, July 15, 2007, Mary Caterine Bateson talked to guests at Schloss Leopoldskron about her memories of Session 1 in 1947. Dr. Bateson attended that first session along with her mother, Margaret Mead, who served on the session's faculty.
  • Herbert Gleason's lecture about the interesting history of the Seminar. He is secretary of the Salzburg Board of Directors, and a member of its Executive Committee. He has been involved with the Seminar since 1949, attending Session 3.

"So here we all are," said Boswell Hyde, standing with his hands in his pockets, rocking back on his heels, coasting with practiced ease into the second half of his welcoming speech. "I've told you about the origins of the Academy and something of the difficulties of transforming an interesting idea into action, of making a dream, as it were, come true." He paused for a moment, removing his heavy black-rimmed spectacles and squinting down at them with tiny eyes. "But of course the dream hasn't come true yet. It won't come true if this experiment doesn't work.- He put the glasses on again, transforming himself back into the pudgy intelligent owl. "So now I'd just like to close with a few words about what we're going to try to accomplish here, what the dream is all about."

It was ten o'clock on Sunday morning. All Saturday people had been arriving at the Schloss: a bearded poet from Athens, two girls from the University of Bologna, students of philosophy from Grenoble and Leiden and Marburg, a newspaper reporter and an English instructor from Prague, a professor of comparative literature from the Sorbonne, a labor leader from Turin and another one from Oslo, a blond schoolteacher from Copenhagen, a film critic for Le Figaro, law students from Vienna and Munich, a City Councillor from Bruges, a girl who had translated Steinbeck into Finnish, a member of the Netherlands diplomatic service -nearly a hundred people, most of them young, most of them thin and intense and shabbily dressed. all of them a little perplexed about this bizarre American project, yet excited by its novelty. They carried their suitcases and blanket rolls into the Spartan dormitories now arranged in the upper stories of the Schloss, wandered aimlessly through the halls and corridors, and some of the more outgoing ones even introduced themselves to perfect strangers -though in most cases only to their own countrymen.

On Sunday morning a cowbell summoned them into the lofty echoing dining hall, where six waitresses under the supervision of Frau Aschauer served a breakfast of canned grapefruit juice, powdered eggs, Austrian rolls and American coffee.

"It sounds nice, don't you think?" asked Paola, sitting on the sun-warmed stone railing of the terrace, her ankles crossed, her back to the lake, listening to the babble of conversation and the clatter of cutlery coming through the tall open windows above. "The Schloss has been dead so many years." She had put on her Tracht for the occasion, a white blouse and a dark green dirndl, with an apron, so she looked like one of the waitresses she had hired. I finished my coffee, put the heavy white mug down on the railing, and stroked the curved knobby neck of the stone sea horse that guarded the steps to the water.

"It's even nicer to see you so busy and cheerful," I said. "You've got the place running like a deluxe hotel."

"Hardly that, but they should be comfortable, I hope, and the food -well it may seem poor to you, but that is the best breakfast most of these people have had for months. Years. And you're right, it is good for me to have a job, it makes all the difference -Oh listen, they are becoming quiet, Professor Hyde is going to welcome them now, let's go up." She leaned forward and I lifted her off the railing, keeping my hands around her ribs as she stood in front of me.

"You go on up," I said. "I'll go back to the house and see you later."

"What? You don't want to hear Professor Hyde? You told me he was your teacher at Harvard--"

"Sure, I want to hear him, but I haven't any business up there, I'm a soldier in uniform, it would look funny-'

"What nonsense! You have as much right as anybody to be here. You have worked with Peter all these weeks, you have driven him around, you drove all the way to Switzerland. . . . You are just crazy to feel this way. Come along now, we are already missing part of it." She took my arm and marched me across the terrace.

"The original idea, the main idea, of course, is to make available to you a good and accurate picture of the United States today. Not just the old European vision, the cowboys and the Indians and the streets paved with gold, not just the fat rich superpower which you read about in your newspapers every day and which many of you have, I know, experienced in less than happy circumstances- but America as it seems to us, that is to those of us who call ourselves professional students of our country, the American social and political and cultural landscape as it is today and how, to some extent, it got that way. We offer this to you because we believe that there is a need for such a window upon our country. During the war, and in some countries for many years before the war, there was no regular or open channel of communication with the United States. In the late thirties the volume of exchange studies declined sharply, and since 1940 the Continent was of course completely cut off from the rest of the world. And now your universities, or many of them, have been destroyed. So there is this gap, or call it vacuum if you want, a lack of continuity, of communication, and our hope, our ambition for this first session -we hope that it is only the first- is that we can make a beginning, maybe only a small beginning, to fill this gap. By coming here you have paid us and our country a great compliment, because by coming here you have indicated your interest in our country and your desire to learn more about it."

Boswell Hyde paused again, this time to drink some coffee. He was standing behind a table at the end of the room with his back to the french doors, which were open to the sunshine and the glittering lake and the distant cone of the Untersberg, still topped with the remnants of the winter's snow. The dining hall was full. All of the chairs at the big round tables were turned now to face the lake, and the students sat quietly watching this self-possessed pear-shaped young man in his rumpled seersuckers and his jaunty bow tie. Along the north wall, underneath the murals of Prince Archbishops riding to the hunt, stood the Austrian and Polish maids with their trays, interested but uncomprehending, waiting to clear the tables. At the very end of the room, near the big doors to the staircase, the rest of the staff had gathered: the cleaning girls, the cook, the second gardener, Aschauer and his wife. None of them understood a word of what was being said, but they had been drawn upstairs by the feeling that something important was happening. Behind them, Paola and I sat together on the sill of one of the windows overlooking the driveway.

"Now that is our mission," said Boswell Hyde. "That's what we've come here to do. But it seems to me that there may be another, and perhaps a more important benefit to this meeting, this summer, here in this beautiful house in the heart of Europe. And let me say immediately that as an American I bring up this subject with some trepidation, and with great humility."

At this, the others at the head table removed the polite masks they had been wearing and turned toward the speaker with genuine interest. For this occasion only, the Americans sat together. At the end of the table were Peter Devereaux and the other graduate students who had done the work of organizing the Academy and raising the money. Directly beside Boswell Hyde sat Cordon Leffingwell: tall, slim, with a high prematurely balding dome, brown hair, yellowish horn-rimmed glasses, white button-down shirt, knitted Varsity Club tie, tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, faded army suntans, tennis shoes; every inch the languid aristocrat from Groton and Yale, the descendant of China Trade merchants and senators and ambassadors, currently the most popular lecturer in New Haven, and the author of the definitive and widely acclaimed biography of his uncle, the late venerated adviser to Presidents.

Next to Leffingwell was Joseph Kaufrnan, from Brooklyn and Morningside Heights: tiny, brilliant, industrious contributor to the Partisan Review and The New Republic, passionately liberal, perpetually angry. His hair was clipped nearly to the skull but below his fleshy nose sprouted a fierce black moustache. Under his jacket he wore an open blue polo shirt. As he listened to Boswell Hyde, he sucked judiciously on his curved briar pipe and made periodic efforts to keep it lighted.

"We have collected a great variety of people in this room this morning," said Boswell Hyde. "A handful of us are Americans; most of you are Europeans. You have come from nearly every country in Europe, and your lives have been deeply affected by the terrible events of the last dozen years. Some of you fought in the Allied armies; a few fought in the German army. We have people from the Norwegian and Belgian and French undergrounds, and others who spent years in German concentration camps or as impressed laborers in German factories. Many of you have lost your closest relatives in combat, or in death camps, or in the aerial bombardments that destroyed the biggest cities of the continent."

At the other end of the room all the Germans were sitting together too. Their selection had been the committee's most delicate problem: Germany was represented by three older men, scholars and journalists who had been drafted into the Wehrmacht, a couple of quiet young women, a gnarled labor leader who had been in Sachsenhausen -all certifiably anti-Nazi but gray and self-effacing; and Hans-Joachim Freiherr von Schaumburg, descended from ten generations of Prussian landowners and army officers, lately captain in a Panzer division, now a law student in Munich -neither gray nor self-effacing, but the son of a general who had been hanged for plotting against Hitler.

"These things leave scars," said Boswell Hyde. "These things will never be forgotten by you who have lived through them. And no one expects you to forget them -least of all we Americans, whose country was never occupied, whose families and whose cities remained in safety. However, we do make this suggestion to you: judge people as individuals. Get to know people as separate and distinct personalities, good or bad, charming or unpleasant, brilliant or dull, serious or silly, ugly or beautiful -learn to think of people as individuals, rather than as Frenchmen or Italians or Czechs or Germans. I think that for many of you this will be the first opportunity for extended friendly intercourse with educated people from other countries, and I think that you will find that people who share a common professional interest, or a common love of literature or of history, people who can talk to each other about the things that interest them the most . . . such people will find that they can after all communicate with men they thought they hated, with men they would have shot on sight two years ago!"

The hall was absolutely still.

"We're not asking anybody to forget anything. As I said before, these things, some of the things that have happened, these things can never be forgotten, at least not in our lifetime. But on the other hand, it must be wrong for men to be endlessly imprisoned within their own countries, within their own walls of fear and hatred, boxed in not just by armies of occupation and poverty and travel restrictions but also by their own memories. And so I would simply like to urge you, to invite you to use this occasion, this short passage of time in this beautiful house - to invite you to use this course of studies about American civilization as an opportunity to turn yourselves back into Europeans! Because everything that is American evolved from Europe, and I know that all of the Americans here share my passionate belief that America's fate is inextricably linked to that of Europe, and that the rebuilding of Europe -not just the physical rebuilding, but also the emotional rebuilding, the rebuilding of hope for the future- is the most important task facing Americans and Europeans this summer of decision. And maybe we can make a start -a small start- on that right here. Welcome to the American Academy!"

Boswell Hyde scraped his chair back across the marble and sat down and the waitresses moved forward through the clatter of applause.

The first weeks of that summer were the happiest weeks of my life. In the first place there was Paola, but there were other things too. My work was becoming more and more interesting. As prosecutor in the minor military court, I had to teach myself how to organize a case, how to separate hard evidence from conjecture and hearsay, how to interview witnesses before trial, how to question them on the stand, how to listen very hard for the real story buried in each folder of typewritten arrest reports. I learned that the power just to bring a prosecution -or not to bring it- gives a man the ability to do great good or great mischief. I learned that people could be held in prison for weeks just because a clerk misplaced a file. I learned that every single thing I did or didn't do reflected in one way or another upon my country, and that the hundreds of people over whose lives we held so much power would forever see me (and Lieutenant Pinckney) as the embodiment of the United States. We tried to do what years later I learned to call "substantial justice"; we tried to enforce the necessarily harsh rules of an occupying army in enemy country with fairness and good judgment. In one sense we were lucky: we did not have to concern ourselves with deep philosophical issues of political guilt, with degrees of Nazism or participation in atrocities. These matters were dealt with in other rooms, before special tribunals, by experts. Pinckney and I saw only bedraggled men and women who had become trapped between the written laws required to avoid anarchy and chaos and the unwritten laws that require people to live and work and eat: border crossers, poachers, thieves, fanners who concealed their crops from the authorities, black market operators spawned by an economy in which demand exceeded supply by a grotesque margin and money did not exist. My days were filled with arrest reports, broken cartons of cigarettes and Hershey bars and soap, interrogations, cross-examinations, police uniforms, army uniforms, stale air, the smell of unwashed bodies, snap decisions, and the eyes of strangers; hatred in the eyes of strangers, sometimes tears, occasionally surprise and gratitude.

In the evenings and on weekends I was at the Schloss, mostly in the library. I came to love that dark, silent, beautiful room, the glow of lamplight reflected in the polished cherrywood columns, and the rows upon rows of books. My appetite for books returned, and for the first time I felt the desire to go back to college. Although I could not attend the lectures and seminars, they let me see the printed materials, the outlines and reading lists, and from these I began to develop a new interest in the history and government of the United States. I learned that a sophisticated visitor can sometimes paint a more incisive picture than a native, and I became absorbed in the works of Lord Bryce and Alexis de Tocqueville -especially Tocqueville, and the clean cool friendly judgments of 1834:

. . . Why the Americans are so Restless in The Midst of Their Prosperity
. . . How the Taste for Physical Gratifications is United in America to Love of Freedom and Attention to Public Affairs
. . . Why the Americans show So Little Sensitiveness in Their Own Country, and are so Sensitive in Europe
. . . The Temper of the Legal Profession in the United States, and how it serves as a Counterpoise to democracy. . . .

And I had endless conversations with Peter Devereaux.

"I had a letter from my father today," said Peter.-"He knows your grandfather. Thinks the world of him. They were in some case together, last year--"

"Is your father a lawyer too?"

"Is he ever! Iselin Brothers & Devereaux, 60 Wall Street. Forty partners and I don't know how many associates. There's nothing that would make him happier than for me to work up an interest in the law -what you're apparently doing."

"He wants you to be a lawyer?"

"He wants me to be a lot of things I'm not," said Peter, after a long pause.

The hot wind swirled clouds of dust around the Residenzplatz. We were sitting at an iron table in front of the coffeehouse, nursing steins of watery beer. An occasional jeep blasted across the square, raising more dust. In the shadow of the Cathedral, two unemployed Fiakers were parked, horses and drivers apparently asleep.

"Tell me about your father."

He drank some beer, then wiped his mouth. "He comes from South Carolina. Old family, related to everybody, but my grandfather couldn't make a go of it, brought his family to New York in the nineties, went to work for a cotton broker. I guess New York was too much for him, he never got anywhere, wound up some sort of clerk. Commuted by train from Perth Amboy. That's where my father grew up. Hated it. Went to the local high school, wanted to go to Princeton, they couldn't swing it, wangled an appointment to Annapolis. So after that he had to serve as a line officer. Five years. This was in the First War, destroyers in the Atlantic, then later on a cruiser: Panama, Pearl Harbor, Manila."

Peter told the story in a flat, dispassionate tone. The thumbnail biography of a stranger. "Of course the navy bored him, and the pay was terrible, but he saved enough money to get into Harvard Law School, worked his way through, had good enough grades to get a job in Wall Street, and there he really caught fire. Had his name in the firm, a big firm, by the time this last war began. Then he was in Naval Intelligence, Washington and London, then back to the firm, now he says he's going down to Washington again, to work for Forrestal."

"Doing what?" I asked him.

"Something new they're setting up. Intelligence."

"Oh. . . . Your father sounds like a hard apple."

"A hard apple, that's about it. He's got something inside, I don't know . . . something that makes him work like hell, that's all he does every day. And he plays tennis every day, too. Squash in the winter. That's all he does."

"And your mother?"

"Well, that's another story. My God, Graham, don't you have anything to do but sit here and listen to my autobiography?" He looked at his watch. "I don't know why Hans is taking so long about the mail, we're due back at the Schloss."

But I stupidly asked one more question. "What did you mean about your father wanting you to be a lot of things you're not?"

Peter's eyes flashed. "A cripple? A bookworm who spent the war in Lowell House? A dreamer who wants to study history? You think that's what he wanted for his only son?" He pointed to the other end of the square, at Hans von Schaumburg coming around the end of the Cathedral, waving as he saw us. "That's the kind of guy my father would be proud of."

Embarrassed and angry with myself, I watched Schaumburg striding across the square. He was a good-loolcing man, all right; tall and well fed and sunburned. Captured in Normandy, he had spent the last year of the war in Arkansas behind barbed wire, doing calisthenics and reading American history. Another student -a pale boy from Prague- whom the Germans had forced to work twelve hours every day of the week in a munitions plant- had recited a line from a current cabaret skit: When the next war comes we'll all volunteer for the Russian army - because the Americans feed their prisoners so well! But it was hard to dislike Schaumburg; he was an enthusiastic student, he treated everybody with a self-assured soldierly heartiness, and he volunteered for extra jobs. He had succeeded me as the Academy chauffeur.

He approached and threw us a mock salute. The mail was loaded and the truck was ready to depart. Peter told him there was time for one drink, and to our surprise he ordered a Coca Cola. "Something I learned to like in your sunny Southland." We talked about the Academy. How did he think it was working out?

"Well, you know, for us it is very, very different. In Germany we stand up when the professor comes in, he opens the lecture for that day -which is the same lecture he gave on this day last year- we listen, we write down what he says, we get up, we go home, we read our notes and our books, then we take an examination. This American method, the people around a table, everybody in their shirts, Professor Leffingwell asks, "Well, Mr. Schaumburg, why do you think President Roosevelt put Colonel Stimson and Colonel Knox in his Cabinet in 1940? Were they not both Republicans? I tell you, it really makes you pay attention."

"You think it's better or worse?" asked Peter.

"Oh, much better, it permits real contact, a what is the expression? Take and give?"

"Give and take."

"Give and take, the student and the professor can this way converse, it is to us an entirely different thing. But it would not work with our professors."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Ach, they are just German professors, you know. They do things the way they have always done them, the German way is the best way, they do not care to change themselves." And suddenly he sat up straight on the edge of his chair, grabbed Peter's spectacles and put them on, composed his features into a scowl, folded his arms in front of his chest, and began to deliver a lecture in the German manner.

I can't explain why it was so funny, but it was. I'm not even sure what he was saying, what he was supposed to be lecturing about, I think it had something to do with Die Psychoanalyse des Schmetterlings für Kernforschungszwecke -the psychoanalysis of the butterfly for purposes of atomic research- but it came out as a waterfall of endless convoluted sentences, delivered with orotund lip-smacking precision. It was a terrific act, and just as we were laughing hardest, three other students from the Schloss walked around the corner: Milena Hashek, a blond round-faced little English instructor from Charles University in Prague, escorted by Marcus Gompertz, a thin silent boy from Amsterdam and another Dutchman -Eduard Onderdonk. As they noticed our laughing group at the table, their own smiles vanished.

"Hi, Milena!" Peter called out."Didyou make those guys walk all the way in? Sit down, we'll give you a ride home in the truck."

Milena looked confused, smiled politely and waved, then followed the two men who had neither smiled nor waved but walked past the cluster of tables, disappearing around the corner into the Alter Markt.

"I guess they were in a hurry," said Peter quickly. "There's a movie at the Lifka this afternoon, an old Cary Grant thing. . . . Listen, Graham, I've been meaning to ask you, we're going to have a dance at the Schloss next week, and Paola thought that you might be able to get us a couple of kegs of real beer. The beer they make for the army, with some real Austrian kick to it. Think you could swing that?"

Schaumburg had taken off Peter's glasses and was gazing expressionlessly into the distance. Before I could answer, he suddenly asked, "Sergeant, you are a friend of the Gräffin Fyrmian?"

"Yes," I said, looking directly at him. "I am"

"Well, please excuse me, but I have been wondering. I once knew in the war an Austrian officer, a Graf Fyrmian, he was from Salzburg I believe--"

"There were two brothers. The older one was killed in Russia--"

" This one was called Rainer. Rainer Fyrmian, he was in our mountain troops, we were in a hospital together once, he had a Leica and took photographs of everybody--"

"That was her husband. He was killed in 1944, near Florence."

"I see."

We sat in silence now and looked across the square. Some people were beginning to move about. The workmen who had been dozing in the shadow of the Cathedral began to climb back upon their scaffold, shouting instructions to each other. One of the Fiaker drivers awoke and cracked his whip, impelling his bony horse to clip-clop slowly in the direction of the army snack bar. Suddenly Schaumburg stood up. "Gentlemen, I think I go for a walk now. Can you drive the truck back for Peter, Sergeant? I will bring you to your quarters this evening."

The Academy truck was parked in front of the post office, just behind the Cathedral. Eduard Onderdonk, the Dutch law student, was sitting on the running board. He rose when he saw us.

"Greetings, friend Ed-oo-ard," said Peter. "Want a ride home? Where are the others?"

"The others have gone to the film," said Onderdonk. "I have been with them, but I could not be interested in Cary Grant" . . .- He paused to think and choose his words. "I was disturbed that you will not understand our behavior, in the Platz there . . . I have formed the idea that you will consider us without courtesy."

"Forget it," said Peter quickly. "I think we understand, don't we, Graham?"

"I wish to explain, nevertheless." We were all standing rather awkwardly beside the truck, a battered surplus weapons carrier that Peter had wangled from the Quartermaster depot in Munich. Onderdonk took a deep breath. "I give you one example. This boy Gompertz, from Amsterdam; the Germans took his mother and his father and his little sister -twelve years old- and they put them first in camps in Holland, and then they put them on trains for cattle and they sent them to Poland and there they killed them with gas. For what reason? For being Jewish!"

"We know about that, Eddie, we really do," said Peter, but Onderdonk wasn't finished.

"I have a sister," he said. "She is a little older than I am, the most beautiful girl you ever saw, she was an actress, she had some parts in French films, just little parts, you know, and she married a fellow who went to England with de Gaulle, and somehow she became involved in our underground, she was a courier to take messages between Paris and Brussels, she did it for two years, and then she was caught We thought she was dead, but then just as the war ended we heard from a friend that she was in the concentration camp at Ravensbrück. My father was by now with the British Royal Air Force, and he obtained an airplane and my sister's husband and I went with him to Germany to find her. And we found her. My beautiful sister, she is an old woman, she looks fifty years old, she has no teeth, and every night she wakes up and she screams and screams." Onderdonk paused while Peter Devereaux stared down at the cobblestones and I studiously kicked one of the tires.

"I do not tell you these things to make you sorry or - how do you say, embarrassed?" he went on. "I tell them to explain that we came down here to learn about the United States, to read about Thomas Jefferson, about Mark Twain. We did not come down here to drink beer with German officers!"

We were silent for a moment. Then Onderdonk smiled and clapped Peter on the shoulder. "Okay, I go back and look at Cary Grant again, maybe I will be interested now. We all think you Americans are the hope for the future. We do admire you so much, so we want you to understand how we feel. Okay, Peter?"

"Okay, Eddie."

"Good-bye, Sergeant." Onderdonk walked past the rounded end of the Cathedral, and I helped Peter into the cab of the truck.

previous chapter, next chapter



1961 - A Point of View
[1] The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Boatwright Corporation
[2] What are you going to do about Boatwright and what are you going to do about yourself?
[3] Have we learned anything this evening, Doctor?
[4] Producing results?
[5] Alexander's Feast
[6] How'd you like to go over to Salzburg for a month with me?

1947 - An Island
[7] You're not going to Berlin. You're staying here.
[8] All right, we're the Military Government.
[9] The Americans are teaching us to be democratic instead of fascistic.
[10] Well, this is Fasching.
[11] Letters after Ash Wednesday
[12] Say Boris is at Schloss Fyrmian.
[13] THE AMERICAN ACADEMY IN EUROPE - Prospectus for the First Session
>[14] Learn to think of people as individuals.
[15] Parlez-moi d'amour, redites-moi des choses tendres.
[16] Not one thing left to show that you've ever been on earth? -"Sources of Soviet Conduct"
[17] A Countess, a Prussian Officer and a Ländler
[18] Now this part of your life is over and I'm sending you home.
[19] A father who's too busy to watch his son die. - The Spring of 1961
[20] I cannot sell Schloss Fyrmian to the Academy.

1961 - A Change of Air
[21] The first thing I saw was the Festung Hohensalzburg far in the distance, silhouetted against the shadowy curtain of the high mountains.
[22] Next day at the Academy we got to work - Graham, you know what Fleischer did?
[23] Im weißen Rößl am Wolfgangsee
[24] Brockaw writing a thesis on Austrian baroque architecture? - Boatwright Corporation and Boris Fleischer, plaintiffs
[25] You know there a Mr. Devereaux? Mr. Armistead Devereaux?
[26] I think always of Peter Devereaux.
[27] It sounds like an act of desperation, and it won't hold up in court.
[28] In those Oklahoma Hills WHERE AH WAS BOW-AHHHN!
[29] ... that we should meet again like this . . . I think perhaps there is a reason.
[30] "Is there here an American by name of Brockaw?"
[31] This is Boris Fleischer!
[32] "Does Hans work for Gehlen?" Paola shook her head. "More the other way around."
[33] Won't you please come home? Everybody needs you, I most of all.
[34] With this Waffenstillstand you have time now.
[35] You're going to regret this for the rest of your life!
[36] We Europeans would not do it. None of us. - People think you need medical attention.
[37] Will they trust you?
[38] Some things about the U.S.A. are perhaps rather important, and to us impressive.
[39] You're going to need a good lawyer.

version: November 28, 2007
Address of this Page
Arthur R.G. Solmssen, Joachim Gruber