Papers of Erna (Sascha) Marcuse, nee Reich (1905-1967). They consist predominantly of her correspondence with a boyfriend,
Emil Kuehne, during the early 1920s, but also include other miscellaneous personal effects from her years in Los Angeles.
Erna Reich was a native Berliner who resided there throughout her early life until her marriage in 1928 to Ludwig Marcuse.
In 1933, the couple moved to France; in 1939 they relocated to Los Angeles where Marcuse took up a teaching position at the
University of Southern California.
Erna Reich, known later as Sascha Marcuse, was born in Berlin on 1905 August 27. However, throughout the 1920s she made regular
trips to a Polish town named Polajewo, perhaps to visit family. From about 1920-1925, she kept up a regular correspondence
with her boyfriend, Emil Kuehne Jr. Kuehne, who worked at the N. Israel Department Store in Berlin (likely the location at
Alexanderplatz), was somewhat well-to-do. Their letters often discuss personal subjects, as well as places to meet next. In
late 1924, however, a mutual friend introduced Erna to Ludwig Marcuse, and soon she had broken ties with Emil to be with him.
By 1928, she and Marcuse were married, and from then on she went by "Sascha," making Erna her middle name. Because Marcuse
was Jewish, the two moved to France not long afterward, living there from 1933 until 1939. In 1939, the couple moved to Los
Angeles, California, where Marcuse eventually took up a position as a professor of German and philosophy at the University
of Southern California. While they were fortunate enough to be able to relocate when they did, their lives were still marked
with some tragedy: the couple narrowly survived a 1940 car crash in Los Angeles that left Ludwig near death in the hospital
and Erna with severe poison ivy and shock. After years of life in her adopted home of California, Erna died of cancer while
still residing in Los Angeles on 1967 February 20, at the relatively young age of 62. Marcuse survived her, eventually making
his way back to Germany. While very little is known of Erna Reich's life outside of these elementary facts, this collection
of her correspondence and other effects provides a window into her life, as well as the world of early 1920s Berlin. [Some
of this information was gathered through the Ludwig Marcuse Papers, Collection no. 0209, USC Special Collections.]
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.