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Love letters (Eberhard Arnold – Emmy von Hollander)

To the Reader

The complete engagement letters of Eberhard Arnold and Emmy von Hollander (nine hand-bound volumes of more than eight hundred letters) were first translated in 1968– 69, and in 1974 a small selection appeared in the book Seeking for the Kingdom of God.

Selections for this anthology were made with an eye to conveying the most important aspects of Eberhard and Emmy’s engagement, rather than reproducing historical documents, and were thus edited for style, clarity, and readability. In specific, archaic phrases were modernized, convoluted constructions simplified, and sentences (or whole paragraphs) abridged or omitted to avoid repetition and digression. Names of numerous “minor characters” (relatives, friends, and acquaintances mentioned in passing by the writers, but holding no special significance for the reader) were also removed.

Both Eberhard and Emmy cited numerous bible verses in their correspondence to inspire each other or to encourage further reading and searching on a particular issue. All but the most pertinent of these references have been omitted. Those citations left in the text have been supplemented with the actual verses in question.

A prolific poet, Eberhard penned dozens of verses for Emmy and often enclosed one or two poems when he wrote to her. In order to save space and avoid reprinting what is available elsewhere, almost all of these poems (and numerous references to them) were removed. To read them, see the book Poems and Rhymed Prayers (Plough, 2003).

Facts and anecdotes in the first chapter, as well as in the editorial interpolations throughout the book, were taken from Emmy von Hollander Arnold’s “Locked Book” (an unpublished 1938 memoir); “The Story of Sannerz and the Bruderhof ” (1931), also by Emmy Arnold; Against the Wind by Markus Baum; “His Way” (an essay by Eberhard’s sister Clara Arnold); and other archival and family sources.

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