Jehovah & Job Redux
Herbert Kuhner, Theodor Kramer Prize Laureate

Willy Verkauf-Verlon

Willy Verkauf-Verlon, artist and poet had a peripatetic life, which took him from Austria (in 1938) to Britain, Palestine and back to Austria again. The poems reflect his Jewish odyssey with incision and humor. They accurately depict post-war Austria and the world in general as viewed by a Jewish individualist and non-conformist.


In 1994 I suggested to Willy that I do a bilingual collection of his poems. He was delighted agreed to help me on the project and I set to work on Seiltänzer/Tightrope Walker. Peter Malina, who shared my enthusiasm, added a detailed afterword.

Willy sent me a selection of new poems shortly before his death that same year. I added some to my collection and sent copies Dr. Wolfgang Neugebauer of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance and to Konstantin Kaiser of the Theodor Kramer Society, which was established to promote Austrian exile authors and those who opposed National Socialism.

“We intend to publish your Willy Verkauf-Verlon book with your translations in the spring of 2014.”
– Konstantin Kaiser of the Theodor Kramer Verlag, Sept. 25, 2013

My friend David Axelrod proof read my English translations at Dr. Kaiser’s behest. “Harry – Thank you for letting me learn more about Willy. These fine poems are sensitively and skillfully translated by you. The commentary (by Peter Malina) helps open Willy both biographically and artistically.”
– David B. Axelrod, Writers Ink Press, 25.09.2013

In 2015 a book containing poems by Willy Verkauf Verlon was indeed published, but it was not the Kuhner-Malina: Seiltänzer/Tightrope Walker.
Auch die Worte haben Grenzen, a monolingual collection of poetry by Willy Verkauf-Verlon, edited Konstantin Kaiser appeared in 2015
by the Theodor Kramer Verlag .

I received a letter from Konstantin Kaiser, dated May 29, 2018. “The (Willy) Verkauf -Verlon bilingual book is not representative as a publication. – I do not know how we could distribute this book.”
– K.K.

On July 9, 2022, I received the following message:
“You have no right to tell me what I should do or to be angry when I don’t do what you think I should do. We don’t have a contract and I have helped you over the years. Show some consideration!
– K.K.


King of the Hill

I am l am glad that there are those
who are capable and do good cultural work.
I consider them as my brothers and sisters,
and I try to act accordingly.

My attitude does not match your attitude.
You want to be King of the Hill
and you intend to throw down anyone
who might be a threat to your regnum.

You plotted to cancel out one of my projects
so that you could create one of your own
and substitute it for mine – which you did!

Among the tasks I have chosen
is promoting Austrian culture,
by translating poetry, with the emphasis
on those, who like me, experienced
Third Reich barbarity.

I do this for the sake of doing it.
I am not in competition.


Kaiser had previously been publishing the Kramer Society’s books with other publishers. I told him: “Do your own books! I brought him Dr. Johannes Diethart, publisher of books and a literary journal under the logo of Österreichisches Literaturforum

Diethart showed him the ropes, and they worked together until Kaiser said goodbye to Diethart without saying goodbye.


Background to Kaiser as Publisher

But the antics do not begin here. Armin Wallas had Staub von den Stadten by Anna Krommer set and announced in his Mnemosyne catalogue.

Guess who published this book, getting the material from the author, and beating Wallas to the draw!


An Icy Wind

An icy wind
does not make you giddy
like a sirocco.
It aims at your heart
and blows at high speed
to get at that organ.

Better take cover
when that wind
has you in its path!
If you stand fast
it will cut you to the quick.



Here’s my goodbye:

It was nice knowing you
before I got to know you.


Tarantel to the Rescue!

The Kuhner/Malina book may have been cancelled out temporarily – but NOT permanently!

Willy Verkauf-Verlon: Seiltänzer/Tightrope-Walker appeared in Edition Tarantel in 2019.

Redaktion Tarantel
 Vivariumstraße 8/4/18
1020 Wien

Gerald Grassl published this essential book.

104 Seiten/pages €12,-


Peter and I say thank you to our rescuer

and I am sure that Willy joins us!



Exiled By the Exile Library

My friend and colleague Dr. Armin A. Wallas died on May 30th of 2003.
The Austrian scholar, writer, editor and publisher specialized on Austrian-Jewish literature.
(Dr. Wallas published my bilingual collections of poetry by Else Keren,
Stella Rotenberg and Else Keren under his Mnemosyne imprint.)

I wrote to Dr. Ursula Seeber, Director of the Exile Library, requesting a commemorative event for Dr. Wallas. A reply was not forthcoming. I tried to contact Dr. Seeber by phone, and when I finally managed to reach her, she rendered me a verbal refusal and suggested I contact Dr. Heinz Lunzer Director of the Literaturhaus in Vienna. Da capo! When I finally reached him by phone, I received my second oral refusal.

Deliberate Tactic

Not providing a written reply to request
was not due to a breach of etiquette,
but rather a deliberate tactic.
There should be no record of the refusal.


– Herbert Kuhner