On February 23, 1942, Stefan Zweig and his young wife committed suicide together in Petrópolis, Brazil. The following day, the Brazilian government held a state funeral, attended by President Getulio Vargas. The news spread rapidly around the world, and the couple’s deaths were reported on the front page of The New York Times. Zweig had been one of the most renowned authors of his time, and his work had been translated into almost fifty languages.
In his newest film, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," Wes Anderson takes his inspiration not from a specific novella but from the entire body of Zweig’s work and his life. In the eyes of one of Zweig’s friends, the novelist Irmgard Keun:
Q U O T E
Stefan Zweig "belonged to those that suffered but who would not and could not hate. And he was one of those noble Jewish types who, thin-skinned and open to harm, lives in an immaculate glass world of the spirit and lacks the capacity themselves to do harm."
Source: Anka Muhlstein, NYR, May 8, 2014, and Leon Botstein, “Stefan Zweig and the Illusion of the Jewish European,” Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Winter 1982).