Lev Nussimbaum

Lev Nussimbaum (Kiev, 1905 – Positano, 1942), who wrote under the name Mohammad Essad Bey, was a writer and journalist, born in Kiev to a Jewish family, who spent his childhood in Baku before fleeing the Bolsheviks in 1920 at the age of 14. In 1922, while living in Germany he obtained a certificate claiming that he had converted to Islam in the presence of the imam of the Turkish embassy in Berlin. He created for himself a niche in the competitive European literary world by writing about topics that Westerners, in general, knew little about - the Caucasus, Russian Empire, Bolshevik Revolution newly discovered oil, and Islam. He wrote under the name of Essad Bey in German.

Historians and literary critics, who knew these subjects well, discredited Essad Bey as a reliable source. Today, historians disregard books published under his name and rarely quote him, though the topics Essad Bey chose to write about are still critically relevant. Furthermore, the fact that Essad Bey was so prolific calls into question the authorship of these books and whether Essad Bey was primarily operating as a broker and doctoring manuscripts and marketing them under his name, which by then had become famous. In 1934, his agent Werner Schendell warned him to slow down and take a year off between books so that he would not appear to be so prolific. That year no books appeared in German - only two novellas in Polish.

Read more about Lev Nussimbaum:  Life, Islam, Works

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