The former Reading and Rhetorical Club of German Students
(Lese- und Redehalle der deutschen Studenten)
In these premises the fellowship of German students, which was founded in 1848, had its headquarters here right up until the summer semester of 1904. This club aimed to educate and consolidate the students in the spirit of German culture. As can be seen, it was an intellectual association of students having German nationality which, however, from the turn of the century was quite liberal in its organisation; individual members were not bound by the obligations which other similarly disposed associations had. There was an excellent library, in which there was a large representation of period literature, one could quite freely enjoy the premises of the association and engage oneself in the individual sections which were more or less divided according to the faculties of the university – these sections were run by commissions that attempted to stimulate the cultural life of Prague’s German students mainly with the help of topically oriented lectures.
Thus, on 23rd October 1902 the first-year student of law Max Brod gave a lecture on the theme “The Fate and Future of Schopenhauer‘s Philosophy“. Among the audience on this occasion was Franz Kafka who was already in his third semester. After the lecture Kafka addressed this speaker, who was so far unknown to him, because, as a follower of Nietzsche, he was somewhat perturbed by this topic. And that was the start of their life-long friendship.
This guided walk is a part of the “Democracy on the Brink. Historical lessons from the late 1930s” project supported by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union.