March 3, 1928
Herr Peus, the Socialist President of the Diet of Anhalt, is advising Joachim Ernst, the former Duke of Anhalt, to sell part of his share in "art treasures of the old ruling family and invest about $750,000 of the proceeds in a State theatre."
Duke Joachim had plans to "dispose of some art objects to keep up the ancestral castle in Dessau," where he lives with his young wife, an actress, he married last summer. Herr Peus, when he heard of the Duke's plans, he wrote a letter, which was published in the Socialist press:
"You want to sell about 5,000,000 marks' worth of art objects. I have no right to interfere with your intention, but I should like to suggest a way to invest that part of the money which cannot consume. I suggest that you invest about, 3,000,000 marks in a new theatre at 5 percent interest, it is being understood that this investment should not be callable for a long time and the theatre must be built with it.
"If the State of Anhalt and the city of Dessau guarantee this investment for you it will net you an average income of 150,000 marks. That is a large sum of money.
"I should even be willing to grant a reservation of your part to the effect that his annual income must be paid to you and your family for life. Then you could never suffer want any time in the future. If you agree to this you will be doing some service for your former Duchy and your former capital. I should like to furnish the hard-working and badly-paid workers with an opportunity to find some recreation in a good theatre. For that purpose, we need a better and bigger theatre in the place formerly occupied by your old palace, which has just been razed. You ought to supply the capital. I would go so far as to suggest that the new theatre be named after you.
"I am the more encouraged to offer this suggestion because your wife used to be a dramatic artist. I can hardly believe that she would object to my suggestion. If you agree to this plan you will also take the first step toward becoming a respected prominent citizen of Dessau, who would take as much interest in his hometown as other citizens.
I say this to you from my standpoint as a Social Democrat, who is an enemy of the capitalist system, but who bears no grudge against the individual rich man."
So far, Duke Johann Ernst has not offered a response, although he remains in a legal fight with other members of the Anhalt family over "money matters."
[Who would have thought that Socialists were good schmoozers?]