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Famous Freemason - Siegmund Salzmann

“The less you hurt others, the more you get hurt yourself.”

Felix Salten was born Siegmund Salzmann in Pest, Austria-Hungary to Fülöp Salzmann, the telegraph office's clerk, and Maria Singer. He was the grandson of an Orthodox rabbi.

When he was four weeks old, his family relocated to Vienna, Austria, as many Jews of the did after the Imperial government had granted full citizenship rights to Jews in 1867.

At sixteen, Salten quit school and began working for an insurance agency. He also began submitting poems and book reviews to journals. He became part of the "Young Vienna" movement (Jung-Wien) and soon received work as a full-time art and theater critic for Vienna's press (Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, Zeit). In 1900, he published his first collection of short stories. In 1901, he initiated Vienna's first short-lived literary cabaret Jung-Wiener Theater Zum lieben Augustin.

He was soon publishing, on an average, one book a year, of plays, short stories, novels, travel books, and essay collections. He also wrote for nearly all the major newspapers of Vienna. In 1906, Salten went to Ullstein as an editor in chief of the B.Z. am Mittag and the Berliner Morgenpost, but relocated to Vienna some months later. He wrote also film scripts and librettos for operettas. In 1927 he became president of the Austrian P.E.N. club as successor of Arthur Schnitzler.

His best remembered work is Bambi. Salten intended it to be a parable of the dangers and persecution faced by Jews in Europe. A translation in English was published by Simon & Schuster in 1928, and became a Book-of-the-Month Club success. In 1933, he sold the film rights to the American director Sidney Franklin for only $1,000, and Franklin later transferred the rights to the Walt Disney studios, which formed the basis of the animated film, Bambi.

Salten's books were banned in Nazi Germany in 1936. Two years later, after Germany's annexation of Austria, Salten moved to Zurich, Switzerland with his wife, and spent his final years there. Felix Salten died on October 8,1945, at the age of 76.

He is buried at Israelitischer Friedhof Unterer Friesenberg.

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