Joseph Roth was an Austrian journalist and novelist who is known for his detailed accounts of the Eastern European Jewish experience.
Born in 1894 in a town near Lviv (today part of Ukraine) Roth's Jewish upbringing would have a significant impact on his work. Not much else is known about his early years, and many of Roth's own accounts are thought to be unreliable.
After completing his secondary schooling, he took up university studies in Vienna in 1913. However, he never finishe, and joined the army to fight in WWI. By the time the war ended, Roth's beloved Austro-Hungarian empire had been dissolved, and he was gripped by a feeling of "homelessness" which would appear in many of his novels.
Throughout the 1920s, Roth worked as a journalist, first in Germany and then in Paris. He so greatly enjoyed life in Paris that he spent much of his life there. Although he also wrote novels and serialized fiction throughout this period, his first real success came in 1930 with the completion of Job. Radetzky March (1932) and the Emperor's Tomb (1938) followed, and solidified his place in the literary community.
In 1933, on the day Hitler took power as Chancellor, Joseph Roth emigrated to Paris where he would spend the remainder of his days. He remained closely connected to his Jewish heritage, though he was a practicing Catholic for many years.
He died in Paris in 1939. It is said that he had both a Catholic and a Jewish funeral.