A Embedded between the more Asiatic Soviet Russia and the big Western
European States and empires there exists a great number of smaller states
on a strip of land which extends from the Arctic North down to the Medierranean.
All have a pronounced national individuality, a great historic tradition
and above all, cultural institutions and scientific establishments, the
history of which extends back to the first centuries of European Culture.
The present frontiers of these States, like their political construction,
are in almost all cases new. For the greater part they had their origin
in the events and results of the World War.
The persons back of these conditions, however; the persons who direct and influence the policies of these countries; the persons who are achieving great things there in cultural affairs and who manage the different branches of the economy: ...in one word, those individuals who are really prominent in these countries never have been brought together in any language in one comprehensive year-book such as the "Who's Who in Central & East-Europe".
To the creation of such a work we have been devoting our energies for several years. the result of these labors of gathering and compiling data we are now able to present to the world public. Our "Who's Who in Central & East-Europe" contains biographical data of almost all the prominent persons in the sixteen Central & Eastern European States, as far as we could obtain them.
It was, of course no small task to compile more than 10,000 biographies from a population of about 140,000,000 in these 16 States. Our collaborators have visited all these countries, have spoken with most of the prominents contained in our 'Who's Who. Those not contacted personally by our editorial committee were asked by letter to fill out a questionaire. Almost three years were required to collect, revise and assemble the material. In the case of many of the 10,000 it was necessary to exchange three or four letters. Only if one considers how many natural and violent changes have occurred in just these countries in all spheres of public life, especially in politics, can one appreciate the enormous difficulties of our task. We beg therefore for indulgence toward our work, especially the omission of some persons who only recently stepped into the international limelight. Public life is altering faster than editor and book-printing machines can work.
....At the end of the book is a detachable card which the reader may use to inform the editor of any suggestions, corrections or other observations. A questionaire blank is also attached, on which a biographical sketch may be filled out for publication in the next edition. Only those individuals will be considered for insertion, however, who really are prominent, namely, who play an important part in the public life of their country and who can bave been left out of the first edition only by oversight.
Needless to emphasize, the acceptance of a biography by our editor cannot be bought with money or any other means. The decision on the acceptance or rejection of an insertion rests with the editorial committee only; not with the business manager. Ordering a book will have no influence on this committee. We hope and trust, of course, that those prominents who are convinced of the correctness and necessity of our work will support the publisher in this endeavours by recommending the encyclopaedia wherever possible...
The Editors Zürich, January 1935