Posts Tagged ‘2nd & 3rd Generation’
The German Consulate General is showing until July 18 a photo exhibit by Julian Voloj — Only in New York, depicting New York’s vibrant Jewish community.
“Since moving to New York in 2003, the exploration of Jewish identity has become a leitmotif in the work of photographer Julian Voloj. Growing up in Muenster, Germany, in a small Jewish community, he became interested in Jewish diaspora culture around the world.
Fascinated by the vibrancy and diversity of New York’s Jewish communities, he started to explore what it means to be Jewish. His photographs are an intimate portrait of a variety of Jewish communities, former Jewish neighborhoods, and expressions of identity.
From Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and their struggle between tradition and modernity, to African-Americans who adopted Jewish rituals to cope with the legacy of slavery, his photographs open the doors to unknown worlds.
Julian Voloj’s award-winning photography has appeared in various newspapers and magazines including the Washington Post, Forward, Tablet Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and the Jerusalem Post. Voloj is also the founder of JWalks: Retracing Jewish Heritage, a nonprofit promoting Jewish history through walking tours. Julian Voloj lives with his wife and two children in New York City.”
If you are interested in learning more about Jewish New York, visit J-Walks: Retracing Jewish History in New York City.
A new Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Voice From Germany, will be launched in Germany beginning next year. The English-language quarterly will be published in Berlin starting in January 2012 by novelist and political commentator Rafael Seligmann with an initial circulation of 25,000.
In his welcoming message, Seligmann writes: “There is a revival of Jewish life in Germany. But […] little is known about the fertile German-Jewish relations.”
“Germany is politically and economically one of Israel’s most reliable and important partners. A communication-bridge is missing between German-speaking countries and the influential Jewish communities in the U.S., Canada, GB and Israel. Jewish Voice From Germany will forge this missing link. [It] supplies information and provides commentaries for disseminators in economics, politics, sciences and arts. Our paper will help revive German-Jewish relations and voice mutual interests.”
If you wish to subscribe to the publication, please send your address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a query from a reader. Please reply to her directly or comment to this post.
My name is Charla R. Malamed. I am a doctoral student at Derner Institute, at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York.
I am currently conducting a research project, in which I am interested in learning about the transmission of Holocaust WWII experience across the generations, and about how that experience influences the individual’s relationships with the self and with others, specifically with a German/Jewish individual (German non-Jewish, if the individual is Jewish; Jewish, if the individual is German non-Jewish).
I want to understand how cultural and familial memory of the Holocaust influences the development of the self and the ways in which an individual is able to relate to the ‘other;’ that is, how has the Holocaust affected Jewish/German non-Jewish relations today, in the 3rd generation?
To be eligible to participate, you must:
(1) Be a grandchild of a someone who lived during the Nazi regime in one of the Nazi-occupied territories
(2) have had, or currently have, a meaningful and ongoing relationship with a German non-Jewish individual (if you are Jewish) or a Jewish individual (if you are German and non-Jewish).
Anyone who is interested will be asked to participate in a 75-90 minute interview, as well as complete a pencil-and-paper questionnaire. All the information resulting from this research will be anonymous.
In early May, the Leo-Baeck Institute in New York and the Baruch College Jewish Studies Center held a conference entitled “German-Speaking Jews in New York City: Their Immigration and Lasting Presence”.
Only a handful of German-Jewish émigrés, who had fled to the United States from Germany in the early 1930s, were present. I was sitting in the audience, missing the many German-Jews whom I’ve met in New York in the early 1990s, when I was managing editor of the legendary German-Jewish newspaper Aufbau (which was founded in 1934 and folded in 2004. Read my article about Aufbau’s history, in German). I remembered our devoted German-Jewish readers, so attached to their paper that they would call the office to ask for the time. I missed our German-Jewish freelance writers and photographers, who had so much inner strength, poise and intellect.
The almost empty auditorium at the Leo-Baeck Institute made me miss them even more.
It was ironic that of all the Jewish institutions in New York, it was the Leo-Baeck Institute that hosted a conference like this. Even though the Institute has dedicated itself to preserving German-Jewish culture, back when Aufbau struggled to survive, we approached its directors again and again to help us save the paper, at least as long as there was still one survivor, one German-Jew, alive. Our pleas, however, fell on deaf ears. To be fair, there were a few individuals on the Institute’s board who supported us as much as they could, but officially, the Leo-Baeck Institute never seemed to care too much about Aufbau’s demise.
Now, panelist after panelist remembered the Aufbau and its important role in the survivors’ lives. For them, however, and for the paper, these reminiscences and acknowledgements come too late.
I miss the resolute Werner Stein and the soft-spoken Jerry Brunell, chairman and publisher respectively of the Aufbau. I had fierce discussions with both of them about which direction the paper should take, but I always learned something new from their experiences; their stories will stay with me forever. (Werner Stern contacted me on June 16, after learning about this blog post, and I was glad to learn that he is well! I hope that Jerry Brunell is too.)
I miss our freelance writers, like our 80-year-old art critic Judith Helfer, who had the wrinkle-free face of a delicate Chinese porcelain doll and a soft voice to match her features. Judith came from a prominent family of Rabbis; she died in 2002.
I miss Frederick R. Lachman (top right), a Jewish scholar, author, historian and executive editor of the Encyclopedia Judaica, who wrote Aufbau‘s column “Was das Judentum dazu sagt”, on how Judaism approached the issues of the day. Lachman — with his disarming wit, poignancy and very long-form writing style — once took me aside and shared with me his anguish that some people still thought that German-Jewry started with Hitler. “Child,” he urged me, “continue to fight this misjudgment.” I have and always will. Lachman died in 1998 at the age of 96.
I miss our photographer Erich Hartmann (at left), who worked for MAGNUM and accompanied me to many assignments, most memorably to an interview with Wolf Ulrich von Hassell, the son of a German resistance fighter in Nazi Germany. You can read the article (in German) and view the photo Hartmann took here. Hartmann, who was as elegant and polite as an English gentleman and such a Mensch, passed away in 1999.
I miss Lisa Schwartz (bottom, at right), who was the vice president and Grande Dame of Aufbau. As a former hat model, she was as eccentric and charming as you’d imagine, and I miss her dry humor and hearty laughter. She chain-smoked and flirted with everyone. She had survived the war in Switzerland as a child and still vacationed there every year. We lost contact; but I do hope she is alright. [Update: Lisa Schwartz passed away in March 2012 at the age of 90. May she rest in peace.]
Years back, all of them would have been present at a conference like that, either participating in the panels, sitting on the podium, or in the audience.
But very few people sat there with me now, as if I needed a reminder that their numbers were dwindling and that their children and grandchildren, for the most part, didn’t care much about their German-Jewish roots.
But there are still a few witnesses, like retired history professor Henry L. Feingold and Max Lerner, who came to New York from Germany and Austria respectively in the late 1930s early 1940s. Both recounted their experiences after arriving in the New World:
In her poems (i.e. “This Is How My Opa Strauss Died“), she comes to terms with her own German-Jewish heritage and identity:
I don’t know how many survivors will sit in the audience, or on the podium, next year. But I do know that I will miss those who won’t.
Here is a query that I received from two readers. Please respond directly to them:
We are beginning a project that we believe might be interesting to you. Our intent is to bring together 3rd generation (grandchildren) of victims and perpetrators of the WW2 Holocaust such as Jews, homosexuals, sympathizers, Nazi, SS, Polish, Vichy, etc. We wish to create a safe, open space to inclusively listen and experience each other’s stories of growing up and living with family members who lived during the Nazi period. This space will be open in many ways and might include modes of expression that go beyond words, like movement, free association, and expressive theater.
We will use questions about our formative experiences with family, in school, and with friends to structure the circle.
Questions might look like the following:
- When did you first learn about the Holocaust?
- What ideas do I have about my own community and about the ‘others’ community?
- What do we know about our own historical links to the Holocaust?
- What was it like to be a grand-daughter of a Nazi soldier or a survivor?
- What is guilt, what is forgiveness, what is reconciliation?
- What do you feel when you meet a German/Jew?
- What is the role of commemoration?
We ask that all participants hold the intention to go beyond blame. We hope that in experiencing the stories of each other, we will begin to build a shared experience, one which struggles to move beyond the conventional notions of the ‘other’ with which most of us have been raised. Meetings will be facilitated and will follow guidelines to maintain structure, confidentiality and the emotional safety and stability of the circle. The purpose of the group is not to debate or argue historical facts, but rather to encounter each other and listen deeply to each other’s stories and truths. Participants must be committed to a self-transformative process.
At this stage, we call for all those interested to write in with a short statement including an introduction, your relation to the Holocaust, and your intent for joining. Once we gather a solid group we will announce our first meeting. If you know of others that are linked historically to the Holocaust and might be interest, please send this invitation along.”
Rami Efal and Charla Malamed, Charlarubym@gmail.com