Posts Tagged ‘German-Jewish Dialogue’
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: email@example.com.
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.
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
Germany’s Central Council of Jews recently welcomed a new exhibition on Hitler and the Germans in Berlin and warned against worrying parallels between the Nazi era and the current debate about integration in Germany.
Hitler and the Germans: Crime and the People’s Community opened on October 15 in the German Historical Museum in Berlin and runs through February 6, 2011. This is the first exhibit in Germany after the end of the war to focus exclusively on Hitler with the goal to explain the Nazi leader’s personality cult and how it affected the nation during his reign from 1933-45.
It took more than 10 years of planning to stage an exhibit of such nature that doesn’t conflict with the country’s strict laws against displaying Nazi paraphernalia in public. The exhibit curators have mounted more than 1,000 items, including photographs, artworks, uniforms, videos and narrative, to draw the connection between Hitler’s rise to power and the personal cult surrounding him. Approximately 10,000 people attended the opening weekend.
According to Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews,
“The exhibition is going in the right direction, it is dealing seriously with the issue, and I don’t think there is a danger of any form of glorification. […] “The exhibition does not excuse Hitler, nor does it stylize or glorify him. […] The current debate about the integration of people of foreign backgrounds, particularly Islamic, into mainstream society in Germany, should moreover be viewed through the lens of this history. […] The exhibition does not excuse Germans for their role in Nazi Germany.”
The New York Times recently published a lengthy article on the exhibit, under the headline Hitler Exhibition Explores a Wider Circle of Guilt. The paper states,
“The planners began discussing this kind of show 10 years ago [and] an expert committee viewed it as part of a continuum of penance and awareness that historians say began with the Auschwitz trials. […] The exhibit, with all its photographs of young and old adoring Hitler, also sought to dispel the notion that the Nazi spirit was simply impossible to resist.”
German-Jews in exile, who fled Germany to escape the Holocaust, shared many memories of their childhood. They remembered friends, the language spoken and the foods they ate. They remembered bullying, being cast aside, harassed or worse.
But childhood memories were also filled with warmth, of remembering a first day in school. German school children carry cardboard cones, filled with sweets and little treats, to their first day in school. The so-called Schultüten are a century-old tradition. There’s not a child in Germany, then or now, that has not carried his or her precious load to school.
That old tradition that unites all school children led to the idea to launch a unique remembrance project, initiated by Carolyn Naumann and co-organized by the Anne-Frank-Zentrum and the Humboldt University in Berlin: “The sugar cone project” — a collection of photographs of German Jewish schoolchildren just before they fled Nazi Germany into exile and their stories of life before the war. The idea for the project was born while Naumann accompanied German Jewish refugees on their federally funded visit to their hometown, Berlin, where they shared such childhood memories as standing side-by-side with their non-Jewish school friends, all proudly displaying their cones. (In the picture, the brochure of the project, showing Heinz Goldstein on the left with an unknown friend, ca. 1935, in the Jewish Elementary School Fasanenstrasse in Berlin).
The collection of pictures showing six-years-olds and their sugar cones — just before they were deemed unfit to stay (or were sent to their death) — can help school children of today understand the realities of that time, the brutality of daily struggles, when people were clinging to even a sliver of normalcy.
If you have photos of that time, showing Jewish schoolchildren with their sugar cones, or would like to share your story, please contact Carolyn Naumann, who is also searching for teachers that are interested in the project and would like to help.
I would like to know if there exists an exchange program for 1st generation German and Jewish adults.
The only way to assure this never happens again is to break down the wall.
I have met many Germans in my career, and they are as curious about my views as I am about theirs.
I would be very excited to participate in such a program. My father was a survivor from Dobzyn Poland and Auschwitz.
— Sandy Stolzman, United States