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Shylock in Buchenwald

Hanan Snir’s Israeli-German Production (Weimar 1995)

Gad Kaynar-Kissinger

examine their roles in the German-Jewish social interaction before, during and after the Holocaust makes Tabori’s work a major precursor of Snir’s 1995 Weimar production, to which I shall now turn. Merchant in Buchenwald: between idea, conception

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Klaus Neumann

In 1992, at a conference about the 1938 Reichskristallnacht pogrom,

the mayor of Weimar told this anecdote:

Three weeks ago, I was in Paris. I visited the international architecture

exhibition and afterwards went to a small fish restaurant. Nearly all

the places had been taken, [so] tables were joined, and additional

chairs added. I came to sit next to a man more than seventy years of

age, and told him in broken French that I’m from Weimar. He said, “I

know it; I was imprisoned in Buchenwald.”

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Helmut Peitsch and Joanne Sayner

This article examines two chapters from Martin Sabrow's 2009 edited volume Erinnerungsorte der DDR, one on antifascism and one on Buchenwald. These two case studies exemplify the complexities of the contemporary German memorial landscape. In particular, they thematize the remembrance of the Nazi past in the German Democratic Republic and how this GDR past has, in turn, been tendentiously remembered since unification. By examining the layering of memories in these two chapters, we argue that the theoretical models which often underpin contemporary German memory work, Sabrow's volume included, serve to obscure the role of the state as carrier of official memory. On the basis of this study, we show that concepts dominant in today's Germany promote a unified national narrative. In particular, terms such as the “culture of memory” (Erinnerungskultur) and cultural memory (kulturelles Gedächtnis) downplay conflicting, contentious and diverse memories relating to the GDR past. As such, the article provides a timely note of caution for memory studies and memory work, which increasingly applies these models to wider, non-German contexts.

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Eugene Heimler

A Hero of the Twentieth Century

Miriam Bracha Heimler

-Elster and Buchenwald. And yet there were but few moments for him where he could not see a future. He wrote about his experiences in his remarkable book Night of the Mist . ‘How does one survive a death camp?’ he asked us, trying to light his pipe with a

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Christhard Hoffmann

A few weeks after the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany

in May 1949, American High Commissioner John McCloy addressed

an assembly of representatives from the West German Jewish community.

In a much-discussed speech, he emphasized the central

importance of public recollection of the crimes of the Third Reich for

the political culture of the young republic. In particular, said McCloy,

the relationship of West Germany towards the Jews would be “one of

the real touchstones and the test of Germany’s progress toward the

light. The moment that Germany has forgotten the Buchenwalds and

Auschwitzes, that was the point at which everyone could begin to

despair of any progress in Germany.”

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Cora Sol Goldstein

In December 1945, less than six months after the unconditional defeat of the Third Reich and the military occupation of Germany, two anti-Nazi German intellectuals, Herbert Sandberg and Günther Weisenborn, launched the bimonthly journal, Ulenspiegel: Literatur, Kunst, und Satire (Ulenspiegel: Literature, Art and Satire), in the American sector of Berlin. Sandberg, the art editor, was a graphic artist. He was also a Communist who had spent ten years in Nazi concentration camps—the last seven in Buchenwald. Weisenborn, a Social Democrat and the literary editor, was a playwright, novelist, and literary critic. He had been a member of the rote Kapelle resistance group, was captured and imprisoned by the Gestapo in 1942, and was liberated by the Red Army in 1945.

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Available in Hell

Germaine Tillion's Operetta of Resistance at Ravensbrück

Donald Reid

Pierre Vidal-Naquet called the three studies resister Germaine Tillion had published in 1946, 1973, and 1988, on the concentration camp to which she had been sent, her “three Ravensbrücks.”4 Although resistance is important in each, these works focus primarily on the relation of exploitation to extermination in the camps. There is, however, a first, or perhaps a fourth, “Ravensbrück,” which is neither a memoir nor a history like the other three. In it, the state of resistance in which Tillion lived her deportation comes to the fore. Inspired by Jacques Offenbach’s L’Orphée aux Enfers, Tillion wrote Le Verfügbar aux Enfers in late 1944 at Ravenbrück, after having spent a year incarcerated there. Like David Rousset’s frequent reference to Père Ubu in L’Univers concentrationnaire (1946), his essay on Buchenwald, Tillion’s operetta reminds us that the genres we usually call on to present the horrific in the normal world may be lacking when the horrific is the norm.

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Before The Human Race

Robert Antelme's Anthropomorphic Poetry

Sara Guyer

In the Spring of 1944, one month before the Gestapo arrested him, sending him first to the prison at Fresnes and then deporting him to Buchenwald and Dachau, Robert Antelme published four poems in Littérature, a newly inaugurated – and ultimately short-lived – literary journal. The journal, which appeared only in that year, aimed to present the work of young French writers. As the editor, René Julliard explains in a preface to the first issue, Littérature did not represent a particular ‘school’, and authors were not bound by restrictions of page numbers or genre. In each issue – which included poems, stories, plays, and essays – the contributions were organized alphabetically, according to the author’s name.

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Edited by Jonathan Magonet

change. Two articles look at the refugee experience through personal histories. Eugene (John) Heimler (1922–1990), a poet in his native Hungary, survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and found a home in England after the war. He wrote a powerful book about

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Introduction

Shakespeare and the Jews

Lily Kahn

Kaynar-Kissinger discusses an unusual attempt to engage with the Holocaust’s traumatic legacy in the form of a 1995 Israeli-German production of Merchant set in Buchenwald. The seventh section, ‘Anglo-Jewish Adaptations of Shakespeare’, is dedicated