Dilemmas of Difference - German Jews, Jewish Germans

Rafael Seligmann, Tina Mendelsohn, Olga Grjasnowa

23/02/2013
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Four generations after the Holocaust, Europe’s fastest growing Jewish community faces new challenges, from Günter Grass’s anti-Israel poem What Must Be Said, to furious debate over the legality of circumcision and assaults against Jews in the street. Writers of two generations came to Jewish Book Week 2013 for a keynote discussion on what it means to be Jewish and German today. The discussion raised provocative questions about difference and identity that resonate with all multicultural societies.

Rafael Seligmann

Rafael Seligmann, teacher of history and writer of best-selling books, was born in Israel and moved to Germany as a child. He is the Publisher of Berlin-based Jewish Voice From Germany, a monthly journal he founded in 2012 with the aim of promoting a new view of Jewish life in Germany to the world. “Our paper intends to make the dream of togetherness a reality,” he says.

Tina Mendelsohn

Tina Mendelsohn is a filmmaker who has been a presenter of German TV’s weeknight culture and politics show Kulturzeit since 2001. Living in London for the last 12 years, she switches between cultures. She has interviewed political and cultural figures from Martin Walser to Nadine Gordimer, Literature Nobel Prize-winner Herta Mueller, to Amos Oz and David Grossman.

Olga Grjasnowa

Novelist Olga Grjasnowa was born in Azerbaijan and immigrated to Germany aged 12. Her novel Der Russe ist einer, der Birken Liebt (All Russian Men Love Birch Trees) published in German in February 2012, captures the mood of a younger generation who cannot escape the trauma of the past. Grjasnowa has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships and is currently studying dance at the Berlin Free University.

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