How to be a Refugee
Chair: Kavita Puri
Philosopher and author Simon May joins us to discuss his powerfully moving family memoir, taking on questions of home and belonging that continue to press in on us today. Most Jews living in Hitler’s Germany faced emigration or deportation to concentration camps but there was also the much rarer route: self-concealment in the shadow of the Third Reich, denial of your origins to the point where you manage to erase almost all consciousness of it and refuse to believe that you are Jewish. Simon, who was forbidden from identifying as Jewish, German or British, reveals the very different trajectories taken by his mother and two aunts as grappled with what they felt to be a lethal heritage.
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Simon May was born in London, the son of a violinist and a brush manufacturer. Visiting professor of philosophy at King’s College London, his books include Love: A New Understanding of an Ancient Emotion; Love: A History; Nietzsche’s Ethics and his War on ‘Morality’; The Power of Cute; and Thinking Aloud, a collection of his own aphorisms. His work has been translated into ten languages and regularly features in major newspapers worldwide. For many years he has intended to move ‘back’ to Berlin, but has yet to do so.
Kavita Puri is an award-winning journalist and radio broadcaster. Her landmark three-part series Partition Voices for BBC Radio 4 won the Royal Historical Society's Radio and Podcast Award and its overall Public History Prize. Her critically-acclaimed Radio 4 series, Three Pounds in My Pocket, charted the migration of South Asians to post-war Britain. Kavita works in BBC Current Affairs as an executive producer, and radio presenter. Prior to this, she worked at Newsnight. She studied Law at Cambridge University. @kavpuri Image cr Jonathan Ring