Otto Dov Kulka in conversation with Simon Schama
Otto Dov Kulka, Simon Schama
Otto Dov Kulka’s Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death is a memoir of astounding literary and emotional power, exploring the permanent and indelible marks left by the Holocaust and a childhood spent in Auschwitz. As one of the few survivors he has spent much of his life studying Nazism and the Holocaust, but always as a discipline requiring the greatest dispassion and objectivity, with his personal story set to one side. He has nevertheless remained haunted by specific memories and images, thoughts he has been unable to shake off.
Otto Dov Kulka talks to Simon Schama about his book, a unique and powerful experiment in how one man has tried to understand his past (and our history).
Otto Dov Kulka was born 1933 in Czechoslovakia. In September 1942 he was deported to the Ghetto Theresienstadt and 1943 to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 1949 he immigrated to Israel. From 1958 on he lived in Jerusalem, where he studied and since 1966 taught Modern Jewish History at the Hebrew University. Since 1999 he is Prof. Emeritus.Simon Schama
Sir Simon Schama, CBE is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and a Contributing Editor of the Financial Times. He is the author of nineteen books and the writer-presenter of fifty documentaries on art, history and literature for BBC2. His art criticism for The New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for criticism in 1996; his film on Bernini from The Power of Art won an Emmy in 2007 and his series on British history and The American Future: a History, Broadcast Critics Guild awards. He won the NCR non-fiction prize for Citizens, National Book Critics Circle award for Rough Crossings, the WH Smith Literary Award for Landscape and Memory. In 2015 he received the Premio Antonio Feltrinelli in historical sciences from the Accademia nazionale dei Lincei in Rome. His The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words was published in 2015 and the second volume Belonging in 2017. In the autumn of 2016, The Face of Britain, a history of British portraiture appeared as a five-part BBC television series; a book and an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. In 2018, Civilizations, a nine-part BBC television series on world art, of which he wrote and presented five. In May 2019, Wordy: Sounding off on high art, low appetite and the power of memory, was published, and in the spring of 2021 his BBC series The Romantic and Us was aired. At present, he is working on Foreing Bodies, his twentieth publication, and in a new BBC series titled Brave New World. Image cr. Charlie Bibby