Open lecture by Esther Dischereit – University of Copenhagen

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Open lecture by Esther Dischereit

Esther Dischereit is one of the most renowned German-Jewish authors of the post-Shoah generation. Her writings are centered on her mother’s hiding and survival during the Nazi-years and her own identity as a Jew in postwar Germany.

Dischereit’s work covers a wide spectrum of genres: novels, stories and essays; poetry, plays, including radio plays; opera libretti and sound installations. She is the author of the novels Joëmis Tisch (Joëmi’s Table, 1988), Merryn (1992), and the collections of essays Übungen jüdisch zu sein (Exercises in Being Jewish, 1998) and Mit Eichmann an der Börse: In jüdischen und anderen Dingen (At the Stock Exchange with Eichmann: On Jewish Matters and Other Things, 2001). 

In her most recent works she is concerned with the question of how the memory of the Holocaust can be preserved for the future. In the book Ich möchte dass es mich etwas angeht (I want it to be my concern, 2014), she works with members of the fourth generation of survivors.

Moreover, she has produced a sound installation in the center of the small German town Dülmen, in which she recalls the destroyed Jewish culture and life in the town.

On December 7, 2015, Esther Dischereit presents her work in Copenhagen:                        


13:00 – 15:00 Lecture in German:

Sich erinnern oder ein Eis essen: Klanginstallation ‘Vor den Hohen Feiertagen gab es ein Flüstern und Rascheln im Haus’

Venue: University of Copenhagen on Amager (KUA), Room 27.0.17.

Organizer: Jessica Ortner

This lecture presents a highly unconventional memoir of the Holocaust, which is a sound installation in the center of the small German town Dülmen. The installation and the writings in the book honor the former Jewish inhabitants of the city of Dülmen. Taking bits and pieces of stories, Jewish cooking recipes, letters, and memories, Dischereit's memoir celebrates the lives that existed in the town of Dülmen before the Second World War. ‘To contemplate in passing or to eat an icecream’ is a work that categorically refuses to be a reconstruction of memory. The past remains the past, nothing more than an arbitrary flash into everyday life, an intervention: curious perhaps, like the Jewish recipes recited by an American speaker. Whoever wishes to, can hear.


 20:00: Reading in English

Esther Dischereit reads from her latest book Großgesichtiges Kind (The Child with the Big Face, 2014)

Venue: LiteraturHaus, Møllegade 7, 2200 Copenhagen N

This book intertwines the experiences of a child in the 1950s with the trauma of the Nazi-years. In a mental institution, a child runs along corridors and staircases, brushing past iron bars and balustrades. The building swallowed the sounds it made, just as it muffled the screams of the demented and the creaking of the ancient linoleum. Some places should be avoided by the child. Later, as a grown-up, she will be back in a clinic; this time as a patient, a cancer patient. She watches as the hearses pull up. “It is urgent that you leave the premises again,” says the porter.