Category Archives: Literature

2016 Hilde Domin Prize for Literature in Exile awarded to Edgar Hilsenrath


Edgar Hilsenrath: “The city of Heidelberg’s 2016 Hilde Domin Prize for Literature in Exile has been awarded to German-Jewish writer Edgar Hilsenrath (born 1926). The accolade is awarded every three years to writers who live in exile in Germany, or who have been affected by the issue as descendants of exiles, who tackle the theme of exile in their literary work and who publish in German. In granting the award, the jury stated, ‘In Edgar Hilsenrath, we are honouring a writer whose life’s work has been to communicate the experience of exile through original and daring literature. His novels, which are driven by bleak, dark powers of imagination, are attempts to find ways to speak of the horrific acts humans commit against each other through various forms of the grotesque. His stories are best symbolised as laughter that gets caught in your throat – somewhere between cynicism, sorrow and assertiveness.’”

Marion Tauschwitz: I had the chance and pleasure to talk to him and to give him my biography on Selma Merbaum, he was very interested in. He and Selma could have met at Moghilew-Podolks where Selma stayed for a short while before being deported to cariera de piatra.

Emunah Czernowitz – “Heimkehr” Essays jüdischer Denker

Another of the Jewish fraternities was “Emunah”.  On June 3, 1903, the Jewish National Academic Reading Society was “thrown open,” with the club colors gold-violet-gold. “Emunah” was highly active in the field of Zionism – a  characteristic for all the Jewish fraternities –  and also set up a library open to the public. Furthermore, “Emunahs” intellectual athmosphere culminated in publishing several books. To mention is especially “Heimkehr. Essays jüdischer Denker”  with a preface by Leon Kellner. (Homecoming. Essays of Jewish Thinkers). This anthology contains contributions by notable Jewish authors like Balaban Majer, Nathan Birnbaum (who coined the term “Zionism”), Max Rosenfeld, Salomon Schiller and Leon Kellner. It came out 1912 and is now available online via the university library of Frankfurt:


Happy Birthday, Edgar Hilsenrath!

goodreads: Edgar Hilsenrath (born [April 2] 1926) is a German-Jewish writer living in Berlin. His main works are Night, The Nazi and the Barber, and The Story of the Last Thought.

Hilsenrath was born in Leipzig. In 1938 his mother escaped with her two children to Siret (Sereth), in Romanian Bukovina, where they enjoyed a respite from persecution. At the time that he should have received an entrance card to higher education, he and his mother were interned in the ghetto of Cernăuţi (Czernowitz).

He began to write about the Holocaust after his liberation when he moved to Paris. Hilsenrath also lived in Palestine, Israel, and New York.

According to Dagmar C. G. Lorenz, Simon Wiesenthal Center, “Hilsenrath calls things by their proper names and portrays life first and foremost as physical existence, of whose details the reader is constantly made aware: birth, nursing, feeding, sex, and excretion accompanied by feelings of pleasure and pain. The rhetoric of politicians and political theory are shown to be the schemes of beings ultimately dependent on these bodily processes and subject to physical desires. Hilsenrath’s very approach is a protest against disrespect toward the mortal body, against the tyranny of the mind over matter.”

Czernowitz – Stadt der Dichter [City of Poets] by Amy-Diana Colin & Edith Silbermann

Cover_Czernowitz (2)Info-Buch_Colin, Silbermann


Amy-Diana Colin’s (PhD, Yale) much-anticipated book “Czernowitz – Stadt der Dichter [City of Poets]”, the “History of a Jewish Family from Bukovina (1900-1948)” is now at the bookseller’s!

What a literary delectation, something for winter’s eve, but not only! From the blurb we learn: “The report of an exceptional contemporary witness: Edith Silbermann, nee Horowitz, from Czernowitz (Bukovina), actress, reciter, translator, Germanist, publicist, mediator between German and Jewish cultural traditions, narrates her turbulent family history and reports on her youth in Czernowitz before and during WW2. One chapter of this book is dedicated to Paul Antschel (Celan), Edith Silbermann’s friend from the early Czernowitz years until his death. It was for both, Paul and Edith, the first love of their youth. […]”

It is not just a literary delectation, it’s also a listening pleasure, since this precious book comes with two audio CDs including recordings from Edith Silbermann’s sophisticated recitation program. Read, listen and enjoy! It’s a special publication for Czernowitz lovers!

Alfred Kittner’s Handwritten CV in Romanian from the Year 1946


I, Alfred Kittner, was born on November 24, 1906 in Czernowitz. My father, Heinrich Kittner (dead in 1932) was an accountant, my mother, Cecilia Kittner, born Kapralik, died in 1910, when I was barely 3 years old. I attended primary school and high school in Vienna, where my father lived during the First World War, and in Czernowitz. After graduating high school in 1925 and after attending for a year the Sciences Department of the Czernowitz University, I performed my military service as an infantryman in Satu Mare (1928-1929) and then I attended German Studies and German literature courses at Breslau University, where I began my literary career. In 1932, back in Czernowitz, I worked for a year in the accounting department of the Marmorosch-Blank Bank, and in 1933 I started as an editor with the “Der Tag”; (The Day) newspaper in Czernowitz, at which paper I worked as secretary, literary editor, spell-checker, reporter, etc. until 1936, when this newspaper became Czernowitzer Tagblatt. I worked in my former capacity at this newspaper as well, until it was suspended once the Goga-Cuza Cabinet came to power in 1939. This year I also published a volume of poetry. As a publicist, I always fought for the cause of democracy, against obscurantism, and I revealed, among other things, in my articles, the terrorist means and persecution applied by the Czernowitz police against the Communist prisoners. Throughout this time, I have been an occasional collaborator of literary magazines from Viena, Prague, etc.

In 1940-1941, after Northern Bukovina was annexed to the Soviet Russia, I worked as a librarian with the Regional Czernowitz Library, and as a censor of the foreign books, and I collaborated with the Moscow International Literature Magazine. In 1941, I was deported, having been black-listed as a democratic publicist, by the secret police of Gen. Antonescu. With my familyat Bug, after three torturous years in several extermination camps {Cariera pe Bug (Bug Quarry), Cetvertinovca, Demidovca, Obadovca} being freed by the victorious advancement of the Red Army, I returned to Czernowitz, where I restarted my former job at the Library. In the meantime, my brother in law was mobilized as a military medic and a captain in the liberating Polish Army, sent [invitations] for the entire family. This is how I ended up in Poland, from where I returned to my country after my brother in law was released from the military.

In October 1945 I became a librarian with Arlus [Association for closer Ties with the Soviet Union – Asociația Română pentru strângerea Legăturilor cu Uniunea Sovietică] Library, in which capacity I work even to this day, and in January of this year, I began to work as a radio anchor.

[Translation by courtesy of Elena Iuga]

Marion Tauschwitz – Author of the Year 2015


Autorinnenvereinigung e.V.: Die Autorin Marion Tauschwitz, bekannt durch Bücher wie ,,Hilde Domin – Dass ich sein kann wie ich bin‘‘ oder ihr neustes Werk ‚‘‘Selma Merbaum – ich habe keine Zeit gehabt zuende zu schreiben‘‘, welches schon jetzt zur Weltliteratur zählt, wurde von der Autorinnenvereinigung einstimmig zur Autorin des Jahres 2015 gekürt. „ Als Autorin verkörpert Marion Tauschwitz das, was die Autorinnenvereinigung von ihren Mitgliedern erwartet: Engagement, nicht nur beim Schreiben sondern auch im Alltag, im Politischen“, erklärt Ute Hacker die Entscheidung des AV-Vorstands. Tauschwitz, geboren 1953 in Freiberg, studierte Germanistik und Anglistik in Heidelberg, wo sie bis heute lebt und arbeitet. Bevor ihre Karriere als Autorin & Schriftstellerin begann, arbeitete sie unter anderem als Gymnasiallehrerin und Dozentin. Als engste Vertraute und Mitarbeiterin der Lyrikerin Hilde Domin war Tauschwitz in der Lage, eine vielbeachtete Biografie über sie zu schreiben. Ihre neueste und sehr bewegende Biografie über die ukrainische Dichterin Selma Merbaum, die mit nur 18 Jahren in einem deutschen Zwangsarbeitslager ums Leben kam, wurde durch jahrelange Recherche zu einer spannenden, wissenschaftlich fundierten Biografie. Darüber hinaus schreibt Tauschwitz sowohl Novellen wie auch Essays. Seit geraumer Zeit ist Marion Tauschwitz Mitglied in der Autorinnenvereinigung e.V., von der sie jetzt einstimmig zur Autorin des Jahres 2015 ernannt wurde. Das internationale Netzwerk für deutschsprachige Autorinnen und Schriftstellerinnen aus verschiedenen Genres setzt sich für mehr weibliche Präsenz in der Literatur ein. Die Mitglieder geben öffentliche Lesungen und halten Vorträge zu literarischen Themen. Überdies veranstaltet die AV jährlich den Goldstaub-Wettbewerb in den Genres Lyrik und Prosa, vergibt Projektstipendien und kürt die Autorin des Jahres, um nur ein paar ihrer Schaffensfelder zu nennen. Für diesen Anerkennungspreis werden jährlich viele Autorinnen und Schriftstellerinnen, basierend auf ihren herausragenden Leistungen nominiert. So erging es Marion Tauschwitz. Marion Pelny, ebenfalls Autorin und Beirätin der Autorinnenvereinigung, schlug sie nicht nur wegen ihrer bemerkenswerten Veröffentlichungen, sondern auch wegen des damit verbundenen politischen Engagements vor. Der Vorstand stimmte dem voll und ganz zu und wählte Marion Tauschwitz einstimmig. Die offizielle Vorstellung und Preisverleihung wird im Rahmen der Jahrestagung der Autorinnenvereinigung e.V. am 24. Oktober in Göttingen stattfinden.