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Howard Louthan, incoming Director of the Center for Austrian Studies, has arrived and is settling in here in Minnesota. We are looking forward to a dynamic season with him at the helm, and many seasons to follow.
In addition to welcoming new CAS Director, Howard Louthan, we have some exciting programming on the calendar for Fall semester. Check out our Calendar for full Fall events.
Sunday, September 13, to follow 2:00PM matinee performance
Lisa Peschel (theatre history, University of York) will present a talk about the challenges of translating Jewish humor in the Terezín Ghetto for modern audiences following a Sunday matinee performance of WHY WE LAUGH at Open Eye Theatre, Minneapolis.
WHY WE LAUGH is a new adaptation of Laugh with Us!, an original cabaret by Felix Porges, Vítězslav Horpatzky, Pavel Weisskopf and Pavel Stránský, written and performed in 1944 in the World War II Jewish Ghetto at Terezín, just 40 miles northwest of Prague (English translation & dramaturgy by Lisa Peschel). Dr. Lisa Peschel, the scholar who discovered the cabaret texts and translated them into English (they are collected in the book Performing Captivity, Performing Escape) will deliver a brief talk after the performance on Sunday, September 13. Entitled Translating Terezin, it will be the story of Peschel’s search for the meaning of the text—how, with the aid of survivors she cracked the code of the slang and inside jokes to capture the prisoners’ unique, resilient sense of humor. A question and answer period will follow. The cabaret, complete with its original sheet music, came to light in the spring of 2005 in two separate family archives. The original cabaret is set in a postwar Prague identical to the beloved city the Czech Jews remembered from the late 1930s. In playwright Kira Obolensky’s new adaptation, characters based on the original Terezín performers encounter “the scholar,” a theater historian from our present. As the performers look forward to the postwar future and the scholar looks back toward their past, they confront each other with difficult questions: Why did the Terezín prisoners laugh, and what does that laughter mean to us today?
For more information please visit Fortune's Fool Theatre.
Wednesday, September 16, 4:00 PM, 710 Social Sciences (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, West Bank)
Benjamin Frommer (history, Northwestern University) will present a talk about the fate of intermarried Jewish-Gentile families in the Germany occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during the Second World War. Intermarried Jews and their progeny formed a special category in the lands ruled by the Nazis. On the one hand, many who had married Gentiles and even converted to Christianity found themselves forcibly recategorized as Jews and subject to antisemitic persecution and the threat of arrest. On the other hand, the intermarried had stronger ties to the majority communities, were exempted from certain restrictions and some deportations, and ultimately survived the war in far greater numbers than endogamous Jews. In time, as Nazi Germany deported more and more Jews to concentration camps and ghettos, intermarried Jews and their progeny increasingly became the “last Jews” alive in the Protectorate.
Thursday, September 24, 4:00 PM, 1210 Heller Hall (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, West Bank)
...dann bin ich ja ein Mörder! (70 min), a film created by Professor Walter Manoschek together with his students at the University of Vienna, the story of SS junior squad leader Adolf Storms, who has never been held account-able for the death of about sixty Hungarian Jewish forced laborers shot by three SS men in the village of Deutsch-Schützen in the Austrian province of Burgenland. In conversations with Storms, HJ leaders who were accessories of the crime, and Jews who survived the massacre, the crime is reconstructed and questions are asked about forgetting, repression and responsibility. The film had it's world premier at the Viennale Film Festival 2012, where it won the Prize of Recognition of the City of Vienna. A timely event with the recent trial of the former SS-man, Oskar Groening who served in Auschwitz and stood trial for war crimes.
Organized by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, with co-sponsorship by the Center for Austrian Studies.