Dear Colleagues, dear Readers,
this newsletter is to inform you about
- as usual recent activities of PCCA. Veronika Grueneisen wrote in her role as chair person.
- papers given in a conference in Belgrade. Jona Rosenfeld, „The Persistence of Trauma“, Veronika Grueneisen „“On Being both a perpetrator and a Victim“.
- thinking of the forthcoming conference in Norway I came across an article in the German magazine „Der Spiegel“: How Jews of Denmark were saved.
- Mira Erlich-Ginor recommends a new book by the historian Yair Auron, professor at Haifa university. He is looking at the Holocaust and the Nakbah. At this moment this book is only available in Hebrew.
- 50 years ago a series of trials known as „Frankfurter Auschwitz Prozesse“ began. From 1963 – 1965 25 mid- to lower-level officials were prosecuted under German penal law for their roles in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death and concentration camp complex. Beside the Nuremberg Trials 1945/46 and the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem 1961 these criminal proceedings were crucial in confronting the Holocaust on a legal level. Because of the news coverage it was also for the first time that a wider part of the German society took notice of the atrocities comitted in Auschwitz. The court recorded the testimonies of several witnesses. These reports are now digitised and provided as audio and text files on www.auschwitz-prozess.de (in German only).
Letter of chairperson, Veronika Grueneisen
I am pleased to update you on the latest developments in PCCA, as you will see we are constantly reviewing our aims, the people we want to work with, and geographical areas. All this without losing our focus and the specificity of PCCA endeavour- to address the impact of national and international large group conflict which is experienced as insoluble.
Currently, PCCA is working towards having two conferences in 2014. This is the first time we venture to have two events in one year.
The Persistence of Trauma as an Opportunity, Jona M. Rosenfeld
The nature of this topic is not new to me. The idea of how to address it came to me while participating at the Kliczkow conference two years ago. There I was touched by how the vestiges of different sorts of past collective violence – namely wars and their aftermaths – often made it difficult for many of those who were there to benefit from what this kind of event offers.Moreover, as much as I was impressed by the work being done, I noticed every so often, that many of us were being numbed on many occasions. Since difficult things of the past take time to digest, to come to terms with. I was reminded of the title of the book written by Caitlin Thomas after the death of her husband, the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas: Leftover Life to Kill, an account of her brief escape to Sicily in order to digest what had been hard in their lives before and after his death.
On Being both a perpetrator and a Victim, Veronika Grueneisen
First of all, I want to express my warm gratitude to Marina Mojovic for inviting me to speak, at this conference. When I thought of what I might share with you, today, in a conference on “The Impact of Social Trauma onto Identity”, I realised that I need to speak to you about some of my personal history, as a German. I shall do this with the curiosity about the history you are bringing to this conference, and I hope that we shall be able to use our time together to deepen our under- standing both of ourselves and each other.
I was born in the last months before the end of WW II. Between the 2nd and 8th year of my life, I grew up in what became the German Democratic Republic, and from 1953 onwards in what used to be called West Berlin. Being German in the 2nd half of the 20th century up to today has meant being member of a nation which caused unbelievable suffering and death for millions of people, in and beyond Europe. Nazi Germany bombarded Spain, invaded Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Lybia, former Jugoslavia (including bombardement of Belgrade by the German Airforce), Greece, and finally Soviet Union.
Recommended book, Mira Erlich-Ginor
“The Holocaust the Rebirth and the Nakbah”
by Yair Auron. Resling publishing ltd. Tel-Aviv 2013
Prof. Yair Auron devotes his professional life as an historian to research and publish about genocides. It is an unpopular topic, anywhere, specifically so in Israel where several program for schools that Auron suggested where ruled out.
This, of course, is influenced by the politics of denial and the cynicism of colluding with denial in the service of political interests (e.g not recognizing the Armenian Holocaust)
In this recent book Auron breaks the Israeli taboo of not mentioning the Nakbah. He dares to tackle the explosive meeting point between the Shoa and the Nakbah from 1948 till today. His aim is to work toward a mutual recognition of the tragedy of the Other, as oppose to a competition of victimhood, as a sole way to bring to reconciliation.
This book is totally against the Zeitgeist which is the “Don’t Compare” stance , or the quest for the right to be the only recognized victim.
He does succeed in a beautiful way to present the two sides, the Israeli and the Palestinians in the same degree of thoroughness, fairness and compassion.
The book, at this point, is only in Hebrew but we wanted to recommend it to whoever can read in Hebrew and also bring its sheer existence to all of you: http://www.resling.co.il/book.asp?book_id=723
It seems that the “Tense Triangle”, PCCA had been working with since several years, may be a little bit more open than before, that there are some anti-denial process at work, though few.