Dear Reader, dear Collegues,
in this Newsletter you will find a letter from PCCA chairperson Veronika Grueneisen,
Shmuel Erlich, the Director of the last conference in Kliczkow, Poland, gives his report,
Hermann Beland describes the developmental process towards a conference in Norway,
we have two more contibutions from Cyprus conference members
and recommend to watch the two films "The promise" and "The Flat".
"The Promise" -German title "Gelobtes Land" - to which Fakhry Davids has drawn our attention, is a painful film. Through the eyes of a British soldier who liberated a KZ (Bergen-Belsen) and later served in the British Army in Palestine, we learn about the complexity of the situation for all parties involved and the catastrophic consequences for both Palestinians and Jews/Israelis.
" The Flat" could well be a film about our main issue, the past in the present.
Again I would like to invite you to write about your conference experiences, now probably mainly about Kliczkow, in our Newsletter. We are all aware that these contributions are very personal but worthwile sharing with all members of our conferences and inviting for a further discussion. Please send it to me as the editor of the NL. My e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the first Nazareth Conference in 1994, things in the world have changed a lot. Then, it was one year after Oslo. Rabin’s policy represented hope and moving on for many inside and outside Israel. The conferences focussed on the split between victims and perpetrators.
Nowadays, no peace is in sight, in the Middle East. The occupation in the Westbank is ongoing. The situation in Gaza after the war in 2009 has become more desperate. Refugees from Africa have come to Israel and are living in camps – similar to refugees trying to come to Europe.
This conference has its own background and developmental stages. On one hand, it is part of a series, variously named "The Nazareth Conferences" or "The Past in the Present". On the other hand, it represents a significant shift in aim, scope and venue. The tension between these poles, of continuity and innovation, proved a central dynamic in this conference and expressed itself in a number of ways.
The idea for the German-Norwegian Conf. is founded in the assumption, that traumatic memories from the Shoah and the German occupation in hundreds of thousands of people were not met so far, shared and acknowledged/understood, but are still influential in the unconscious of society. Norway seemed to be more accessible from all other neighbor-countries of Germany for such a risky attempt.
At my first conference in 2008 I found myself avoiding the Germans. Being a German who had lived in the united states for many years I felt most comfortable to speak English and I did not want to have anything to do with the Germans, who seemed to me so silent, subdued and understanding everybody so well - avoiding conflict in any ways. I did not want to mingle with them- which was of course, a part of the self hatred within me- not wanting to identify myself with being a German.
There's a curfew in the occupied territories. A voluntary curfew. No one is entering or coming out. The one who goes out is a traitor; the one who comes in is being thrown. All the conditions for a meeting exist – there's a place, there is time, there's a goal, maybe there is a will, yet it doesn't happen.
German title "Gelobtes Land".
German title "Die Wohnung". In German cinemas.