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"Racist Killings and Mourning Songs" Reading and Discussion with German-Jewish Writer Esther Dischereit

Date: 10/08/2013

Time: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Location: 125 (Library) Nolte Center for Continuing Education

Cost: Free


Esther Dischereit is one of the most exciting writers and thought-provoking public intellectuals in Germany today. Her poems, novels, essays, films, plays, and radio plays, and her opera libretti and sound installations offer unique insights into Jewish life in contemporary Europe. Dischereit, who was born into a survivor’s family, is an artist of the Second Generation, who analyzes power relationships surrounding the body, femininity, expressions of minorities, and the different functions and forms of remembrance, ritual, and memory. Dischereit often initiates cross art projects for which she collaborates with composers, musicians, dancers and graphic art designers.

Recently, the discovery of 10 years of racist killings by the "National Socialist Underground" (NSU), a neo-Nazi underground guerilla organization, has shocked the German public. Dischereit has since become the most important independent voice for the public, extensively covering the legal and political investigations of this unprecedented crime in post-war Germany involving police, secret service, politicians and state officials. Unlike standard media coverage Dischereit wants to let the voices of the victims and their families be heard. The Mourning Songs tell each story of a murder from the families’ unique and painful perspective and memory, and challenge racism and xenophobia wherever it is to be found; out on the streets or inside official state institutions. Dischereit, who conducted countless interviews with the victims’ families, voices her perspective of telling and mourning for the victims of various ethnic backgrounds. The Mourning Songs is one part of Dischereits’ unique libretto project “Mourning Songs – Flowers for Otello: On the Crime of Jena” which has just been produced for the German radio by Deutschlandradio Kultur.

Please join us for the reading (in German, English, and Turkish) and discussion (English) of this unique, critical, and contemporary work, and meet Esther Dischereit and the translator Iain Galbraith!

Information on Esther Dischereit is available from The Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia on Jewish Women.

Image copyright: Bettina Straub 


  • Name: Amanda Haugen
  • E-mail: gsd@umn.edu
  • Phone: 612-625-2080
  • Sponsored by: German, Scandinavian & Dutch, Jewish Studies, Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Austrian Studies, German and European Studies Center

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact Amanda Haugen; German, Scandinavian & Dutch; gsd@umn.edu; 612-625-2080.

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