Leading expert on Holocaust literature to discuss early German texts on camps

Numerous texts, written from 1945-49 by survivors, denounced by Germans

by Pamela Young, Published January 28, 2013

YPSILANTI - Until recently, most Holocaust scholars dismissed the belief that there were texts published in the early years following the Shoah (Holocaust) that described the horrors for a German audience.  They didn't realize there were hundreds of texts, written from 1945 to 1949 by survivors, material ignored and denounced by Germans.

Sascha Feuchert, a leading expert on Holocaust literature, will delve into the history of these texts and their reception in post-war Germany, when he presents, "When the Holocaust Did Not Have a Name: Early German Texts on the Camps 1945-1949," Sunday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m., Eastern Michigan University's Student Center Auditorium, 900 Oakwood, in Ypsilanti. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Sascha Feuchert, Honorary Professor in German at EMU, left, talks with students on a Study Abroad trip to Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Feuchert is co-founder and director of the Research Unit for Holocaust Literature at Justus-Liebig University (JLU) in Giessen, Germany, and Honorary Professor of German at Eastern Michigan University.

"We are thrilled that Professor Feuchert will be visiting Eastern Michigan," said Carla Damiano, professor of German at Eastern Michigan. "He is an internationally known expert on Holocaust literature who has taught, lectured and published extensively on this topic. The campus community will benefit greatly from his lecture and classroom visits.

"He'll have the opportunity to get acquainted with more administrators, colleagues and students. The possibilities afforded by his distinction as Honorary Professor of German at EMU goes to the core of what internationalization can truly become."

It is disturbing and exciting to see how these texts provide evidence about the horrors of the camps, and also of the time when these texts were published and ignored, says Marty Shichtman, professor of English and director of Eastern's Jewish Studies Program. The fact is Germans denounced these texts as "kitsch" or even worse, Shichtman says.

Feuchert has won numerous awards for his research. He was recently named vice president of the German PEN-Club, an association of writers that emphasizes the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture and the fight for freedom of expression.

As Honorary Professor, Feuchert has taught EMU students during the study abroad trip, "Representing the Holocaust," and will teach one class in EMU's course, "Culture and the Holocaust." He also is the academic adviser for EMU students when they attend JLU for up to two semesters.

He earned his doctoral degree in German literature, English literature and pedagogy in 2003 from Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.

The event is sponsored by the Eastern Michigan University Jewish Studies Program in collaboration with the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus in Farmington Hills, Mich.

For more information, contact the Jewish Studies Program at jewish.studies@emich.edu




Pamela Young

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