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Symposium: The Legacy of Ruth Kluger

Event Information


Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies 758 N Pleasant Street Amherst, MA 01002

Date & Time

Nov 15, 2022 | 7:00 pm Nov 16, 2022 | 11:00 am

Contact Name

Jonathan Skolnik


Event Website

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RUTH KLÜGER screenshot

An International Symposium, to be held November 15-16, 2022, at the IHGMS of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (758 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA, 01002 – please park in the UMass lot across the street (lot 43), not in IHGMS driveway).

Organizers:  Jonathan Skolnik (UMass Amherst) and Mark H. Gelber (Ben-Gurion University)

Co-Sponsors: UMass Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies; Austrian Cultural Forum; UMass Program in German and Scandinavian Studies; UMass Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; UMass Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. 



Tuesday, November 15, 2022, 7:00pm at the IHGMS – screening of the film Landscapes of Memories: The Life of Ruth Kluger [Original title: Das Weiterleben der Ruth Klüger, 2011 (85 min.], followed by a conversation with director Renata Schmidtkunz and Ruth Kluger’s sons, Percy Angress and Dan Angress, moderated by Jonathan Skolnik.  


Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at the IHGMS –

11am – opening remarks by Alon Confino (IGHMS); Jonathan Skolnik (UMass); Percy Angress and Dan Angress (Ruth Klüger’s sons); Manuela Gerlof (De Gruyter Press)

11:30am – keynote address by Sander Gilman (Emory University) 

[12:30pm break] 

1:30pm – keynote address by Irene Kacandes (Dartmouth College) 

2:30pm – keynote address by Mark Gelber (Ben-Gurion University)

[coffee break]

4:00pm – panel discussion of the new volume of essays, entitled The Legacy of Ruth Klüger and the End of the Auschwitz Century (edited by Mark H. Gelber, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2022). 

Panelists: Karolin Machtans (Connecticut College); Karen Remmler (Mount Holyoke College); and Raphael Sigal (Amherst College). Moderated by Jonathan Skolnik. 

 (Conclusion by 6pm)


On the occasion of the publication of a new volume of essays, entitled The Legacy of Ruth Klüger and the End of the Auschwitz Century (edited by Mark H. Gelber, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2022), a one-day International Symposium to be held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst will honor the memory of Ruth Klüger -- Holocaust survivor, scholar, teacher, author, essayist, poet, and feminist. The lecturers will take this opportunity to assess her role in, and specific contribution to, several discussions concerning fields and perspectives which her writings and career helped to bring into focus critically. These include:  the child survivor, forced labor, poetry during and after the Shoa, scholarly autobiography of the Shoa, critique of the memory culture of the Shoa, feminist perspectives and the feminist contribution to Holocaust historiography, beginning anew after the Shoa and far from Europe, the end (or nearing the end) of the Auschwitz century, among others.  

Ruth Klüger (1931 – 2020) passed away on October 5, 2020 in the U.S.  Born in Vienna and deported to Theresienstadt as a child, she survived Auschwitz and the Shoa together with her mother. After living in Germany for a short time after the War, she immigrated to New York. She was educated in the U.S. and received degrees in English literature as well as her Ph.D. in German literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She taught at several American universities, including Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, the University of Kansas, the University of Virginia, University of California, Irvine, and Princeton University. She finished her distinguished academic career at the University of California, Irvine. She has numerous scholarly publications to her credit, mostly in the fields of German and Austrian literary history. She is also recognized as a poet in her own right, an essayist, and a feminist critic. She returned to Europe, where she was a guest professor in Göttingen and Vienna. Her memoir, entitled weiter leben (1992), was a major bestseller and highly regarded autobiographical account, which was subsequently translated into more than a dozen languages. It has also generated a vigorous critical discussion in its own right. Ruth Klüger received numerous prestigious literary prizes and other distinctions. In 2022, the city of Vienna officially named a square in the neighborhood where she grew up “Ruth Klueger -Platz.” 

For more information, contact the co-organizer Jonathan Skolnik