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UNC Asheville Recalls Jewish Cultural Renaissance of Germany’s Interwar Years

ASHEVILLE NC – Professor and scholar of Jewish history Michael Brenner will present Why Weimar? at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30 in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center. Brenner will explore the dramatic explosion of long suppressed creativity from within Germany’s small Jewish population that took place between the end of World War I and the rise of Hitler.

Brenner’s lecture kicks off the yearlong Evenings at the Cabaret Weimar series, exploring Germany’s tumultuous experiment with democracy during the Weimar era. The period was marked by modernist innovations in the arts, theater, architecture, literature and science, and by a vibrant cabaret culture.

Brenner is the Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies and directs American University’s Center for Israel Studies. He is also professor of Jewish history and culture at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, and has had visiting appointments at numerous universities. His many books include The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany (Yale University Press, 1998), and a volume he co-edited with Gideon Reuveni, Emancipation through Muscles: Jews and Sports in Europe (University of Nebraska Press, 2006).

Upcoming events in the Evenings at the Cabaret Weimar series will include film screenings, musical performances and lectures:

  • October 14: Meet Mack the Knife. Scholar Naomi Graber and piano and voice duo Vance Reese and Amanda Horton will present an evening of the music of Kurt Weill, a leading composer for musical theater in Berlin.
  • October 28: Is There A Jewish Architecture? Israeli filmmaker Duki Dror presents his award-winning 2012 documentary film, Incessant Vision, an exploration of European architect Erich Mendelsohn’s lyrical modernist designs.
  • April 7: Einstein in Berlin. Professor Peter Fenves recounts Albert Einstein’s revolutionary theories of the universe and his role as a social activist denouncing German militarism and advocating for a Jewish homeland.
  • April 21: The Poet of Crossing Boundaries. Professor of European Studies Markus Hallensleben explores the avant-garde poetry, prose and drama of Else Lasker-Schüler—one of the few women affiliated with the Expressionist movement.
  • April 28: Martin Buber: Jewish Existentialist. Theologian Claire Sufrin discusses the work of philosopher Martin Buber, who started an adult academy for modern Jewish learning in Frankfurt, Germany, and also translated the Hebrew Bible into a highly original German idiom.

This series is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies and OLLI (the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). For more information, contact the Center for Jewish Studies at 828.232.5027, or OLLI at 828.251.6140.

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