Die Frau meines Lebens – The Woman of My Life

Susanna Piontek

Die Frau meines Lebens

Wieder ein Blick auf die Uhr. Noch zwölf Minuten. Mein Hals ist trocken, die Hände steif vor Kälte. Wie Eiszapfen fühlen sich meine Finger an, die Haut ist bläulich. Ich friere und schwitze gleichzeitig. Im Zugabteil ist es warm, der ältere Herr mir gegenüber trägt zu der dünnen Khaki-Hose nur ein kurzärmliges kariertes Hemd. Die stark behaarten Arme hat er vor der Brust verschränkt, der eiförmige Kopf ist leicht zur Seite geneigt…

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The Woman of My Life

Another quick glance at my watch. Twelve minutes to go. My throat is dry. I feel cold, then hot. Sweaty palms. The train compartment is too warm; the elderly man sitting opposite me is wearing just a short-sleeved checkered shirt with thin khaki pants. His hairy arms are crossed over his chest; his egg-shaped head slightly tilted to one side…

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Joint Presentation in Farmington

shapeimage_2Here’s another event to mark in your calendars:

On Wednesday, March 14 at 7:00pm I will present with Guy as part of the Lifelong Learning Forum poems and stories. Here’s the announcement from the Universalist Unitarian Church of Farmington website:

Fiction and Fact: Stories and Reality about the Holocaust. Our presenters will compare the topic through poem lyrics and stories with the actual accounts told to Dr. Stern while working at various positions at the Holocaust museum. Presenters: Dr. Stern has lectured and written on survivor experiences and the wisdom which Jewish scriptures attribute to older persons. Susanna Piontek has dealt with the Holocaust through her short stories and poems.

Another Announcement for Joint Reading

shapeimage_2-2Mark your Calendars!
Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Bird Library, Peter Graham Scholarly Commons
Syracuse University Humanities Center

German author and scholar present joint reading on Holocaust memories in literature, March 6 at SU
Susanna Piontek and Guy Stern will examine translation and fictionalization of actual memories
Feb 21, 2013 | Article by: Rob Enslin

susanna_piontek
Susanna Piontek

The literary representation of Holocaust memories will be the subject of a presentation by the husband-and-wife team of Susanna Piontek and Guy Stern in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The program, “Remembering the Holocaust Through Fiction and Facts,” is on Wednesday, March 6, at 5:30 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons of Bird Library. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Karina von Tippelskirch at 315-443-5383 or kvontipp@syr.edu.

Described as a reading interwoven with conversations about Piontek’s and Stern’s work, the program will address issues of translation and fictionalization of actual memories.

“It will mark the culmination of the couple’s visit to campus,” says von Tippelskirch, assistant professor of German and coordinator of the German language program in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (LLL). “Guy Stern is a leading expert of German Jewish and exile literature and, as an emigrant, has dedicated his life to teaching and scholarly research of these subjects. In turn, Susanna Piontek has always been interested in Jewish tradition, literature, music, and history. Many of her stories deal with problems of Jewish life in post-war Germany and Israel.”

During the program, Piontek will read from her English-language short-story collection, “Have We Possibly Met Before?” (Culicidae Press, 2012).

Born in Poland, Piontek immigrated to Germany, before settling permanently in the United States as a freelance writer. “Have We Possibly Met Before?” originated in 2005 as a collection of stories published in German. Stern, who translated the book and wrote the preface, calls Piontek’s literary perspective “refreshingly realistic.”

“With unflinching exactness, she describes everyday life situations we all know very well,” he writes. “In a certain way, we walk into her stories like guests into a living room, but only to realize that things are not as they seem, and that we will never get what we want.”

Piontek earned a master’s degree from Bochum University (Germany), where she studied language pedagogy, history, and American studies and then trained in broadcast editing. While working at a radio station, Piontek began jotting down poems and short stories, which have been published and anthologized throughout North America and Europe.

Guy Stern
Stern is director of The Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous—the nation’s first freestanding museum dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust—in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He also co-founded the country’s first Lessing Society at the University of Cincinnati, serving as society president from 1975-77. Stern has written and edited numerous books on German literary history, including “Fielding, Wieland, Goethe, and the Rise of the Novel” (Peter Lang GmbH, 2004); “Literature and Culture in Exile” (Dresden University Press 1998); and “War, Weimar, and Literature: The Story of the Neue Merkur, 1914-25” (Penn State University Press, 1971).

Born into an assimilated Jewish family in Germany, Stern escaped to the United States in 1937. (He later found out his parents were murdered at the Treblinka extermination camp in Poland, after being deported to the Warsaw Ghetto.) Following World War II, Stern embarked on an illustrious academic career that included positions at Wayne State and Denison universities and at the universities of Maryland and Cincinnati. Stern is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Goethe Medal.

“Remembering the Holocaust” is organized and presented by the German language program, with support from LLL; The SU Humanities Center; the Judaic Studies Program; the School of Education’s Regional Holocaust and Genocide Initiative: “Resistance, Resilience, and Responsibility”; and the German Consulate General in New York.

LLL is the largest department in The College’s humanities division, serving more than 6,000 graduates and undergraduates a year. The department provides instruction in 21 languages and offers nine bachelor’s and three master’s degree programs. More information is at lang.syr.edu.

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Contact Information
Rob Enslin
rmenslin@syr.edu
315-443-3403

Joint Reading at Humanities Center

shapeimage_2-3Mark your Calendars!
Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Bird Library, Peter Graham Scholarly Commons
Syracuse University Humanities Center

For more information click on the title below, or the image on the left…

Remembering the Holocaust Through Fiction and Facts: Joint Reading by Susanna Piontek and Guy Stern

Guy Stern, leading international scholar on exile from Germany and Europe during the Third Reich and on the Holocaust, an emigrant and survivor himself, has dedicated his life as a scholar to German and German-Jewish literature. Throughout his career he focused on the memory of those who had to flee from persecution and on the memory of those, who could not and perished. Among his numerous books are Nelly Sachs: Selected Poems; War, Weimar and Literature: The Story of the “Neue Merkur” 1914-1925; Literature and Culture in Exile; and Nazi Book Burning and the American Response. Together with Rebecca Swindler, he edited in 2008 the proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Altruism, titled The Rewards of Raising Righteous Children.

Susanna Piontek has always been interested in Jewish tradition, literature, music, and of course history. Writing short stories on a wide variety of topics, she also described problems of Jewish life in post war Germany and Israel. This interest intensified upon meeting her husband to be in 2004 who was not only a Holocaust survivor but also is working at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The two authors will engage in a dialogue about their encounters, how to communicate with each other and with their German and American audiences. One particular mode of discourse is translation, a means not restricted to Guy Stern’s translation of Piontek’s prose, but also a metaphor for fictional accounting. Remembrance and representation are at the heart of the joint reading, which will be the high point of a series of events around Guy Stern’s and Susanna Piontek’s visit to Syracuse University.

Contact Information:
Karina von Tippelskirch
kvontipp@syr.edu
315-443-5383

International Day of Slow Motion

shapeimage_1-8International Slow Motion Day

Dear friends,
Last year I declared October 8th as International Slow Motion Day©. Some of my friends told me how much they liked the idea and how they put it into action. It has to do with slowing down, to pause and to be attentive.

The idea is simple: Everybody who likes it, should, as often as he/she thinks of it on Oct. 8th, carry out some of his/her activities in slow motion – e.g. lathering when taking your shower in the morning, going from one room to the other, preparing a meal and/or eating, brushing your teeth and much more. Set no bounds to your imagination!

It is important that you don’t engage in those activities perfunctorily and absentmindedly. It is Slow Motion Day – so act with total awareness and concentration.

If that idea appeals to you, please forward this message to all those who might like to slow down a bit on October 8th.

With best regards from Michigan,

Susanna Piontek

www.susannapiontek.net