The AGS web presence

April 28, 2010

For some time now, we have had difficulty accessing the AGS website, still under the old address at, in order to maintain and update it. To solve this problem, we are planning to move the site to a new URL which will also reflect the association’s recent name change. Until then, members of the AGS can still consult this blog for the latest news from the Association. We hope that the migration of the site to the new URL will take place over the summer.

Blurring the Lines: Ilija Trojanow as Traveller, Essayist, Novelist

April 22, 2010

A conference on the work of Ilija Trojanow will take place at Swansea University, 6-7 May 2010

Ilija Trojanow

Ilija Trojanow, who lives in Vienna, has established himself in recent years as a major new voice in the German-speaking literary world. His best-selling Der Weltensammler uses humour and irony to interrogate Orientalist narratives of the West’s engagement with the cultures of Africa, India, and Arabia. He is also an accomplished travel writer and polemical essayist. The conference is organised by Professor Julian Preece


Thursday, 6 May 19.30: Reading in Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea (tickets from DTC: £4 or £2.80 concessions)

Friday, 7 May

Symposium Blurring the Lines: Ilija Trojanow as Traveller, Essayist, and Novelist

The Council Chamber, Singleton Abbey, Swansea University

11.00: Ilija Trojanow im Gespräch (in German)

12.00: Olaf Berwald (University of North Dakota), Philosophical Topoi and Narrative Technique in Trojanow’s first novel, Die Welt ist groß und Rettung lauert überall

1-2.00: Lunch

2.00: Cornelius Partsch (University of Western Washington), Dead End: Ilija Trojanow’s Autopol as Critical Dystopia

2.45: Caitríona Ní Dhúill (Durham), Der Weltensammler as Fictional Biography

3.30: Tea 3.45: Ben Morgan (Worcestor College, Oxford), Religion

4.30: Ernest Schonfield (King’s College, London), Der Weltensammler: On the road to Mecca with Trojanow and Burton

5.15: Julian Preece (Swansea), From Kisch to Kapuscinksi: Trojanow and the European Tradition of Reportage

Supported by The Austrian Cultural Forum

Yr Academi Gymreig

Dylan Thomas Centre

Swansea Swansea University Centre for Contemporary German Culture

Swansea Research Institute for the Arts and Humanities

New Book: Jewish Refugees from Germany and Austria in Britain 1933-1970

April 22, 2010

Jewish Refugees from Germany and Austria in Britain 1933-1970
Their image in AJR Information

by Anthony Grenville

* First historical study of the Jewish refugees from Hitler in Britain
* In-depth analysis of the arrival and settlement of the Jewish refugees, 1933-1970
* Based on systematic research in the refugees’ own publication, AJR Information
* Detailed account of the identity and culture of the refugee community

Between 1933 and the outbreak of war in 1939, over 60,000 Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia fled to Britain, and some 50,000 settled there. As yet no historical study of this group of immigrants exists, though they form one of the most high profile groups of refugees to have come to Britain in the twentieth century, both as survivors of the Nazi terror and as high-achieving contributors to British society. Grenville gives a detailed account of the first quarter-century of their settlement in Britain, from 1945 to 1970. He covers new ground by drawing on a rich source of contemporary material, the previously untapped monthly journal of the Association of Jewish Refugees, AJR Information, which started in January 1946. The journal is the only contemporary source that provides material for a full-scale history of these refugees: when they established themselves permanently in Britain, how they adapted to British society and developed their distinctive ‘Continental’ identity and culture that characterized them in their adopted homeland. After describing the arrival of the refugees and their experience of the Second World War, Grenville analyses such areas as relations between the refugees and the British, the development of a refugee identity, refugee culture, the economic and professional profile of the refugee community, and home- and family-building, within the historical context of post-war austerity, the consumer prosperity of the 1950s and the social changes of the 1960s.

978 0 85303 842 9 cloth £45.00
978 0 85303 852 8 paper £19.95

‘Downfall’ spoofs to be banned on Youtube

April 21, 2010

The Guardian reports that Constantin film is attempting to have the many spoofs of ‘Der Untergang’ (‘Downfall’) removed from the Youtube video sharing site. Apparently, at least 68 versions of Hitler’s rant against his generals have now been given joke subtitles in English.

Assessing the Year Abroad

April 12, 2010

Gabriela Meier of the University of Bath has organised a day conference on assessing the year abroad that will be of interest to HE teachers of German. Further details can be found at:

Think German

April 12, 2010

‘Think German’, a new initiative to promote the learning of German, has been launched by the German Embassy in London, the Goethe Institut, UK-German Connection and the DAAD.

For further details, including a calendar of events, see the website at

‘What’s so funny about German?’

April 10, 2010

Stand-up comedian, Henning Wehn, takes a humorous look at the German language in ten short videos from the BBC:

Henning is also touring a show on German humour – see his website at

“Critic Meets Critic”

April 9, 2010
The Goethe Institut (London) in Collaboration with the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations (Queen Mary, University of London), invite you to:

“Critic Meets Critic”

Christoph Bartmann in conversation with Erica Wagner

Thursday, 6 May 2010, 7pm
Goethe-Institut London, 50 Princes Gate,
Exhibition Road, London SW7 2PH
Tickets £ 3
Booking: +44 20 75964000

This new series brings leading British and German literary critics together to look at the practice of literary criticism and answer questions such as: Are there thematic overlaps between British and German language literatures? What is the place of literature in the context of cultural globalisation and the digital age?

Moderated by Professor Ruediger Goerner.

Further information at:

Organised in collaboration with the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations, Queen Mary, University of London.

Defeat or Liberation? Forum for East German Studies

April 7, 2010

Defeat or Liberation – 1945 in Film

7 May 2010: Forum for East German Studies

On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of 1945, the Centre for East German Studies, University of Reading, cordially invites everyone interested to a one-day research forum on the depiction of the end of World War II and its immediate aftermath in European feature film. The forum will take East German war films as its point of departure for a broad discussion on influences and points of contact between approaches to the topic on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The morning session of the forum will therefore present papers on important East German war films while the afternoon session will introduce films from other national cinemas such as Poland, Italy, America, and Great Britain and discuss their view on the events.

The forum will take place on

Friday 7 May 2010

10.30 am in URS 2s12, Whiteknights Campus



Patrick Major (Reading) ‘Die Abenteuer des Werner Holt’ (1965)


Sean Allan (Warwick) War and its Others. Germans as Victims in Konrad Wolf’s ‘Ich war 19’ (1968)


Beatrice Heuser/ Cyril Buffet (Reading) Political Lessons derived from History: How the Cinema of the GDR represented Wars.


Richard McKenzie (Reading) European Images of Defeat in the immediate post war Period


Jennifer Smyth (Warwick) Fred Zinnemann: War and Resistance


Richard Bosworth (Reading) ‘Rome: Open City’ (1945)

3.00 pm

Chris Wagstaff (Reading) ‘Ashes and Diamonds’ (1958)

For further information please contact Dr Ute Wölfel

Bertolt Brecht on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Great Lives’

April 7, 2010

Mathew Parris is back with BBC Radio Four’s acclaimed biography series ‘Great Lives’, in which celebrated people of today nominate a great life from the past to explore and discuss.

The series begins with playwright John Godber’s choice of his literary hero and inspiration, Bertolt Brecht. Both writers have in common an instinct and desire for truly popular theatre which has the power to change fundamentally the perspective of its audiences. And who else could bring the spectacle of the sports stadium into the theatre auditorium?

Specialist in German drama, Professor Michael Patterson, joins the debate to counter the widespread view that ‘if it’s German and political it must be boring’. Brecht’s own productions were immensely lively and popular and his theatrical legacy, although eschewed by Hollywood devotees of naturalism, stands firm in the work of many of today’s greatest writers. We also learn the truth about allegations of Brecht plundering the genius of his many lovers, and how he made love with his socks on.