Last week, Ruth Klüger, retired professor of German Studies, writer, witness to and survivor of the Holocaust, has visited Agnes Scott College. I’ve been too busy catching up with administrative work to post this earlier, but I wanted to thank everyone involved in Ruth Klüger’s visit. Ari Strudler, energetic and multi-talented ASC sophomore was a forceful engine behind the entire effort; Hiram Ramirez from the ASC Center for Student Engagement was on top of the logistics; Profs. Christine Cozzens (English), Barbara Drescher (German Studies), Katharine Kennedy (History), and Nicole Stamant (English) for integrating Ruth Klüger’s book “weiter leben [Still Alive]” into their curricula; ASC president Elizabeth Kiss for delivering such a great introduction for Ruth Klüger.
The highlight of Ruth Klüger’s visit was the screening of Renata Schmidtkunz’ documentary “Landscapes of Memory,” followed by a discussion with Klüger. This event drew approx. 200 people into Agnes Scott’s Lower Evans Dining Hall. It was great to see so many students and faculty attending and asking questions.
The class visits, while happening in a much smaller setting, also offered great and memorable encounters. It was a real privilege to accompany R. Klüger into these courses in various disciplines, where students had read her memoir “Still Alive” from very different perspectives. Two courses focused more on the memoir as a genre and students asked questions about the process of remembering and transforming your memories into written language. In the German Studies course, students focused on the politics of memory on a European level, comparing Klüger’s texts with memoirs by other Holocaust survivors such as Anita Lasker-Walfisch. In the history course, “Still Alive” was read as part of a larger discussion of women’s roles in European history. Listening to the questions and answers was a great learning opportunity across the disciplines which by itself would have made Klüger’s visit worthwhile.