March 4: Lev Raphael, "The Burden of Inherited History"

Lev Raphael

“The Burden of Inherited History: A Jewish Writer Returns to the World His Parents Escaped”

Tuesday, March 4, at 7:30 pm

Klingenstein Lounge

The lecture is free and open to the public

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the noted author Lev Raphael will visit Ithaca College to speak about overcoming the burden of inherited hatred, with his own life story as a prime example. He is the son of Holocaust survivors and the author of My Germany: A Jewish Writer Returns to the World His Parents Escaped. He will be doing a reading from his work at noon in the Handwerker Gallery and giving a public lecture at 7:30 pm, in the Klingenstein Lounge, entitled “The Burden of Inherited History: A Jewish Writer Returns to the World His Parents Escaped.”

A reviewer discusses how Lev came to write this book:

Germany was, Raphael says, “a country I had sworn never to visit . . . anywhere I turned in that country, I might face something that had belonged to a murdered relative.” But a book tour for his Holocaust-survivor novel The German Money (2003) took him there. Haunted by his mother’s experiences in a slave labor camp, he wondered whether forgiveness is possible. In this book, this question is illuminated by flashbacks of his parents’ experiences of the Holocaust. A photo of relatives in pre-war Vilna, “as much at ease as a Jew could be in Poland,” prompted musings about the Poles’ anti-Semitism, which leads to recollections of his mother’s desperate retreat in 1941 from the Polish-Soviet border to Vilna, where Germans were rounding up Jewish men for mass execution. Encompassing recollections of childhood with parents grimly silent on the defining experience of their lives and accounts of historic atrocities, Raphael’s chronicle of growth and self-discovery isn’t easy reading, but his hard-earned healing and freedom from a tortured past make it remarkably satisfying. –Whitney Scott

Lev Raphael’s visit to Ithaca College is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program at Ithaca College and is cosponsored by Hillel, the departments of History, English, Writing, Psychology, and Modern Languages, and the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services.

For more information, please contact Rebecca Lesses, Coordinator of Jewish Studies, at or (607) 274-3556. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Kim Wojtanik at or (607) 274-3409. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.

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