16 March 2015 Published in News

Report about reading and discussion: How much Heimat does a human being need?

Photo of  Jean Améry courtesy of Klett-Cotta
Photo of Jean Améry courtesy of Klett-Cotta

A further event entitled 'How much Heimat does a human being need?' - complementary to the exhibition 'Is that a human being?' - took place in Rexingen on March 1st. The artist K.H. Schmeißer was present. Peter Binder, radio presenter from Südwest Rundfunk, read extracts from all five essays in Jean Améry's mercilessly honest book  Beyond Guilt and Atonement . The tangible quality of Améry's descriptions led the listeners through the horrors of the Holocaust, from its inception with the anti-Semitic laws of 1935 to its catastrophic culmination in the extermination camps. 

The essay entitled 'How much Heimat does one need?' communicated the lonely predicament of those arbitrarily branded as enemies and banished into inner and literal exile. As Améry comments: "Only those who have a Heimat can maintain that they don't need it"! After the reading, a discussion took place between Michael Theurer, Member of the European Parliament, and Professor Karl-Josef Kuschel, author and theologian. Their reflections on Améry's work and on KH Schmeißer's paintings, gave the listeners much to think about. The event was very well attended and all present left the room with a sense of the urgency of the subject at a time when anti-semitism is once again raising its ugly head.