Being Jewish in Deutschland
Oko nigdy nie śpie Festival Bydgoszcz, Poland August 12, 2023
I performed this text in the ruins of a German Weapons and Explosives factory from World War II
When I was young and living in England I studied German philosophy, now nobody in their right minds studies German philosophy in the English translation. Impossible. Heidegger comes out like this -The nothingness nothings, and truly that means absolutely nothing in English. Hegel is no better – the thing in itself, by itself, on itself for itself – endlessly meaningless. Opaque, empty and slightly menacing. But I was determined to understand who the Germans were in order to be able to understand what the Germans did. A totally hopeless enterprise, doomed to failure from the first second, but when you are young you think that everything is possible…
Strangely I haven’t spent my life trying to discover who I am ,but where I am…
Every day I walk through the same German cemetery with my dog. It’s next to my house in Bonn. I know almost all the names of those who lie there. Of course I ask myself and them what were you doing between 1933 and 1945? There’s a family grave of the Scharpenseels, all 3 of the men buried there are called Adolf, including one born on 6.12.1945 – 6 months after the end of the war. Thats the kind of thing that I notice but others don’t. Will I one day lie next to them? It’s a Christian cemetery and I won’t be buried there, but the soil of the Jewish cemetery in Cologne is still German.Will I lie for all eternity under German soil? My parents and sister are buried close to London where I come from, but I haven’t lived there for more than half a century. It’s difficult enough to know where you belong when you’re alive but how does that work when you’re dead ?