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  • Legends and Legacies from Denver to Berlin
  • Karen Margolis (bio) and Renée Ruderman (bio)

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dear Renée,

What a happy coincidence that Clare Kinberg put us in touch with each other.

To introduce myself: I was born in Zimbabwe to a family of conservative Jewish Baltic origin; spent my childhood in South Africa and London and studied mathematics before becoming a journalist and writer. I am a British citizen. Having lived in Berlin for nearly 30 years, I have often written about "being Jewish in Germany" and have also participated in several interviews, films etc. I am also actively involved in the anti-racist movement here and the fight against anti-Semitism.

You can find work of mine on the net at my website:

Looking forward to hearing from you, and best wishes for the festive season,

Karen Margolis

On 12/26/10 11:04 PM, Ruderman, Renée wrote:

Dear Karen,

It is a pleasure to have received an e-mail from you. You certainly have an international background. I took a look at your webpage, loved the humor in some of your poems. [End Page 143]

You can find a few poems, and information about me, by googling Renée Ruderman. How about if we converse through poems? Attached is one that came about as a result of my teaching in fall 2009 at the Unversität Siegen; I took a hike one weekend with a friend on the Rothaarstieg.

I have secular Jewish relatives, with whom I visited, in Bremen and Nuremberg. I made many discoveries in those two cities, about which I am writing. I visited Berlin and took a tour of the former and current Jewish sections of the city. I found the city incredibly vibrant, especially since my last visit was in 1964 as a very young high school student.

I am very concerned about the growing right-wing anti-immigrant movements, here and in Europe.

Am Rothaarsteig

Fog—and my friend's walking fastthrough a group of evergreenswhose tops are hung with clouds.I say, "I want to see a deer,"so we aim for a wooden barnnear a hunter's lookoutthat rises from the gloom.On the right we seeTyrolean hats, orange vests,men drinking from steaming cups.One shorthaired woman tells usthe deer are "verstecken,"but she says, with fiery eyes,there are a lot of them.

("Sind Viel.")

We walk between huts on wet grasstoward a meadow. Some men standin the rain, in the cold, looking down.I check the woods beyond for deer,when my friend asks, "Do you see the them?"And past the man with a rifle betweenhis thighs, I see a football-sizedfield filled with animal bodies,more than 30: deer and boar,their throats cut, red sproutingtiny carnations, lined up by size,large to small corpses in rows,their heads all facing us, eyes open, dark.Such a display, framed by stacksof evergreen branches, a green lace.I gasped.

Oh, the Germans, and their guns, [End Page 144] floods of flesh, of wounds.What had we stumbled upon:these torsos laid outlike pieces of a chess game,so they could study them,plan for the winter ahead.But the Jewish bodies they tossedinto mass graves, limbs limp,had to be quickly covered up.

E-mail from Karen to Renée, 27 Dec. 2010

Dear Renée,

Thanks so much for your mail. I've googled, and read a little about your work, but mainly I've been reading the poem Am Rothaarsteig on and off today.

Interesting what an effect it has had. At first I thought I would simply answer with a poem I'd already written. But slowly I started to feel really strong emotions towards you and what you are expressing as a visitor to Germany observing (so sharply!) the rituals of the hunt. And so much else besides...

E-mail Karen to Renée, 3 Jan. 2011

Dear Renée,

Hope you're enjoying the new year so far. I'm...


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pp. 143-150
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2012
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