Poet and writer Max Czollek talks about why German remembrance culture seems staged to him, and what a radically diverse society might look like. Czollek’s recent books “Gegenwartsbewältigung“ (Coping with the Present) and “Desintigriert Euch!“ (De-Integrate Yourselves!) have been widely discussed in Germany. Through his books and daily tweets, Max Czollek has become one of Germany’s most important voices on issues such as contemporary Jewish identity in Germany, racism and integration. Czollek completed his dissertation at the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University Berlin.
Open Call: Family Party
i turn to those
who buy toothbrushes
secondhand to scrub the sidewalk
only to find the work
has already been done
who trust in umbrellas
even in clement weather
and end up soaked in sweat
who fake a shot to the stomach
to fail the army physical
but are so convincing
they bleed to death
who’d be glad
were their face seized by a stranger
who didn’t first ask permission
You can find the rest of Czollek’s poem Open Call: Family Party translated from German by Meg Matich here.
Tom Zoellner (host) is the New York Times bestselling author of eight nonfiction books, including Island on Fire, Uranium Train, and The Heartless Stone. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College. A former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, he is the politics editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Aida Baghernejad (co-host) is a (pop) culture and food journalist based in Berlin. Her work has appeared in a number of regional, national and international media outlets, among them the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the San Francisco Chronicle, tipBerlin, Intro Magazine, Spex and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. She has previously taught at King’s College London and the Humboldt Universität Berlin.
Lisa Bartfai (producer) is an independent radio journalist and producer splitting her time between rural Maine and Southern California. Her work explores the intersection of culture and politics, and can be heard on NPR stations and podcasts all over the country.