The Lit is a discussion forum for a wide variety of topics covering every area of culture and history with a Jewish connection. For a list of this year’s meetings, details of how to attend (remotely or in person), and information about how to support the Lit, see this page.
8 January Kerstin Stutterheim: The Goldberg Condition, or how a famous person was forgotten and rediscovered (in person)
Emanuel Goldberg was an influential scientist, manager and visionary whose name was almost erased from history by the Nazis. Born in Moscow, he studied in Berlin and London. He was appointed as the first ever professor of photographic and reproduction techniques in his late twenties. A few years later, he headed the research department of one of the most important camera factories in Dresden, of which he became the manager until he was kidnapped by the SA in 1933. After a diversion via Paris, he migrated to Israel, where his laboratory became the incubation cell of Israel’s optical industry. One can say that there would be no drones made in Israel today without Goldberg’s revenge on Hitler. But he was not only a researcher who scaled down everything that seemed too big to him, he also wrote wonderful love letters.In a network of diverse research scientists, we have reconstructed his biography as best we could, made his estate accessible and secure, and interviewed his daughter and the rest of his family. One of the results was a documentary film made by Niels Bolbrinker and myself, from which I will show and discuss some excerpts.
Kerstin Stutterheim is professor in creative practice and head of research at the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Edinburgh Napier University. Her recent positions have included Rector of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, and Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at Bournemouth University. Her most recent monograph is Modern Film Dramaturgy – An Introduction, Peter Lang Publishing 2019. A new work, Dramaturgie im Dokumentarfilm, is in preparation for 2023. As documentary filmmaker she wrote and directed several internationally awarded films, including Myth, Might and Murderer (1999, 89 min) about the idea of being the chosen within the Nazi ideology; Bauhaus—Model and Myth (2009 – 103 min) about the history and the aftermath of the Bauhaus academy, and Flies & Angels about two Ukrainian Jewish artists, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, and their art of the ‘total installation’ (D 2009. 90 min). Her filmography is at https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0836488/.
Jews worry. That is part of our DNA. Sometimes, it is needless and we indulge in ‘oy gevults’. But at other times there are good reasons to worry. Jonathan Romain has been at the forefront of some controversial campaigns within the Jewish community (such as pioneering a more welcoming approach to mixed-faith couples, trying to make faith schools more inclusive, arguing for assisted dying to be legalised, and intervening in the 2020 General Election) and, in his talk, he will explore the seven major challenges faced by British Jewry. Come and find out what they are…and decide whether we need to worry or not.
Jonathan Romain is a rabbi, writer and broadcaster, He is Minister of Maidenhead Reform Synagogue, writes for The Times and The Jewish Chronicle, and is often heard or seen on the BBC. He is Chaplain to the Jewish Police Association, President of the Accord Coalition (campaigning for inclusive education), and Vice-Chair of Dignity in Dying. His latest book, The Naked Rabbi, John Hunt Publishing (£10.99) came out in May 2022.