Details of the Initiative
I study the works of Jewish contemporary writers mainly in the German-speaking world. Their works deal with the Holocaust memory of their parents’ generation while the subject of those works is anti-Semitism that is now spreading throughout Europe ? discrimination and hatred based on prejudice against Jewish people.
Deep regrets about the Holocaust have taken root in Germany and Austria in their own way. However, an influx of Islamic refugees and immigrants into Europe in recent years has caused racially discriminative thought against not only them, but also Jewish people. Conversely, it is not rare for refugees and immigrants themselves to have a strong hatred for Jewish people born from anti-Israel feelings. As a consequence, attacks against Jewish residents are steadily increasing.
Jewish writers feel anxious about that present situation and are fighting it with the weapon of literature. During my studies overseas, I stayed in Vienna and interviewed the writers. In seminars after homecoming, I read and understood their works as well as researched approaches by various artists who resist that situation.
Prejudice and discrimination are based in the depth of a human heart. For words to work at that depth, they first need to reach that depth. I hope Japanese students think deeply about inner prejudice through learning approaches to a war against discrimination through literature.