A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz – Why Remember the Holocaust & How?
Conversation with Göran Rosenberg & H.E. Jan Eliasson
Monday, April 20, 6 pm
Journalist Göran Rosenberg discusses his shattering memoir about his father's attempt to survive the aftermath of Auschwitz in a small industrial town in Sweden. Rosenberg is joined by H.E. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, as Eliasson speaks to the need of remembering the Holocaust and what we must learn from it to ensure that the expression "never again" is not just empty words.
Eliasson will also touch upon the U.N.'s efforts on genocide prevention and the need for early action on mass atrocities, including The Human Rights up Front (HRuF) initiative to improve U.N. action to safeguard human rights around the world.
A brief Q & A follows the program and copies of Rosenberg's book will be available for purchase and signing.
About the book
On August 2, 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town to begin his life anew. Having endured the ghetto of Łódz, the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany, his final challenge is to survive the survival.
In this intelligent and deeply moving book, Göran Rosenberg returns to his own childhood to tell the story of his father: walking at his side, holding his hand, trying to get close to him. It is also the story of the chasm between the world of the child, permeated by the optimism, progress, and collective oblivion of postwar Sweden, and the world of the father, darkened by the long shadows of the past.
A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz (Bonniers, 2012) is Rosenberg's most recent book and has been translated into several languages. In 2012 the memoir won the prestigious August Prize.
About Göran Rosenberg
Göran Rosenberg is one of Sweden's best-known journalists and authors. He was born in Sördertälje as the son of David and Hala Rosenberg from Łódz in Poland, who arrived in Sweden after having survived concentration camps during World War II.
From 1966-68 Rosenberg studied at the University of Stockholm and obtained a B.A. in Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, and Journalism. He received an honorary Ph. D from the University of Gothenburg in 2000.
Rosenberg is the award-winning author of many non-fiction books, essays, and articles that have been translated into several languages and widely published in, among others, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lettre Internationale, Daedalus, New Perspectives Quarterly, The New York Times, and Eurozine.
About Jan Eliasson
H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, was born in Gothenburg, Sweden. He graduated from the Swedish Naval Academy in 1962 and earned a Master's degree in Economics and Business Administration in 1965.
From 2007 to 2008, Eliasson served as the Special Envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for Darfur. Prior to this, he served as President of the 60th session of the U.N. General Assembly and as Sweden's Ambassador to the U.S. from September 2000 until July 2005. In March 2006, Eliasson was appointed Foreign Minister of Sweden and served in this capacity until the elections in the fall of 2006.
Eliasson served, from 1994 to 2000, as Sweden's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, a key position in formulating and implementing Swedish foreign policy. He was Sweden's Ambassador to the U.N. from 1988 to 1992, and also served as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for Iran/Iraq.
The first U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Eliasson was also involved in operations in Africa and the Balkans. He took initiatives on landmines, conflict prevention, and humanitarian action. From 1980 to 1986, he was part of the U.N. mediation missions in the war between Iran and Iraq, headed by former Prime Minister Olof Palme. In 1993 to 1994, he served as mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson also served as Chair of Water Aid/Sweden and a member of the U.N. Secretary-General's Advocacy Group of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Special thanks to the Consulate General of Sweden, New York.
Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 pm
Jón Gnarr, world-famous Icelandic comedian and former mayor of Reykjavík, discusses The Indian (translated by Lytton Smith, Deep Vellum Publishing, May 2015) - his highly entertaining and semi-fictitious memoir detailing his riotous upbringing.
Subjected to constant bullying as a child, the young Gnarr found sanctuary in Westerns where he was always rooting for the Indians to defeat the bully cowboys. Diagnosed as “intellectually disabled” because of his severe dyslexia and ADHD, Gnarr spent several years as a child in a children’s psychiatry ward He finally got out, only to find himself subject to ridicule in regular schools for being slow...and red-haired.
The Indian is told with a warmth and humor that allow Gnarr’s unique personality to shine through.
Copies of the book will also be available for purchase and signing following the program.
About Jón Gnarr
Jón Gnarr (b. 1967) was diagnosed as a child with dyslexia and ADHD. He nevertheless overcame his hardships and went on to become one of Iceland’s most well-known actors and comedians. In 2006 he published the first two volumes of his fictionalized autobiography; Deep Vellum Publishing will publish the trilogy in full 2015-16.
In late 2009 Gnarr, alongside a number of friends with no background in politics, formed the satirical Best Party, which parodied Icelandic politics and aimed to make the life of Icelandic citizens more fun. In 2010 the Best Party managed a plurality win in the municipal elections in Reykjavík and Gnarr became the city’s mayor. The Best Party’s campaign was also the subject of Gnarr - Gaukur Úlfarsson’s 2010 documentary. In 2014, at the end of Gnarr’s mayoral term, the Best Party was dissolved. Its members, however, have formed a new political party: Bright Future, which in 2013 won six seats in the Icelandic parliament.
Gnarr’s other work includes the book GNARR! How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World (Melville House, 2014), numerous movies, including The Icelandic Dream/Íslenski draumurinn (directed by Róbert I. Douglas, Iceland, 2000), A Man Like Me/Maður eins og ég (directed by Róbert I. Douglas, Iceland, 2002), and Mr. Bjarnfreðarson/Bjarnfreðarson (directed by Ragnar Bragason, Iceland, 2009), and the award-winning television mini-series The Night Shift/Næturvaktin (Iceland, 2007).
In 2014 Gnarr won the prestigious Lennon-Ono Peace Prize for his dedicated work to promoting peace through humor and understanding around the world.