Dr. Bruno Gross am 5. Mai 2014 Grußwort von Dr. Bruno Gross zu Beginn der Konferenz über Vielfalt der jüdischen Literatur Brasiliens

Es gilt das gesprochene Wort.
Dear Mrs. Barnea,
Dear Mr. Däuble,
Dear Mr. Struck,
Dear Prof. Zepp,
Dear Prof. Krausz,
Dear Prof. Seligmann-Silva,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Colleagues,
it was with enormous pleasure that I accepted your invitation to open the conference Brasilidades. Jewish Belonging in Brazilian Literature.

This conference is an example for the fruitful exchange and long-lasting cooperation between Brazilian, Israeli and German Universities, authors and academics of literary studies.

We are happy to host researchers and authors from several countries and different cultural belongings. Your approaches to the topic of the conference are certainly as different as the social and cultural conditions in which you work. I especially welcome the fact that the conference will discuss historical perspectives in the context of exile and migration – nowadays a very important topic.

The Goethe-Institut is delighted to host this conference since it very well corresponds to our conviction that partnership and dialogue are the roots of any intercultural understanding. A respectful and trustful dialogue has always been the main principle of our work all over the world - including here in Brazil. The Goethe-Institut has always sought to be a place where cultural dialogue is made possible – free from censorship or other constrictions. As you know from history or even from todays experience with unregulated markets and social injustice, freedom of expression and artistic freedom are values which cannot be taken for granted, which have to be defended.

Fortunately, the Goethe-Institut Sao Paulo has been able to offer a space for free expression, open discussion and dialogue between different cultures for more than 50 years now. Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Goethe-Institut Sao Paulo together with a lot of partners and friends. That was also an occasion to look back to the first years of our work in Brazil. During the military dictatorship the Goethe-Institut was one of the rare places in town where artists, authors and different minded people could express themselves and stay in contact with the outside world.

Since that time the situation in Brazil has changed a lot. The country has become a democratic state with one of the worlds biggest economies. Very soon it will host the World Cup. But all that should not hide the fact that space for free discussion and intercultural dialogue beyond economic principles and over restrictions is badly needed – in Brazil as well as in Israel and in Germany. The Goethe-Institut together with its partners wants to be such an open space for dialog. This conference is a very good example for how that could look like.

I am sure that you will use these two days for discussing the variety of questions posed in literature from such an impressive array of different perspectives. May you have a constructive, enjoyable and fruitful time here and find new approaches that may foster your cooperation. As Mrs. Zepp said: Understanding, not memorizing the past is the best for the future.

I would like to end with a quote from Stefan Zweig, the Austrian author who came to Brazil in order to escape the Nazi regime. As you certainly know, Stefan Zweig and his wife felt very welcomed in Brazil. Their love for the country is noticeable in Zweigs book "Brazil – Land of the future".

Stefan Zweig said:

„Wer die Vergangenheit nicht versteht, versteht nichts wirklich.“

"Who does not understand the past, does not understand anything"

In this spirit I would like to encourage you to continue to investigate in the Jewish Belonging in Brazilian Literature.

Thank you again for coming.