Ruth Keshishian - 60 Years Treffpunkt Goethe - Goethe-Institut Cyprus

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Memories
Ruth Keshishian

A young man with a black shirt, short hair and beard, and a middle-aged woman with short gray hair and a white shirt stand in front of bookshelves and among books. They look at each other and smile.
Photo: Panagiotis Mina

To think it is already 60 years. I was in my final class at high school and recall it well, as the Goethe-Institut began to bring wonderful string quartets, of high standard, to packed audiences: It was 1961, the first year of the Republic.

They also began graded language classes with a delightful exuberant teacher Dr Pomerenke. When my brother opened Moufflon Bookshop in 1967, he brought the required textbooks and reading materials.

The Goethe-Institut encouraged my father to bring out his guide ROMANTISCHES CYPERN in German, which he did for three editions.

I left in the summer of 1962 for Scotland, but on visits to Cyprus I did visit and made use of the library with its splendid books, journals and films.

My dear friend who died last year, Rolf Gehlhaar together with David Johnson, drove from Cologne FEEDBACK STUDIO, and brought with them all that was needed to introduce electronic music to the island for the first time during a music workshop conceived and mounted by Nouritza Matossian. It was held in the village of Lapithos before the invasion, in the summer of 1973, and the Goethe-Institut contributed considerably.

I returned to Cyprus and took over the shop in 1995. A few months later, in April I began a continuous series of Artist’s Book Exhibitions till 2020. Horst Weierstall, the painter residing on the island, happened to be the only one who responded to my call, and so we started off with his Book Art inspired by a voyage up the Nile. Goethe showed interest in all the German Artists Books that we displayed, both in the shop and in public spaces. The last was titled ALTERED BOOKS at the Art Space, in the old city, which Goethe supported.

I recall having to bring copies of books in Greek and Turkish, when German novelists and poets visited the Goethe-Institut. The last event was with Joachim Sartorius who was a familiar figure to the islanders, especially writers and artists, introducing his book ‘My Cyprus’. His previous visit was introduced  by Mrs Ute Wörmann-Stylianou launching his poems inspired  by a  visit to Egypt – poems  which had been translated from German into Greek, by  the poet  Niki Marangou: It was  a memorable occasion.  

I wish yet another stretch of splendid 60 years for the Goethe-Institut.

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