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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin.© Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

Q&A With Susan Neiman



How can societies deal with the evil of their own history? Is there anything - politically speaking - that can be learned from the Germans? When Susan Neiman, a young Jewish American, moved to Berlin, of all places, in the 1980s, many people around her found it incomprehensible. But she stayed in Berlin and experienced how Germans seriously dealt with their own crimes: in the West as well as in the East, albeit in different ways. Since 2016, Susan returned to where she had grown up: the American South, where the legacy of slavery still defines the present. Susan Neiman combines personal portraits with philosophical reflection and asks: How should societies deal with the evil of their own history?


Susan Neiman is Director of the Einstein Forum. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard and the Freie Universität Berlin, and was professor of philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv University. She is the author of Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant, Evil in Modern Thought, Fremde sehen anders, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists, Why Grow Up?, Widerstand der Vernunft. Ein Manifest in postfaktischen Zeiten and Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil.

Susan Neiman


Jessica Ellison is a teacher educator at the Minnesota Historical Society, where she creates and delivers professional development and curriculum materials for K-12 social studies teachers. She serves on the board of the National Social Studies Supervisors Association, is Past-President of the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies, serves on her local school board, and is a TOP 2019 fellow. Jessica and her husband, Matt, have four children.

Greg Hill has enjoyed a twenty-five-year career in education. He teaches High School AP Human Geography, World Regional Geography, and African-American Studies in Mesquite, Texas. Mr. Hill began his Social Studies teaching career as a World History teacher in Dallas Public Schools. He is the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award: K-12 from the National Council for Geographic Education. He is also the 2020 recipient of the International Educator of the Year Award from the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Ft. Worth. At Horn High, Greg sponsors the Global Young Leaders and coaches the Current Events Team.