Thomas Harding – “You’re doing what?” – My family’s response to my trying to save the house stolen by the Nazis

Event Date: 1 March 2018
German Historical Institute
17 Bloomsbury Square,
London WC1A 2NJ

European Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series 2017-18

The Difficulties of Writing Family History

A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

This season’s topic intends to discuss the challenges which arise when writing a European-Jewish family history set in the historically and politically charged period of the late 19th to the mid-20th century. What scholarly problems does a writer encounter, what emotional difficulties does an author face – especially in terms of allowing the public access to one’s own personal history, and how can these challenges be dealt with?

Lecture 2:

Thomas Harding“You’re doing what?” – My family’s response to my trying to save the house stolen by the Nazis

In 2013, Thomas Harding visited his Jewish family’s old weekend house outside of Berlin. He found it shrouded in a jungle of bushes and trees, its windows broken, graffiti painted across its walls and that it was destined for demolition. When he told his family that he wanted to work with the locals to save the house they reacted with intense emotion, triggering a debate about memories, the value of history and the possibility of reconciliation.

Thomas Harding is an international bestselling author and journalist who has written for the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Washington Post, Guardian and Der Spiegel, among other publications. His books include Hanns And Rudolf, Kadian Journal, The House By The Lake and Blood On The Page. Thomas Harding is president of, an education and reconciliation charity near Berlin. On 24 June 2016, the day of Brexit, Thomas applied for the restoration of his German citizenship.

Welcome by Professor Andreas Gestrich (Director, GHIL):

Introduction by Dr Daniel Wildman (LBI):
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