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Made in 1989-90, at a decisive historical moment for Germany and Europe, Chronicle of Return documents the lives of German Jews who left Germany under the Nazi regime and returned to what would become the German Democratic Republic. Exiled in Allied countries (the United States, England, and the Soviet Union), two generations of Jews tell the compelling stories that reveal their complex identities as Germans, Jews and Communists. Above all, they explain their personal reasons for choosing to come back to the Soviet occupied zone that became East Germany. For the postwar Western powers, this country was on the frontline of the “Iron Curtain,” but for these refugees it represented the anti-Fascist alternative to the West. The fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989 and the subsequent unification of Germany on October 3, 1990 seem to be the final chapter in their sagas of exile and return. These monumental historical events reshape again how they understand and define themselves under the unexpected circumstances of a new united Germany.

Jeff Peck, Director, Europe, AKA I Strategy
Albert Scharenberg, Co-director, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung’s New York office
Frank Mecklenberg, Director of Research and Chief Archivist at Leo Baeck Institute
Kathy Pence, Associate Professor and Chair, German and Women’s History, Baruch College
Moderated by Jessica Lang, Associate Professor of English, Director, Wasserman Jewish Studies Center

Presented by The Wasserman Jewish Studies Center