Göran Rosenberg

Göran Rosenberg

The Road from Auschwitz

What we should remember about Auschwitz is, that it was made possible by humans, argues Göran Rosenberg, whose book about his father won the renowned Swedish August-prize in 2012: "And these human beings are we."

David Rosenberg, the father of Göran Rosenberg (b. 1948), survived the Holocaust. Being born in Poland, he lived through the ghetto of Lódz and was in 1944 deported to Auschwitz, where he was selected for slave-labour in Germany. After an odyssey through Germany in the spring of 1945, David Rosenberg finally came to Sweden, where - after some time - he was reunited with his childhood-love Hala. On first sight, this was the beginning of a happy story. Hala and David Rosenberg settled down in the Swedish town of Södertalje. The economy was booming, jobs were plenty, soon the couple moved into a newly build apartment. In 1948 their oldest son was born, whom they gave the name Göran - the most Swedish of names, hiding his jewish roots, so that he could grow up being an integral part of Swedish society.

During the years though, the shadows of the past increasingly started to collide with the bright light of the present. The Sweden of the 1950's, Göran Rosenberg explains in this interview, was a country, that only looked ahead - partly because of a bad conscience about the country's role during the Second World War, partly because of it's own Wirtschaftswunder, that fueled the impression of many Swedes, that their society was both better and more rational than all the others. Consequently, the survivors of the Holocaust were confronted by a society, that was largely indifferent towards their past experiences. As in the Poland of the 1940's, the survivors again felt surrounded by indifferent bystanders. Together with other set-backs, especially a confrontation with the German authorities about receiving the so-called "Wiedergutmachung", led David Rosenberg into a depression, culminating in his suicide in 1960.

In his book "A Short Stop on The Road from Auschwitz", Göran Rosenberg goes back in time, tracing his fathers destiny from the ghetto of Lódz to his death in Sweden, when Göran himself was merely 11 years old. Last year the book won the renowned Swedish August-prize for best literary book and is now being translated into the major languages. In this interview, Rosenberg tells about his motivation for writing the book, about the path, that his father took, as well as why this very personal story is still interesting for a broad readership today. "Now I completely understand his fate" Göran Rosenberg says: "Had I been in his position, I would probably have done the same."

Göran Rosenberg was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced by: Jakob Solbakken & Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Supported ny Nordea-fonden

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