H.G. Adler – A Modernist in Exile

Thursday 9 June 2016

30 years after his death, light is now being shed on the work of novelist and scholar, H.G. Adler. Scholars from both sides of the Atlantic gathered at the IMLR recently for a conference to discuss the reception of his work.

H.G. Adler was born in 1910 into the German-speaking Jewish circles in Prague to which Kafka also belonged. Deported to Theresienstadt in 1942, he was both victim and witness to the National Socialist extermination machine in a succession of concentration camps in which he lost many family members. He fled to London in 1947 ahead of the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, and translated his experiences into poetry and prose, of which the novels Eine Reise. Eine Ballade (1960) and  Panorama. Ein Roman in zehn Bildern (1988) are perhaps best known. Surprisingly, Adler’s work is only now being published in English. Theresienstadt 1941-1945: Das Antlitz einer Zwangsgemeinschaft will appear in New York later this year.

Organised by Jeremy Adler (King’s College London) and Elinor Shaffer (University College London), speakers included Julia Creet, Peter Filkins, Katrin Kohl, Peter Pulzer, Martin Swales and Nikolaus Wachsmann. The conference was sponsored jointly by the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies at the IMLR, the Austrian Cultural Forum, London, and the Wiener Library, London.

A detailed account of the event appears in Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 8 June 2016.