30 November 2021, 18:00hrs, St. Matthäus-Church, Berlin
Jewish refugees from Germany in Apartheid South Africa
Conversation concert on the occasion of the anniversary "1700 Years of Jewish Life in Germany“

On 11 December 321, the Roman Emperor Constantine decreed equal rights for the Jews in his empire at the request of the city council of Cologne. To mark the 1700th anniversary, the association “2021 Jewish Life in Germany” was founded under the patronage of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, under whose name more than 1000 events are organised.

This anniversary also includes the lives of German Jews who had to flee abroad from the Holocaust, like Ruth Weiss’ family to South Africa. In South Africa, the refugees were confronted with the extreme racism of the apartheid regime. Therefore, Jewish emigrants from Germany supported the struggle against apartheid, including the outstanding Africa journalist and author Ruth Weiss, now 97 years old, with articles for the Guardian, the Financial Times, Deutsche Welle and other media, as well as with her books. “My Sister Sara”, her most successful novel (17 editions, for a time compulsory reading for upper secondary schools in Baden-Württemberg), deals with this problem constellation. In her autobiography “Wege im harten Gras” (engl. Paths in the Hard Grass), Ruth Weiss reports on the life of German Jewish refugees in South Africa.

Against this background, the Ruth Weiss Society and the German Africa Foundation, with the kind support of the Afrika-Haus Berlin, the Anne Frank Centre Berlin, the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa, the German-South African Forum e.V. (DeSafor), and Pactum Africa-num – Association for the Promotion of Abrahamic Dialogue in Africa e.V., invited to a discussion concert with Ruth Weiss. Songs by Miriam Makeba, performed by singer Jarita Freysank and guitarist Arenor Anuku, alternated with the spoken word.




Introduction :  

Lutz Kliche, Literary mediator and editor, Ruth Weiss Society


Welcome Remarks:

Pfarrer Hannes Langbein, Director of the St. Matthew’s Foundation

Imamin Seyran Ates, Co-founder of the Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque Berlin



Ruth Weiss: “The Role of German Jews in South Africa during the Apartheid Regime”


Reading:  „My Sister Sara“

Imamin Seyran Ates

Dr Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate, Chairman of Pactum Africanum – Association for the Promotion of Abrahamic Dialogue in Africa e.V.


Welcome Remarks:           

H.E. Phumelele Stone Sizani, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa



Ruth Weiss, Journalist and author

H.E. Phumelele Stone Sizani

Dr Uschi Eid, President of the German Africa Foundation

Imamin Seyran Ates

Dr Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate



Hans-Werner Bussmann, German-South African Forum e.V.

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