“I’m Proud to Be a German Jew”

The 14th European Maccabi Games (EMG) are taking place in Berlin from 27 July until 5 August 2015. More than 2,000 Jewish athletes from 36 countries will compete in 19 sports from football to fencing to chess. To accompany the games Tamar Lewinsky and Theresia Ziehe are producing a series of portraits with interviews, introducing a new member of the German delegation from Berlin every day here on the blog. They conducted the interviews on the grounds of the TuS Maccabi in Berlin’s Grunewald where Stephan Pramme also shot the portraits.

Katharina Goos (39), hockey

Katharina, what does it mean to you that the European Maccabi Games are taking place in Berlin?

Young woman with hockey stick

Katharina (39) hockey © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Stephan Pramme

This is a real happening! When we heard two years ago that the Maccabi Games would come to Berlin, of course there was a lot of excitement. I had hoped that we would do the opening ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Still, getting to participate at the Olympic Stadium is fantastic. And I’m very happy that my parents can make it here this time. Because when the Games take place in other countries, your friends and family generally don’t come.

What role does representing Germany in these Games play for you?

I’m proud to be German, and I’m also proud to be a German Jew. I’ve lived in a number of other countries where I was often asked, as a Jew, how can you live in Germany? With the Maccabi Games in Berlin we can show that we’re still here. There are still Jews here, and the Nazis didn’t succeed. Exactly for that reason I think more German Jews should be open about the fact that they’re Jewish.

What’s your personal definition of Judaism?

For me it’s my faith. I’m a believer, and when I go to synagogue, regardless of where it is, I have the feeling that I’m home. You feel secure, you know where you are, and that’s very important to me. I come from a family that doesn’t practice the Jewish religion at all, though, because neither my mother nor her mother experienced that. My father isn’t Jewish so we always celebrated Christmas.

Tamar Lewinsky, curator of contemporary history, and Theresia Ziehe, curator of photography, are keeping their fingers crossed for all their interviewees at the European Maccabi Games!

Leave a comment