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Graphic: purple color area with the green inscription: Lecture Series.

The Dream of a Jewish-Arab Orient: Writer M.Y. Ben-Gavriêl

Part of the Lecture Series The Imagined Orient (Part 5, in German)

The fifth lecture in our series The Imagined Orient features a discussion by Sebastian Schirrmeister of the literary works of writer Eugen Höflich, who changed his name to Moshe Ya‘akov Ben-Gavriêl after moving to Jerusalem in 1927. After the Second World War, he gained recognition among German-speaking readers as an author of light literature. His humorous stories about Citizen Mahaschavi, the Great Osman and Detective Thamar Dor paint a quirky and loving picture of an Orient, where almost anything seems possible – as long as the West stays out of things.

Past event

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The W. M. Blumenthal Academy is marked in green


W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
Klaus Mangold Auditorium
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin (Opposite the Museum)

Of Jewish-Austrian heritage, Eugen Höflich was born in Vienna in 1891 and served as an officer in the Middle East during the First World War. While in Jerusalem, he saw cruelty and corruption at first-hand and witnessed the misery of the local population. Upon his return to Europe, he began writing and dreaming of a new Orient – the place that was the last “chance for humanity” after the horrors of large-scale war: Jews, Arabs, and all the peoples of Asia would be united in the fight against exploitation and oppression.

Dr. Sebastian Schirrmeister is a literary scholar and a research fellow at the University of Hamburg. He gained an M.A. in Jewish Studies and German Literature in Potsdam before completing his PhD in Hamburg. He has held fellowships in Haifa, Jerusalem, Göttingen and elsewhere. Schirrmeister is the author of Begegnung auf fremder Erde. Verschränkungen deutsch- und hebräischsprachiger Literatur in Palästina/Israel nach 1933 (2019, Encounter in a Strange Land. German-Hebrew Literary Entanglements in Palestine/Israel After 1933).

Man with glasses looks friendly into the camera.

Sebastian Schirrmeister; photo: Michael Kohls

Grafik: lila Farbfläche mit der grünen Aufschrift: Lecture Series.

Lecture Series The Imagined Orient

Lecture Series The Imagined Orient: Information on the event series
A Time Machine Made of Glass – E.M. Lilien’s View of the Hebrew Orient in Moses (Design for a Glass Window): Lecture with Shelley Harten, 23 Jan 2024
Current page: The Dream of a Jewish-Arab Orient: Writer M.Y. Ben-Gavriêl: Lecture with Sebastian Schirrmeister, 14 Feb 2024
The Unorthodox, Israel 2018: A feature film about the founding of the Shas Party: Film screening and discussion with Omar Kamil and Daniel Wildmann, 6 Mar 2024
Digital Content
“Orient” – A Magic Word? On the German-Jewish History of a Term: Lecture with Kathrin Wittler, video recording from 9 Oct 2023, in German
Approaching the “Orient” through pictures – the Life and Work of Jewish photographer Hermann Burchardt: Lecture with Stefan Litt, video recording from 8 Nov 2023, in German
From Yeshiva to Cairo: How Gustav Weil became a Pioneer in the Study of the Qur’an: Lecture with Susannah Heschel, video recording from 13 Dec 2023
See also
The W. Michael Blumenthal Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin: A Platform and Laboratory for Diverse Perspectives

Where, when, what?

  • When Wed 14 Feb 2024, 7 pm
  • Where W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
    Klaus Mangold Auditorium

    Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
    (Opposite the Museum)

    See location on map
  • Entry fee

    6 € , reduced rate 3 €

  • LanguageGerman

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