Durante l’incontro si parlerà di tutta quella variegata umanità che, non per propria scelta, si è ritrovata “dalla parte sbagliata”, in una Berlino dominata dal crepuscolo del “Reich millenario”. Siamo nel 1945, la guerra è ormai alla fine, ma dal cielo piovono ancora le bombe. Sulla terra restano inermi a guardare l’esito del proprio destino bambini innocenti, giovani, uomini e donne con l’unica colpa di essere all’inferno.
Helga Schneider nasce nel 1937 in Slesia, territorio tedesco che dopo la seconda guerra mondiale sarà assegnato alla Polonia. Dal 1963 vive in Italia, a Bologna. Ha all’attivo libri per Rizzoli, Einaudi e Adelphi. In particolare, si ricorda Il rogo di Berlino (1995, vincitore del Premio Rapallo Carige). Nel 2019 ha vinto il "Premio Renato Benedetto Fabrizi" dell’ANPI perché «propone ai cittadini del mondo e alle nuove generazioni la propria vicenda e quella della propria gente nel momento più buio della storia e dell’umanità».
Helga Schneider (Steinberg, 1937) is an Italian writer of German origin.
" Helga Schneider's mother walked out of her daughter's life at dusk on a chilly autumn day in 1941. Helga was four; her baby brother, sleeping in his cot, was 19 months old. Nobody else was home. Traudi, Helga's mother, did not say where she was going, or why, or for how long, or whether she was coming back. "My mother shut the door behind her," Helga writes in her memoir Let Me Go, to be published next month. "I wasn't to see her again for 30 years".
Helga Schneider's story is of a life of multiple abuses: by the selfish mother who abandoned her young family with war raging; by the hostile stepmother who took her place; and by the many dislocations that followed. But, as Let Me Go relates, the wounds caused by her mother's departure were only the start. Thirty years later she was to be devastated again when she discovered why her mother had left.
Traudi had gone to join the Nazi SS. She underwent special training to qualify as a concentration-camp guard. And when her training was complete she was assigned to duty at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most notorious of the Nazi death camps, where, at the height of the operation to rid Europe of Jews, 12,000 men, women and children were gassed to death every day."
(Peter Popham, "The Independent", 24 February 2004)