Elvira Grözinger

Elvira Grözinger was born in 1947 in Lower Silesia, Poland, and grew up in Israel. She studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as in Heidelberg and in Frankfurt/Main. She gained her doctorate from the Free University of Berlin where she later taught. Before that she was an academic researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Potsdam. She has also worked as a member of the academic staff at the German Poland-Institute in Darmstadt. Grözinger lectures and publishes about Jewish literature, East European Jewish music, and theatre.

Together with the photographer János Kalmár she published the book »Bauet Häuser und wohnet darin. Spuren jüdischen Lebens in Mittel- und Osteuropa« (1996; tr. Build Houses and Live in them. An Illustrated Book with Historiographical and Literary Texts). In her comprehensive monograph »Die jiddische Kultur im Schatten der Diktaturen. Israil Bercovici – Leben und Werk« (2002; tr. Yiddish Culture in the Shadow of Dictatorships. Israil Bercovici – Life and Work), she analysed the literary estate of the poet and head dramaturge of the Jewish State Theatre in Bucharest and, using numerous documents that have been transcribed in German for the first time, provides insights into intellectual life, Jewish tradition and living circumstances in communist Romania. This was followed by her comparative analysis »Die schöne Jüdin. Klischees, Mythen und Vorurteile über Juden in der Literatur« (tr. The Beautiful Jewess. Clichés, Myths and Preconceptions about Jews in Literature), in which Grözinger examines and discusses questions of identity using examples from the international history of literature. 2004 saw the publication of her concisely biographical examination of a Jewish merchantwoman (1645–1724) known as the »Glückel von Hameln«, whose autobiography is a unique and meaningful testimony of German-Jewish history. In the same series of monographs dealing with the life and works of certain figures, the »Jüdische Miniaturen« (tr. Jewish Miniatures), she portrays Heinrich Heine in his roles as »a German writer, polemic publicist and political emigrant« (2004). »Jüdische Weisheit. Gedanken, Sprüche, Geschichten« (tr. Jewish Wisdom. Thoughts, Sayings, Stories) was published by Reclam press in 2010. The edition contains several verses from Heine as well as excerpts from texts by the »Glückel von Hameln« together with Jewish proverbs, aphorisms and other quotations, for example, from Kafka, Georg Kreisler and Abraham Joshua Heschel. These were compiled and annotated by Grözinger.

In addition to her academic and publishing work, Elvira Grözinger translates texts among others from the Hebrew and Yiddish. She lives in Berlin.