Itta Shedletzky is dead – culture

Itta Shedletzky is dead – culture

At the beginning of the 1990s, a manuscript began to circulate in Germany with the unwieldy title “Literature Discussion and Fiction in the Jewish Journals in Germany 1837-1918”. In it, the author Itta Shedletzky brought to light a world that had previously remained unrecognized behind the big names and their books. For the first time, she made visible the breadth and depth of the emancipation discourses that had been going on since 1837 with the founding of the General newspaper of Judaism developed.

Shedletzky, who was born in Zurich in 1943 and has been living in Israel since 1962, was at that time working on a large number of essays and anthologies on German-Jewish literature attracted attention. Trained by Israel’s most important historian Jacob Katz, she came into contact with the decisive figure of the so-called “German-Jewish symbiosis”: Gershom Scholem. The Kabbalah and mystic researcher encouraged Shedletzky to do the work and accompanied her until his death in 1982.

So it was only logical that Shedletzky became his most loyal ambassador. She published a three-volume edition of letters and Scholem’s correspondence with his mother at CH Beck Verlag in Munich, thereby laying the foundation for her biographical engagement with him. Shedletzky did not do this alone. Almost all of their works were collaborations. Be it with the large critical complete edition of Else Lasker-Schüler’s works, her studies on Heinrich Heine or on Theodor Fontane and his friend Wilhelm Wolfsohn, most recently as an expert in the process of the Kafka manuscripts, which were kept by Max Brod’s heirs. All of this led to friendships that lasted for decades and allowed her to work with several generations of German scientists. Guest professorships in Gießen, Berlin, Munich and Augsburg were an outward sign of deep connections.

Last but not least, Itta Shedletzky had a dedicated companion in Israeli German Studies: be it at the faculty in Jerusalem, which she helped found, or at the Franz Rosenzweig Center there.

Anna Maria Jokl was one of Itta Shedletzky’s numerous friends. The writer, whose book “The Pearl Color” was filmed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller in 2008, entrusted her papers to Shedletzky and commissioned her to take care of her writings.

Her first visit to Germany took her to Bavaria in the 1970s, together with her husband, the music journalist Moshe Shedletzky, to do research on the estate of Richard Strauss. Both had an ambivalent relationship to Germany, but saw the only way to overcome the abyss of the Shoah for a moment in conversation. Until the very end, she campaigned not to let the spun threads tear off.

On Friday evening, Itta Shedletzky died suddenly and unexpectedly in the middle of a conversation with friends, a few days before her 80th birthday. Two conferences were to honor her work. Now that she is missing, she will be missed.

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