Skip to content Skip to navigation

VIRTUAL EVENT: Book Talk: Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is requested
Free and open to the public
CLICK HERE to access the event (event opens at 12 noon)

Virtual Event: Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil

Susan Neiman in conversation with Karen Murphy

In the wake of white nationalist attacks, the ongoing debate over reparations, and the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and the contested memories they evoke, Susan Neiman’s Learning from the Germans delivers an urgently needed perspective on how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Neiman is a white woman who came of age in the civil rights–era South and a Jewish woman who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin. Working from this unique perspective, she combines philosophical reflection, personal stories, and interviews with both Americans and Germans who are grappling with the evils of their own national histories.

Through discussions with Germans, including Jan Philipp Reemtsma, who created the breakthrough Crimes of the Wehrmacht exhibit, and Friedrich Schorlemmer, the East German dissident preacher, Neiman tells the story of the long and difficult path Germans faced in their effort to atone for the crimes of the Holocaust. In the United States, she interviews James Meredith about his battle for equality in Mississippi and Bryan Stevenson about his monument to the victims of lynching, as well as lesser-known social justice activists in the South, to provide a compelling picture of the work contemporary Americans are doing to confront our violent history. In clear and gripping prose, Neiman urges us to consider the nuanced forms that evil can assume, so that we can recognize and avoid them in the future.

Susan Neiman is the director of the Einstein Forum. Her previous books, which have been translated into many languages, include Why Grow Up?: Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile AgeMoral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up IdealistsEvil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of PhilosophyThe Unity of Reason; and Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin. She also writes cultural and political commentary for diverse media in the United States, Germany, and Great Britain. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard and the Free University of Berlin, and was a professor of philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv Universities. She is the mother of three grown children, and lives in Berlin.
Karen Murphy  is the Director of International Strategy for Facing History and Ourselves. She manages Facing History's international programs,  working with educators and educational leaders in a range of countries including Colombia, France, Mexico, Northern Ireland and South Africa.  Karen  has a special interest in countries emerging from mass violence and/or in transition and divided societies with identity based conflicts. She is particularly interested in the role that educational interventions play in the development of stability, peaceful coexistence and democracy. Karen's doctoral work focused on the role of race and racial violence in the construction of United States national identity.
Assistive Listening Devices image

To request real-time captions for this event, please contact Hannah Weisman at or 617-720-7617 no fewer than four business days prior to the event.