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Rechnitz: Austria’s Dirty Little Secret
A Rare Interview with Nobel Laureate Elfriede Jelinek
Apr 4 2011

A lecture by scholar Gitta Honegger on the 2004 Nobel Laureate Elfriede Jelinek's recent, internationally acclaimed play Rechnitz. The play recounts the murder of 200 Hungarian Jews in the Austrian town of Rechnitz on the eve of the Russian army’s arrival in 1945. The massacre was initially shrouded in secrecy until several witnesses went public with an intriguing web of half-truths and deception transforming this crime against humanity into myth. The events at Rechnitz, while speaking directly to Austrian involvement in the Holocaust, also resonate around the globe today where ethnic violence exists. The talk included excerpts from a rare and exclusive video interview with Elfriede Jelinek.

Elfriede Jelinek is an Austrian novelist and playwright who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2004. Born in 1946, she represents the first post-World War II generation of Austrian writers struggling to come to terms with their country’s involvement in the Holocaust. The examination of Austria’s ambivalence in dealing with its past has been a driving force in her countless plays and novels. Jelinek’s innovative linguistic strategies and uncompromising critical vision have earned her numerous prestigious awards.

Professor Gitta Honegger (Arizona State University) is a Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellow. She has translated plays by Elfriede Jelinek, Thomas Bernhard, Peter Handke and Elias Canetti, among others, and is the author of the award winning cultural biography Thomas Bernhard: The Making of an Austrian.

Rechnitz Video