Exclusive: Anita Lasker-Wallfisch from start to … her next challenge

Here’s the public interview I conducted with Anita at South Hampstead Synagogue. She is the epitome of a formidable Jewish woman.

Anita Lasker-Wallfisch in conversation with Norman Lebrecht from mazaltovvideo.com on Vimeo.


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  • Norman,
    I do not understand why you start the interview by talking condescendingly on the ability of native Germans of today concerning speaking German. I listened to Ms Lasker Wallfischs speech at the German Bundestag in January 2018 and was indeed impressed by what and how she delivered it.
    Isn‘t it equally impressive that her grandson Simon became a German citizen in late 2018 as a reaction to Brexit ?

    • Oh for God’s sake! There is nothing of condescension here. NL is making a nice point about AL-W’s German: that it is of a pre-war kind, a form of the language now lost, one that looks back to the classical German of Heine.

      In my record-company salad days I had a German translator, a little older than AL-W; also a holocaust survivor but in a more fortunate way (escaped early enough to serve in the Allied Forces). She was fantastically professional and always insisted her translations be vetted. And she is still with us, too

      One day my boss queried the arrangement (understandably): Were translations from someone who’d left Austria in 1938 likely to be up to snuff?

      Yes, I said. And – POINT OF ALL THIS, Herman – anyway, I rather like the idea that our German notes are appearing in echt pre-war Austrian Deutsch.

  • Thank you for posting the interview. So remarkable that the strong but humble lady A.L.W. started to say: “Stop embellishing me”. At the age of 94 she is showing the world that Nietzsche’s saying “Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker” is still valid.
    May her life and strength of insight into the human condition be an example for the present and coming generations.

  • What a riveting interview! I hung on to her every word. A truly inspirational human being.If she can reconcile with the land & people of her persecutors, who are we to judge.

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