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Robert Kelz to deliver Stefan Zweig lecture in Rosch
Monday, March 11, 2013

Click to view our video on the Zweig Collection at Reed Library on YouTube

By Rebekah Bretl, '13

Robert Kelz

Scholar of German and University of Memphis Professor Robert Kelz will deliver the second Biannual Stefan Zweig Lecture on Tuesday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Rosch Recital Hall. The biannual lecture series brings international speakers to the Fredonia campus to share scholarship on Zweig, who was one of the most famous authors in the world in the 1920s and '30s, until the spread of Naziism in Europe eventually led him to choose to take his life.

In his lecture, Dr. Kelz will focus specifically on a little known aspect of Zweig’s 1936 visit to Buenos Aires. Kelz will discuss Zweig’s address to the pupils (who were mostly the children of Jewish émigrés from the Third Reich) of the Pestalozzi School - the only German language school in Argentina not to have fallen under the spell of Nazi ideology.

Also, see two recent articles by Rebekah Calhoun, a senior English major, published in the Dunkirk Observer. They are found here and here.

Kelz is an expert on the literature, theatre and music of Germany, especially exiled Germans.

Reed Library at SUNY Fredonia contains an internationally known collection of published novels, short stories, plays, poems, essays, correspondence and other writings by the renowned Austrian author. His works have been translated into more than 50 languages. The Stefan Zweig Collection in Reed Library is the largest collection of its kind in North America.

Drawing in part on personal interviews that Kelz has conducted with some of the former pupils of the Pestalozzi school, his lecture will offer insight on the long-lasting impact of a creative writer in the classroom and into what Kelz calls, a “pedagogy of the persecuted.”

Born in Austria in 1881, Zweig was forced into exile during Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, when his books were burned by the Nazis. He fled Vienna in 1934, moving first to England, then to the U.S., including New York State. In 1941 he moved to Brazil. Shortly thereafter, distraught by the fact that another war was ravaging his European homeland and its culture, Zweig took his own life through a suicide pact with his second wife, Lotte, in 1942.

To learn more about the lecture or the collection, contact Associate Professor of English Birger Vanwesenbeek at 716-673-3847 or

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