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Logo of Jura Soyfer Society

Author Jura Soyfer before the background of Viennese Workers Home, very important for the social improvement in the 1920ies

Painter: Elke Schönberger

Rania Elwardy with the two translations of Soyfer in Arabic in her hands at the 53. Cairo book fair

Rania Elwardy with its Soyfer translations at the 53. Cairo book fair

Jura Soyfer (1912-1939) in translations, theatres, films, museums, politics

With conferences, media contributions she opened a public for millions in Arabic. This is particularly important today as the name Soyfer means, that this is a man with knowledge of the Thora.”

— Herbert Arlt

VIENNA, VIENNA, AUSTRIA, November 19, 2023 / — From 21.-24.11.2023 the #32. Soyfer Symposion will take place. There were 31 other symposia in Vienna and worldwide, including the symposion “Jura Soyfer and his time” 1992 at the University of California at Riverside. The documentation of these 31 symposia in Internet: The documentation of the symposion in Riverside: Daviau, Donald G., (Hrsg.), Herbert Arlt (Foreword), Jura Soyfer and His Time. University of California, Riverside: Ariadne Press 1995.

#Jura Soyfer (1912-1939) was born in Tsarist Russia in Kharkow (today bombed Charkiw in Ukraine). 1920 Jura Soyfer, his mother, his father, bis sister came as fugitives to Vienna, Austria. On 16.2.1939 he was murdered at the age of 26 years in the concentration camp Buchenwald in Germany (documentation:

Today, a street in both Kharkiv and Vienna is named after Jura Soyfer. His literary and journalistic work ist translated today in over 50 languages. The translations started in the 1930ies. John Lehmann, editor of the journal “New Writing” in London, was the first. He learned in Vienna Russian language from Jura Soyfer to get access to new literature. And he supported the Austrian resistance against the Austrian dictatorship. Today the performance #”Astoria” by Tony Britten (London) remembers on this relationship. Other translations in English followed including the “Collected Works” by Horst Jarka at Ariadne Press, University of California, in 1994. Today the US film “Don’t look up” (2021) goes back to the Soyfer play “The End of the World”.

The original manuscripts, some of the translations in English and other languages can be found at the Virtual Archive of the Jura Soyfer Society, Vienna:

The public part of the 32. Soyfer Symposion will start on 21.11.2023, 19:00 Viennese time at TheaterArche with the event about 35 years Jura Soyfer Society: But the start for the engagement for Jura Soyfer was in the 1930ies. Leon Askin (+) performed 1936 his play “The End of the World” in Austro fascist Vienna in the face of the threatening 2. World War. Later Askin was a member of the Oscar Prize Committe in Hollywood. And before he died in Vienna, he performed the “The End of the Word” once more.

A key role for securing and distributing the texts played Herbert Steiner (+) and Otto Tausig (+) in exile in London. They collected the works of Jura Soyfer, brought them on the stage and in 1947 Otto Tausig published the first printed book in freed Vienna. Later Herbert Steiner founded the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance in Vienna, Otto Tausig performed at films, Dario Fo Theater, Burgtheater. And Thomas Sessler Verlag, also a connection from exile in London, played since the 1970ies a key role in the distribution of the works of Jura Soyfer in Austria and worldwide (especially Ulrich Schulenburg, a famous publisher in Central Europe).

From thousands of activists worldwide in Vienna some will speak on this evening: Knut Ove Arntzen (Bergen, Norway) for example, with whom the cooperation began in 1991: symposia, theater projects, events when Bergen was cultural capital of EU. Dilek Altinkaya Nergis (Izmir, Türkiye), a scholar of Gertrude Durusoy, who started to translate Soyfer in Turkish. But Durusoy had also a key role in the connection between Türkiye and EU. Dilek Altinkaya Nergis picked up this tradition in a prominent way.

Most important is today the role of Rania Elwardy (Ain Shams University, Cairo). She translated Jura Soyfer into Arabic, made lectures, published the translations, also made a performance of Jura Soyfer’s “Vineta” in Arabic via video available: With conferences, media contributions she opened a public for millions in Arabic. This is particularly important today as the name Soyfer means, that this is a man with knowledge of the Thora.

Important speakers on 21.11.2023 in Vienna will also be Peter Marboe, long time responsible for the Austrian Cultural Institute in New York, then Chair of the Cultural Section in the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Hilde Hawlicek, former Minister of Culture in Austria, Vice Chair of the Cultural Commission of the European Parliament.

On 22.11.2023 there will be the possibility of an interactive participation to conversations about translation of Soyfer into 8 languages via Channel Jura Soyfer.

On 23. and 24.11.2023 there will be polylogue fora at the Banquet Halls of the Viennese Districts Simmering and Mariahilf about the play “The End of the World” (played in Austria today for example at the Goethe Gymnasium in Vienna, in Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, in Arabic, Russian, Ukrainian language and other Soyfer performances in Bulgaria, Luxemburg, the United Kingdom. The contributions will come from important theater critics, artists and directors like Knut Ove Arntzen (Bergen, Norway), Georg Mittendrein (former director of the Jura Soyfer Theater, Vienna), Olha Kryvosheieva (Kharkiv, now Berlin), Christine Eder (Austria), Tony Britten (London), Tormod Carlsen (Oslo), Natalia Lapina (St. Petersburgh, now Berlin), Andreas Schnell (Horb, Germany), Jakub Kavin, Manami Okazaki (both: TheaterArche), Karoline Hoefer, Jiří Honzírek (both: Divadlo Feste, Brno).

A key role also plays music. 2013 Hartmut Krones organized together with Herbert Arlt a symposion about Jura Soyfer, music, theatre, resistance at the Mozart House in Vienna. At the 32. Symposion will present Michael Koball (composer), Maren Rahmann, Rudi Görnet (both: Soyfer CD), Klaus Bergmaier, Angelika Sacher (both: Soyfer CD), Georg Herrnstadt (Schmetterlinge, Soyfer pioneers since the 1970ies, CD).

The strategy of the National Socialists was not only to kill their enemies, but to also abolish the remembrance on them. But Hitler was not only defeated on the battlefield because of his racist arrogance (the defeat came not with “General Winter” but with better economy, better weapons, better warfare), but also with the remembrance on poets like Jura Soyfer. To bring texts of Jura Soyfer like the play “The End of the World” in the public today means still an actual and important contribution against racism, dictatorship, fascism, national socialism, war today.

Herbert Arlt
Jura Soyfer Society
[email protected]
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Jura Soyfer, “The End of the World”, performance by TheaterArche, Vienna

Originally published at

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