Witnessing – Remembering – Drawing A Conversation about But I Live and Drawing Holocaust Memories

June 16, 2023 | 7.00 pm

Book cover of But I Live

But I Live (New Jewish Press, 2022), a nominee for this year’s Eisner Award, evocatively depicts the way remembering depends on a co-creative moment of communication – and sometimes silence – as well as continuous emotional strength. Four child survivors of the Holocaust (David Schaffer, Nico and Rolf Kamp, Emmie Arbel) have told their stories to three graphic novelists (Miriam Libicki, Gilad Seliktar, Barbara Yelin), and historian Charlotte Schallié edited them into a unique and thoughtful book about memory, trauma, and witnessing.

Schallié will talk with Munich-based artist Barbara Yelin, who in the collection But I Live drew the story of Emmie Arbel. They will look back on the creative and historiographical process, and share their experiences from their individual professional vantage points. In discussing the practical, emotional, and theoretical challenges of the co-operation, the conversation will also open up prospects towards future projects and new ways of graphic memory work. Where oral history and graphic narratives meet, new approaches to the past have emerged – arguably, this holds remarkable potential for remembrance and education; especially as the post-witness era is approaching.

The podium conversation is part of the international conference HistorioGRAPHICS. Drawing the Past in Comics taking place from June 15 to June 17, 2023 at the Amerikahaus Munich.

About our guests

Charlotte Schallié is a Professor of Germanic Studies and Chair of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria. Her teaching and research interests include memory studies, visual culture studies & graphic narratives, teaching and learning about the Holocaust, genocide and human rights education, community-engaged participatory research, and arts-based action research. Together with Andrea Webb (University of British Columbia), she is the project co-director of a 7-year SSHRC-funded Partnership Grant entitled Visual Storytelling and Graphic Art in Genocide and Human Rights Education.” Charlotte Schallié is the editor of But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust (New Jewish Press, 2022). This collection of three graphic novellas by Miriam Libicki, Gilad Seliktar and Barbara Yelin has received the 2022 Canadian Jewish Literary Award (Category: Biography/Memoir), two PROSE Awards from the Association of American Publishers in 2023, and the 2023 Western Canada Jewish Book Awards in the Kahn Family Foundation Prize for Holocaust category. But I Live is also nominated for a 2023 Eisner Award (Category: Best Reality-Based Work); it is a 2022 Foreword INDIES Finalist for Graphic Novels & Comics, a 2023 Excellence in Graphic Literature Finalist (Young Adult - Non-Fiction & Book of the Year), and a Nominee for the 2023 JewCie Award for Diverse Representation (Center for Jewish History NY).

Barbara Yelin is a graphic novelist and illustrator. She was born in 1977 in Munich and studied illustration at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. Yelin has worked as a comics artist for newspapers and international anthologies. Her work largely focuses on research-based, historical, and biographical graphic novels, mainly about women. In 2014, Yelin published the award-winning graphic novel Irmina. Recently, she contributed an illustrated story to a profoundly-researched international Holocaust witness project, But l Live, about the memories of Holocaust survivor Emmie Arbel. In 2016, she was declared “Best German-language Comics Artist” at the International Comic-Salon in Erlangen, Germany and in 2021, she was awarded the Hoferichterpreis, Munich. She lives and works in Munich. She is a founding member of the artist's network Comic in Bayern and works to promote comic art by securing government funding for inclusive, diverse and high-quality graphic novel- and comic-related symposiums, workshops, masterclasses, resources and education.