Senfft Alexandra2t© Judah Passow Alexandra Senfft worked as Middle East aide in the German Parliament, as an observer for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Israeli occupied Westbank and as UNRWA spokeswoman in the Gaza Strip during the First Intifada. She was also a TV-journalist. She published »Schweigen tut weh. Eine deutsche Familiengeschichte« (2007) about the NS-past of her grandparents (Deutscher Biographiepreis [German Biography Award] 2008). In 2009 she portrayed Palestinians and Israelis in dialogues in »Fremder Feind, so nah« (edition Körber-Stiftung). Senfft writes for diverse daily newspapers, political journals and online publications – in German as well as occasionally in English. She has published short stories, co-edited a book on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and has worked as ghostwriter. (in English)

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Alexandra Senfft Der lange Schatten der Täter

Nachkommen stellen
sich ihrer NS-Familien-geschichte

History, Memoir
Piper (May 2016)
336 pp

Descendants Face Their Nazi Family History

During numerous events for her previous book »Schweigen tut weh« (Silence Hurts), Alexandra Senfft witnessed how children and grandchildren of Nazi perpetrators break their silence: Her conversations reveal long-kept family secrets with painful emotional effects. In this book, for the first time, the silence within the families is related to other traumas that were passed on through generations. Building on research on transgenerational transmission, she illustrates in 9 moving portraits how silence became a burden. The very personal point of view helps to break the ritualised patterns of narration, reveal identification with the perpetrators and point out ambivalences. Most protagonists have come to terms with their family past and are taking an active stance against Xenophia and radical right wing. The portraits do not deal with perpetrators from the first row but with blind followers and war profiteers who, after the war, were caring mothers and fathers – but have never been held to account and could settle in their silence.


Eine deutsche Familiengeschichte

Biography, Memoir
Claassen (2007)
352 pp

A German Family History

SA officer Hanns Ludin was Hitler's envoy in Slovakia and thus responsible for the deportation of Jews. In 1947 he was executed as a war criminal. Torn between guilt and loyalty, his descendants still fight about his role in the second World War. Alexandra Senfft writes with empathy and courage how her beloved grandmother cultivated the legend of the »good Nazi«, and how her children and grandchildren blocked out his true role. At the centre of the book is the life of Alexandra's mother, an extraordinary woman in the post-war leftwing establishment in Hamburg. On the surface, her life shattered under the influence of depression and addiction, in reality she failed to mourn for her father. The author also tells of her own life and her difficult love for her mother, whom she only really understood after her death. Schweigen tut weh was awarded the German Biography Prize in 2008.

Alexandra Senfft Fremder Feind so nah 

Begengungen mit Palästinensern und Israelis

mit Fotografien von Judah Passow

Transl. rights:
Ed. Körber Stiftung, Hamburg (2009)
334 pp

Encounters with Palaestinians and Israelis

with photographs by Judah Passow

Dialogues within families are often the most difficult, so Judah prefers to discusses politics with other people like Samir, the Palaestinian or me, the German.