This talk follows Jack Zipes’ recent publication of his new translation of Felix Salten’s Bambi (1923). Zipes’ research for this book demonstrates that Bambi was essentially a Jew, as were all the animals in the forest, and that he and they had to spend their lives avoiding pogroms in the forest and learning to deal with loneliness. Salten wrote other books, such as Fifteen Rabbits (1928) and Bambi’s Children: The Story of a Forest Family (1939), which reflect upon the conditions Jews faced in Europe when anti-Semitism was commonplace. In addition, Zipes shall also discuss Hugo Bettauer’s Vienna without Jews (1923) and Artur Landberger’s Berlin without Jews (1924) in light of the fact that such constant pogroms were preparing the way for the Holocaust. There is a connection, Zipes believes, between the joyful killing of animals in the forest and the ways that Jews were murdered during the first half of the twentieth century.
Jack Zipes is Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his scholarly work, he is an active storyteller in public schools and has worked with children’s theaters in Europe and the United States. Much of his early work has been devoted to the Brothers Grimm and German-Jewish culture. In 2019, he founded his own publishing house called Little Mole and Honey Bear and has published Deirdre and William Conselman’s Keedle the Great, or All You Want to Know about Fascism (2020), Tistou, The Boy with the Green Thumbs of Peace (2022), and Rolf Brandt, Hilarious and Haunting Fairy Tales (2022). More recently, Zipes has published a new translation of Felix Salten’s The Original Bambi: The Story of a Life in the Forest (2022) with illustrations by Alenka Sottler and Buried Treasures: The Political Power of Fairy Tales (2023), a collection of essays on significant writers and illustrators who have been neglected. He is currently working on an anthology of European Jewish literature and has reissued his book, The Operated Jew and The Operated Goy.