For the past four years I have been working in an editorial capacity with a Radcliffe Institute colleague based in Germany, Irmtrud Wojak, to develop the Fritz Bauer Library of Remembrance and Human Rights, a project aimed at publishing bi-lingual editions of books that tell important stories about courage in the face of tyranny.

The first volume—Full of Hunger and Full of Bread: The World of Jura Soyfer 1912-1939 by Dorothy James—will be published this year in English and in German by Buxus Edition. This compelling work recounts the life of the Austrian novelist and cabaret composer Jura Soyfer.

Jura Soyfer’s writing spoke to the dark era in which he lived and speaks, as well, to the era we are living through now. He is most famous for composing The Dachau Song while a concentration camp prisoner. The back of the English language version of the book features this translation of the last stanza of “Wanderlied der Zeit.”

The storm of time

Is raging past

And you are tired,

Find no rest.

You long to close your eyes now.

But do not, do not

Close your eyes.

Just look the storm

Full in the face!

You have to know it all now.


“Creating a Living Archive of Shared Humanity:

FB Library / Database of Remembrance and Human Rights”

April 23-24, 2018—Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Exploratory Seminar Leaders: Ben Miller (RIAS ’15) and Irmtrud Wojak (RIAS ’15), with V.V. Ganeshananthan (RIAS ’15)

Below is a link to a program from an event held on the first Seminar afternoon.

Afternoon Tea 4.18



I continue to collaborate with German Historian Irmtrud Wojak on the FB LIBRARY / DATABASE OF REMEMBRANCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS. (The project is named in honor of German jurist and campaigner for human rights Dr. Fritz M. Bauer.)

As part of this project, we hope to cultivate a series of creative works. To find information on that “Library Within a Library” go here:

On April 23-24 (2018) I will be co-leading a two-day Exploratory Seminar at Harvard University dedicated to studying the following key questions related to the project:

What tools and methods would make a school curriculum that generates moral and intellectual bravery workable?

What are the obstacles to telling unique stories of resistance effectively, and how might they be surmounted via documentation and narrative ingenuity?

Whereas the academic rule of thumb is impartiality, and impartiality is in some cases impossible to attain, how might stories be told as fairly and fully as possible?

What are the uses of identifying universal parallels between acts and tactics of resistance originating in vastly different regional contexts?

What organizations should we align with to achieve our goals?

When should verification of a story of resistance be considered complete?

How best can we attract users to a definitive database / library of resistance stories?

How does the power of Big Data work for, or against, the vital telling of the stories of individuals who exist as names rather than numbers—people who often are inspired to act not only by tragic facts but also by pre-existing intellectual, spiritual or emotional concerns?

Can truth-tellers and truth-telling organizations be effectively protected against cyber-attacks and campaigns of misinformation?

What are the connections between resistance to injustice and physical and mental health?


One of the professional blessings of this year has been my deepening collaboration with historian Irmtrud Wojak, Frieda L. Miller Fellow at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2014-15) and managing director of the nonprofit BUXUS STIFTUNG GmbH.

Together with US-based German historian Susanne Berger, we have developed the following mission statement for two archival projects named in honor of jurist and Human Rights advocate Fritz M. Bauer.

“The FMB Database’s central mission is to research, document and share humanity’s extraordinary stories of resistance in order to preserve human dignity and to create a more just and humane world.

We do this because people everywhere and at all times, often under extreme conditions, struggle for their personal dignity. It is our task to remember this fight and, at the same time, to strengthen the respect of civil liberties and human rights. We accomplish this by recounting the extraordinary global history of resistance and the pursuit of human rights, inscribing the memories deeply. In doing so, we reject impunity for human rights violators and champion the ethic of accountability.

We call on human rights activists and organizations to publish their stories on our interactive website. We invite people to share their experiences and to conduct research in creative workshops, and we take the resistance stories to schools. Some of these collected stories we plan to publish as books or monographs.

In this way, we are creating a living archive of shared humanity.”

We hope to launch the FMB Database in 2017 and to augment its reach in 2018 with the FMB Library of print volumes.

To learn more about the FMB Library follow the link below: