Read & Watch

Every year, we compose a list of websites, books, films, and podcasts for our Summer Academy participants. Naturally, we know how busy you are, but we promise that any time spent with these publications, films and podcasts will greatly enrich your visit.

Please keep checking for updates, as we add to the list continually.

– Your Centropa Team

Assigned reading 

"The Hare with Amber Eyes" by Edmund de Waal

In a family memoir that has now been translated into 22 languages, Edmund de Waal, a contemporary artist, traces the history of his family, the Ephrussi’s, who once rivaled the Rothschilds. A moving and exquisitely crafted family saga that takes place mostly in turn-of-the century Paris and in Vienna.

"Good Living Street" by Tim Bonyhady

After his grandmother’s death, Bonyhady began to ask the questions that were taboo as a child – where did all the treasures in his grandmother’s flat come from? What was his family history? His inquiry takes us from his grandmother’s flat in Sydney all the way back to fin-de-siecle Vienna, where his great-grandparents were leading patrons of the arts: his great-grandmother was even a subject of a Klimt portrait. A story that combines privilege and tragedy.

"Last Waltz in Vienna" by George Clare

Clare grew up in a middle-class family in Vienna’s eighth district, and his well-told tale takes us through his teenage years and the family’s flight from Vienna following the Anschluss to Berlin (which he found to be far less “brown” than Vienna), and on to England. One of the best books of its kind.

"The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece" by Anne-Marie O’Connor

O’Connor takes us into the salons of the wealthy and well-connected, and then shows us how one after the other, this circle of wealthy Jews were stripped of almost everything. Her chapters on how Marie Altman, Adele’s niece, and her attorney, Randol Schoenberg, fought to get the paintings back is the stuff of movies. In fact, the story has since received the Hollywood treatment, starring Helen Mirren. But trust us, the book is better.

"The World of Yesterday" by Stefan Zweig

Although his literary reputation as a biographer and short story writer have suffered of late, Zweig wrote this elegiac portrait of a world destroyed while he was living as a refugee in Brazil in 1943. Upon completing it, he killed himself, although the world he had been born into had died long before he swallowed his poison.


"The Radetzky March" by Joseph Roth

One of the great novels of the century, Roth’s stories are invariably populated by people who have almost no redeeming values. In Roth’s world, things begin well and invariably spiral downward from there. This novel is his master work, and it tells the story of the decline and collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, embodied through a singularity untalented family. Emperor Franz Josef shows up from time to time, usually eating his Tafelspitz (boiled beef).

"Old Masters" by Thomas Bernhard

Most Austrian novelists have probed the country’s psyche in ways that make many Austrians squirm. Christoph Ransmayer, Peter Handke and Elfriede Jelinek certainly have no love for their country. It seems no one loathed Austria more than Thomas Bernhard. What makes him so readable is how funny he is. In Old Masters, two elderly Austrians meet each week in front of a Tintoretto in the Fine Arts Museum, where they stand and speak of how awful their fellow countrymen are. They then retire to the Café Lehar (now a hip clothing store) for coffee.

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