Sun, 14. February 2021, 18:00


DVD Erol Guney Cover kirp

A wanderer and true Romantic: The fascinating life story of Erol Güney offers us a fresh take on recent history. We travel with him through time, from the Russian Revolution, to the “Turkish Renaissance” and to contemporary Israel.

The documentary looks at Turkey, from the perspective of a cosmopolite, Erol Güney. It aims to provide an alternative angle to religious and political discussions stemming from ethnic origin and contribute to the struggle against the rise of anti-Semitism. At the same time, it reveals the fascinating “Turkish Renaissance” that took place during the first years of the Turkish Republic, when Turkish poetry was at its peak, progressive educational systems were established, and great curiosity reigned for all kinds of cultural exchanges.

As a typical migrant, Erol Güney spoke several languages and could contribute to this development.
Formerly called Michel Rottenberg, Erol Güney was born in Odessa, the second son of a Jewish family. After the October Revolution of 1917, his family, like many others, moved to Istanbul. Erol Güney studied philosophy as well as French and English literature at Istanbul University under émigré professors such as Reichenbach and Auerbach, who had fled Nazi Germany.
His friends, in those days, would become the famous classic poets and writers of Turkish literature. He gained recognition in Turkey through the title of a poem by the renowned poet Orhan Veli, “Erol Güney’s Cat”–which is re-enacted in the film. His wife Dora, her sisters Seza, and Bella shared his zest for life and supported his struggle for culture and progress. The Turkish cultural revival ended with the Cold War period at the end of the forties. Progressive education projects were stopped and translation bureaus closed. Güney continued to work as a journalist. In 1955, he wrote an article addressing the Soviet Union’s wish for political and cultural interaction with Turkey. For this, he was taken under custody and accused of being a “spy.” He was deprived of his citizenship, expelled from Turkey in 1955 and finally immigrated to Israel and worked there as a journalist right to the last days of his life. He passed away on October 11, 2009.

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