In 1990 the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Society was established in Wuppertal, Germany.
Its main task is to encourage the literary and artistic legacy of Else Lasker-Schüler, and to keep it alive as an important contribution to the German-Jewish culture by the Jewish artist who was born in (Wuppertal-) Elberfeld in 1869. She was persecuted by the Nazis, went into exile in Switzerland and Palestine. In 1945 she died in Jerusalem. Her fate is exemplary for persecuted intellectuals.
The Wuppertal-based Else-Lasker-Schüler-Society has got more than 1.400 national and international members. Here you find the comprehensive Else-Lasker-Schüler-Archive and the house where the great poetess and artist was born.
A great number of her letters, drawings and collections are scattered all over Europe and the USA. We support researches and academic papers as well as the publication of the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Complete Edition “Works and Letters” (Werke und Briefe), being published by Suhrkamp.
Up to 1996 the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Society was able to award a literary-prize – which was worth € 20.000 and thus the highest literary-prize bearing the name of a German Jew. The aim of prize was to remind the public of Else Lasker-Schüler’s legacy, as well as to encourage contemporary poets. Unfortunately since 1996, the literary-prize could not be awarded any longer, due to the lack of sponsors.
An especially important task of the future, supported the London-based "Exile-P.E.N." (Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad) and the Association of German-Speaking Writers in Israel, is the realization of a as an institution against the "universality of oblivion", neo-fascism, racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance.
In order to achieve this, the foundation “The burnt Writers and Artists” was established by the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Society. It has organised and financed a nationwide school-campaign: The task pf this campaign: pupils were meant to search the biographies of persecuted intellectuals from their home town on the Internet. The results were placed in the web as a kind of virtual-archive and –magazine available for everyone under www.exil-club.de. In the meantime a further homepage representing the virtual "Centre for Persecuted Writers and Artists" (www.exil-archiv.de) has been established with roughly 1.000 biographies, some of which are also available in English, French, Spanish, Czech and Polish.
In 1992 and 1993, our society organized literary readings of well-known writers such as Günter Grass, Sarah Kirsch and Wolf Biermann all over Germany in dozens of asylum-seeker's homes, many of which at that time were targets of neo-fascist and racist attacks, in order to support the refugees. In 1994, the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Society organised the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the "Exile-P.E.N." (London). This event, which took place in autumn, featured the Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad by gathering national and international writers in Wuppertal, the home town of Else Lasker-Schüler. In the years to follow Else-Lasker-Schüler-Forums took place every year: In 1995: "Occident-Orient-Occident" (with German-Speaking Writers and Artists from Israel); in 1996: „Women in Hebrewland”; in 1997: „Exile in Shanghai”; in: 1998: “At Home in Exile – Writers Who Stayed in the GDR”; in 1999: “The Last Enclave of Poetry. Poetry, Music and Painting in Theresienstadt”.; in 2000: “…Then Turned Back the Century’s Clock. All these Else-Lasker-Schüler-Forums took place in Wuppertal. In 2001: “Journey to Jerusalem” took the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Forum to Jerusalem. This is the first time that a German literary-society presented itself to Israel. The Jubilee-Forum took place in 2002 in Wuppertal under the title “My Blue Piano”. In 2003 an Else-Lasker-Schüler-Forum followed in Breslau, Poland, titled “Kindness is Immortal” and in 2004 the XII. Else-Lasker-Schüler-Forum titled “Sometimes I have a Longing for Prague” took place in Prague. For Autumn 2006 a Forum is scheduled for Zurich titled “Every Word I Turned to Gold”.