ICES Summer Book Club

Join Our Summer Book Club! – Books Discussed Academically!

The Interdisciplinary Centre for European Studies (ICES), in cooperation with the European Wasatia Graduate School, is thrilled to launch The Summer Book Club for July and August of 2024. We will be discussing and analyzing two thought-provoking books: "The Sunflower" by Simon Wiesenthal and "Oranges from Jaffa" by Nadine Al Sayegh. The latter will be visiting us on December 4th and 5th of this year, providing an excellent opportunity for readers to discuss face to face with the author herself.

Join our summer book club for an enriching journey into pivotal historical narratives through rigorous academic discussions. This season, we will delve into two profoundly impactful texts: one exploring the harrowing experiences of the Holocaust and the other examining the enduring ramifications of the Nakba. These books provide not only a deep understanding of these significant events but also foster a space for critical analysis and thoughtful dialogue. Engage with fellow scholars to dissect complex themes, understand diverse perspectives, and contribute to meaningful conversations that connect past atrocities to contemporary issues. Elevate your summer with intellectual growth and a deeper comprehension of these pivotal historical moments.

The Book Club will be conducted in an online format, welcoming all EUF students and researchers to join. It’s a great opportunity to connect, read, analyze, and reflect from your own perspective. Led by Ms. Tea Hodaj, a PhD candidate at the European Wasatia Graduate School, this is your chance to engage in meaningful discussions and innovative thinking.

"The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness" is a book on the Holocaust-by-Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, in which he recounts his experience with a mortally wounded Nazi during World War II. The book describes Wiesenthal's experience in the Lemberg concentration camp near Lviv and discusses the moral ethics of the decisions he made. The title comes from Wiesenthal's observation of a German military cemetery, where he saw a sunflower on each grave, and feared his own placement in an unmarked mass grave. The book's second half is a symposium of answers from various people, including other Holocaust survivors, religious leaders, and former Nazis. The book was originally published in German by Opera Mundi in Paris, France in 1969. (95 pages + 173 pages of commentary)

"Oranges from Jaffa" is a true story about the end of the golden age of Palestine by Nadine Al Sayegh. It is the coming-of-age story of Nicolas Sayegh, a Palestinian "Tom Sawyer," who, together with his friends, roams the sun-drenched streets of 1940s Jaffa, an ancient Arab city fragrant with the smell of orange blossoms. Nicolas' carefree childhood comes to an abrupt end in the spring of 1948 when his family and many others have to flee, as Jaffa is surrendered to its new Jewish rulers. "Oranges from Jaffa" paints the life and culture of a well-to-do Palestinian family and Jaffa society as a whole, shortly before the occupation and the creation of the state of Israel, in a whole new way. A true story and a novel against oblivion, written by Nicolas' daughter.

Nadine Al Sayegh will be visiting us at our premises on December 4th (Wednesday, 4 pm) for all interested readers to participate, pose questions, and share their thoughts with the author.

How will The Summer Book Club work?

We are meeting every week on Monday, starting on July 1st until August 26th at 5 pm. We will send you a link with the meeting credentials as the date approaches. We can lend physical copies for participants on campus and provide online formats of the book for those joining us online. For questions regarding the general organization or any other matter, please do not hesitate to reach out at


- July 01 - Discussing The Sunflower (First 42 pages)

- July 08 - Discussing The Sunflower (The following 53 pages)

- July 15 – Discussing The Sunflower and the first 25 comments of the symposium

- July 22 – Discussing The Sunflower and the following 28 comments of the symposium

- July 29 – Discussing Oranges from Jaffa, chapter 1 and chapter 2 (37 pages)

- August 05 - Discussing  Oranges from Jaffa, chapter 3 (15 pages)

- August 12 – Discussing  Oranges from Jaffa, chapter 4 (27 pages)

- August 19 – Discussing  Oranges from Jaffa, chapter 5 and chapter 6 (24 pages)

- August 26 – Discussing  Oranges from Jaffa, chapter 7 (11 pages and annexes)