ABOUT THE BOOK When Claudia met Shaul at the rehearsals for a play in Berlin, things came together very fast. The German actor and the Israeli composer fell in love. The situation that rapidly became the norm for the two of them was less so for the people around them. Shaul is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor; Claudia’s grandfather was a soldier in the Nazi army. Is their love for each other too crazy? Too meshuga? Together, Claudia and Shaul embark on a turbulent journey into the story of their families, through Germany and Israel. Somewhere between spätzle and hummous, nuclear and extended families, South German correctness and Israeli chutzpah, this young couple discover not only their past but also their future. The author’s genuine narrative describes how friends, parents and siblings react to their respective counterparts, the complicated stories of their life sandwiched between two different cultures and the many consequences of having an inter-religious wedding and a baby. A story full of heart and humour about two special families and what it’s like to experience the love of one’s life.

Eden Books | A publisher of Edel Germany GmbH
ISBN 978-3-9591-0075-5



In German only!





Our program:
„ We are all… meshugga!
A personal German-Israeli story. “

musical accompaniment by Shaul Bustan, followed by public discussion

Reading performance "We are both Meshugge"
Musical accompaniment: Shaul Bustan


Past appearances:

In Israel:
University of Haifa, Haifa
International Book Fair, Jerusalem
Goethe –Institut Tel Aviv

In Denmark:
Deutsche Schule, Aabenra

In Germany:
Stadtbibliothek Bremerhaven
Hofbuchhandlung Kathrin Wellmann, Wardenburg
Museum Unewatt, Langballig
Bühne Bunter Vorhang, Tostedt
JVA Tegel, Berlin.
Kreuzundquer, Neuenbürg.

Café Impuls, Berlin.
Café Verweile doch, Berlin.
Romantische Nacht, Kloster Drübeck.
Café Sybille, Berlin.
Schwartzsche Villa, Berlin.
St. Marien Kirche, Flensburg.
Martin-Luther Kirche, Zeuthen.
Inselkino, Spiekeroog.
Schloß Ritzebüttel, Cuxhaven
Jugendstil-Kirchsaal, Berlin-Nordend
Literaturhaus, Immenstadt
Interkulturelle Woche, Stadtbibliothek Germering
Jüdische Kulturtage Rhein-Ruhr, Bonn
Musikzeit Epiphanien, Epiphanienkirche Hamburg
Kulturfestival Fohrde
Stadtbibliothek Trossingen
Versöhnungskirche in der KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau
Kulturforum der Stadtsparkasse Lengerich
VHS Calw, Bad Wildbad

Shaul Bustan and Claudia Schwartzare a German-Israeli artist couple. During the rehearsals for a play in Berlin, the German actress and the Israeli composer met for the first time - and fell in love with each other. Since then, they have not only been a couple privately, but have also taken a professional path together. In their artistic collaborations of text, performance and music, Schwartz and Bustan particularly deal with the Third Reich, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. She, granddaughter of a former Wehrmacht soldier, he, grandson of a Holocaust survivor. For the documentary theatre “Das Letzte Kleinod”, Schwartz and Bustan worked together on the unique production of “Exodus”, a play about the Jewish refugee ship based on original statements by the Jewish survivors, which was performed on original sites in Germany and Israel. The documentary theatre “Das Letzte Kleinod” was subsequently awarded the theatre prize of the federal German state (2015).

In 2016, Schwartz and Bustan developed a reading performance with musical accompaniment to Etty Hillesum's diaries, which is still performed by the two of them nationwide.

In their book “We are both meshugga. Our German - Israeli love story ”Schwartz and Bustan tell their own story, as well as that of their very different families. Shortly after the publication of their book by Eden Books Verlag, the Goethe Institute and the Frankfurt Book Fair chose “We are both meshugga” for the 2017 International Book Fair in Jerusalem. Since then, Schwartz and Bustan have performed the reading performance of the book in front of a wide audience in Germany and Israel: from students at the University of Haifa to inmates of the prison Berlin - Tegel, from book-loving pensioners in the Allgäu to orthodox Israelis in Jerusalem, from culture lovers of the Jewish Culture Days Rhine - Ruhr as well as to visitors of the Dachau concentration camp memorial. Claudia Schwartz and Shaul Bustan's story has been reported on radio (including Deutschlandfunk, SWR and NDR), in newspapers (including Süddeutsche, Jüdische Allgemeine) and in various TV formats (ZDF Morgenmagazin, ZDF Länderspiegel, SWR “Nachtcafé”) to great interest.

She, the granddaughter of a Wehrmacht soldier, and he, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, embody with their private history very emphatically what reconciliation between families and cultures can mean.


Claudia S. C. Schwartz, originally from the South of Germany, Claudia graduated as an actor from the Samuel Beckett School of Drama, Trinity College Dublin/ Ireland in 2004. While still at the Beckett, Claudia received a scholarship to study acting Shakespeare and classical texts at the British American Drama Academy, Oxford/ UK. She later went on to train in physical theatre at the DAH Theatre Centre for Research in Belgrade/ Serbia. The Biennale Venice chose Claudia to participate in the ENPARTS campus 2010 hosted by Bitef Theatre in Belgrade/ Serbia.

Since graduating as an actor, Claudia has performed with and worked for award-winning theatre companies and artists in Ireland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Germany such as, for example, the site-specific documentary theatre Das letzte Kleinod (theatre award of the German federal government). Most recently, she has appeared in the play Burn or Out at the theatre of Brandenburg an der Havel during the season 2018/2019.

Claudia's first play, a 1-woman show Ways Of Making You Talk, in which she herself played the protagonist, was nominated for the New Writing Award at the 2007 Dublin Fringe Festival Awards. In 2012, her play To Die For premiered at the English Theatre Berlin in English.

In 2012, Claudia trained as a seminar actor at the psychological institute Institut Synergie in Germany. Upon completing the training, Claudia acts as the counterpart in role-playing as part of communication trainings, coaching and assessment within the industries of business, media and politics throughout Europe. She serves as the behavioural expert and responds to the participants’ actions and communication. Furthermore Claudia “mirrors” behaviour. This method by the Institut Synergie is globally unique and has received several international awards.

Claudia's first book MESCHUGGE SIND WIR BEIDE “We are both meshuga. Our German – Israeli love story” was published in German in June 2017 by Eden Books Verlag. The Goethe-Institut and the Frankfurter Buchmesse chose Meschugge sind wir beide for the 2017 International Book Fair in Jerusalem/ Israel.

www.claudiaschwartz.de - English

Shaul Bustan, born in 1983 in a small kibbuz in the Negev desert, the Israeli composer, conductor and multi-instrumentalist Shaul Bustan started playing classical music on the mandolin from a very young age. Growing up between two worlds, to a Persian mother and an Eastern European father, he was not only influenced by this on a personal level. Also musically, he has been a frequent traveler between these two worlds. Till today, Shauls musical language are the unique sounds and combinations of orient and occident.

Shaul graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in 2009, holding a master’s degree in composition. Among his teachers were violinist Motti Smidt, composer Haim Permont, and conductor and composer Aharon Harlap.

Throughout his career, he has composed over 300 pieces; from opera to chamber and orchestral music to music for film, theatre and dance. Shauls music has been performed in concerts internationally by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israeli Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony (USA), the Tiroler Ensemble für Neue Musik - Innsbruck (Austria), Musica Nova Ensemble (Israel), Meitar Ensemble (Israel) as well as by the mandolinist Avi Avital, the klezmer maestro Giora Feidman and at the Schleswig-Holstein music festival.

Since 2011, Shauls is based in Berlin. As well as working as a musical director and composer in diverse theatre projects, he conducts several choirs in Berlin and performs regularly throughout Germany with his trio. And he has put his focus on composing and performing his own music on the Oud.

He won the Chana Avni-Yaddor's Composition Competition (2007-2008), the 2005/6 Deborah Grossman Award for Excellence in Music Education, and was awarded scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (2002-08) and the Berlin Senate in the JAZZ composition section (2017).



Radio Interviews (in German)

Newspaper articles (in German)

Voices to our program

“The love story between the German actor Claudia Schwartz and the Israeli composer Shaul Bustan is a contribution to humanity.”

“A story full of differences that goes its own way despite all prejudices.“

“A heart-warming and true story of a great love. But because Claudia's grandfather was a Wehrmacht soldier and Shaul's grandfather a Holocaust survivor, the lovers' are confronted with past and future, two countries and traditions. In the end, two very different families become one. And into this one you would very much like to marry into.”

“(…) Claudia Schwartz tells us what they experience and experienced in her equally cheerful and sometimes disturbing book We are both meshugga.”

"It may be that love makes us sometimes meshugga (crazy). But it can also, as Claudia Schwartz shows with her amusing and moving book, reconcile the past with the present.“

(..) the unusual love story of Claudia Schwartz and Shaul Bustan knocked the audience off their seats. (...) Humorous, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes terrifyingly direct the performance describes the experiences when a German, whose grandfather was a Wehrmacht soldier, meets an Israeli who is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor. (..) The performance on the stage electrified everyone. Above all, the actress convinced with the talent to slip into many of the characters sketched by her and to bring them to life. Shaul Bustan, on the other hand, acted as a resting counterpart - always supporting his wife. His virtuoso lute play entranced the audience time and time again. (..) Her book "We are both meshugga" clears prejudices, finds an insistent way to make visible the horror of the Holocaust and yet is a love story told with a lot of humour - definitely recommended! (..) Claudia Schwartz expressed that she dedicates this evening to the victims of Halle.“

“Humorously but by no means superficially, the Swabian actress Claudia Schwartz and the Israeli composer Shaul Bustan shed light on how they came together despite their different cultures and highly contradicting family histories.”

(…) Claudia S. C. Schwartz manages to maintain a light narrative style, which means that you don't want to put the book down until the end. Her gestures and facial expressions at the reading and her interaction with Shaul are also amusing. This enriches the reading performance with his pieces of music on the oud. The book and the reading show in an extremely entertaining way how funny and meshugga the German-Israeli relations and sensitivities can be. Both absolutely recommended! „

“Schwartz has found a perfect middle ground: informative, important but extremely depressing accounts of the times of the Holocaust are embedded in touching stories about family, cohesion and survival. I'm really not a lover of love stories. I do not need Hollywood ends either. Here we read a story completely without kitsch, but with all the more feeling. But that's not the point. That would be nice, but not worth 5 stars because it is nothing special. It would not have blown me away. Because you've read it that way or something like that many times before. So what is special? This book has really touched me as a manifesto to the peace that it really is. In each story an outstretched hand swings along, an effort to overcome inequalities and obstacles to finally find together and not to be stopped by the fact that you may believe something else, speak differently, maybe be different somehow. That you might just look behind the facade. Because at the core, that is all nothing, as long as we can get involved in each other. This book is full of hope that we will finally break down walls that have been standing for too long - in Israel and Palestine, but also here with us.”

„(…) Swabian alp meets Israeli desert, Maultaschen meets hummus - the love story of the German Claudia Schwartz and the Israeli Shaul Bustan connects cultures, differences and religions […] As part of the Jewish Culture Days Rhine-Ruhr, the reading especially came to life due to Schwartz’ wonderful performance […] In the end there was a lot of applause for the amusing but also thought-provoking reading. "



© 2019 Claudia S.C. Schwartz. No use of the shown pictures and videos without prior permission!
Photos by: Jan von Holleben, Chen Wagshall