Lives in shared books: Joachim Esberg and Willy Roggeman

This page is part of our exhibition archive. The exhibition took place from 08-11-2019 to 30-11-2019

Levens in gedeelde boeken: Joachim Esberg en Willy Roggeman

Since 2008, the archive of the Flemish author Willy Roggeman (° 1934) has been kept in the Ghent University Library of Ghent. Roggeman also donated more than 4,500 books to UGent in the course of his career. The majority of them bear a stamp with which the author identified his collection.

This is not the case for 74 books. Roggeman found the books in the spring of 1953. He then studied at the University of Ghent. The books belonged to a Jewish woman whose name is written in the majority of them: Suse Esberg. Sometimes in the form of a signature, sometimes in a beautifully designed ex libris.
Roggeman has never met Suse Esberg. The woman died when he was 9 months old. Until recently, he only knew the name where she once lived in addition to her name: Wolfenbüttel, a German town about 600 kilometers from where Roggeman lived all his life: Ninove, East Flanders.

In this exhibition we return to the moment when Willy Roggeman found the books of Suse Esberg. We find out how and when they ended up in Ghent. The books quickly turn out to tell different stories. That of the woman herself (1895-1935), but also that of her son Joachim (1916-1942) and her husband Ivan (1886-1987). They are all tragic stories about the cruelty of a world fire that couldn't be stopped by a book.
Curator: Jürgen Pieters

Related content