Autumn 2020

New Insiders/Outsiders online events programme

25 October – 4 November


We were delighted to announce a third programme of exciting online events on topics related to the theme of Insiders/Outsiders. As before, all events were free, but in order to help us continue our activities into next year and beyond, a donation of at least £5 per event would be hugely appreciated. To donate, click here.


André Derain: Pinède à Cassis (detail), 1907

The programme opened on Sunday 25 October with a very special and highly topical event. René Gimpel of London art gallery Gimpel Fils was in conversation with Sue Grayson Ford MBE about the landmark ruling made at the end of September by a French court of appeal that three paintings by André Derain seized during the Nazi Occupation of France must finally be restituted to the family of the original owner, his grandfather, the eminent Paris art dealer Rene Gimpel, who died at Neuengamme concentration camp in 1945. The family’s campaign to reclaim other looted artworks continues. This event was held in partnership with the Association of Jewish Refugees. To watch a recording of this event, click here.


Still from River of Steel, directed by Peter Sachs

On Monday 26 October, Professor Fran Lloyd (Kingston School of Art) gave a talk about her research into a group of talented and innovative animation film-makers – notably, Peter Sachs, Peter Strausfeld and George Hoellering – who came to the UK as refugees from central Europe and helped transform the face of animation in this country during World War Two and in the post-war period. The event was chaired by Jez Stewart, Curator (Animation) at the BFI National Archive, British Film Institute. To watch a recording of this event, click here.



Camp L, Quebec City, Canada. Library and Archives Canada

In the summer of 1940, more than 3,000 refugees — among them 2,300 German and Austrian Jews aged 16 to 60 and many of them artists and intellectuals — were sent to Canada and interned in guarded camps in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. On Tuesday 27 October, to continue marking the 80th anniversary of the British government’s internment of so-called ‘enemy aliens’ in 1940, Nancy Greenspan talked about World War Two internment in Canada, an aspect of this morally murky historical episode that to this day remains under-examined. To watch a recording of this event, click here.



Rudolf von Laban

On Wednesday 28 October Dr.Marion Kant (University of Cambridge), co-author of Hitler’s Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third Reich, talked about pioneering German-born dance theorist/choreographer Rudolf von Laban, who came to the UK in 1938 and went on to exert a huge influence on the development of modern expressive dance in this country. What remains conveniently under-scrutinised, however, is the fact that the non-Jewish Laban was more than willing in the early days of the Third Reich to embrace its ideology, to work for the Nazis and to lie about it later.

The session was moderated by Dr.Clare Lidbury (Reader in Dance, University of Wolverhampton). To watch a recording of this event, click here.


Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, © estate of Peter Rauter

On Thursday 29 October , in an event dedicated to photographer Peter Rauter, Andrea Rauter talked to her brother’s former assistant Alex Schneideman about the remarkable family background they shared (their father was the émigré musician Ferdinand Rauter), and Peter’s work as a photographer, cut short by his early death in 2006. Their conversation was moderated by Ian Lillicrapp and followed by cultural historian Daniel Snowman talking about some of the eminent sitters who feature in Peter’s ‘Immigrants of Influence’ photographic portrait series, taken in the 1990s – among them, art historian Sir Ernst Gombrich, pianist Paul Hamburger, artist Marie-Louise von Motesiczky and drama critic and scholar Martin Esslin. To watch a recording of this event, click here.


Laelia Goehr, Yemenite Jewish Girl, Israel, 1951

On the same day Julia Crockatt was in conversation with John March about her remarkable grandmother Laelia Goehr (1908-2002). Born into a well-to-do Jewish family in Kiev, she showed a talent for music from an early age. Soon after the Russian Revolution, the family moved to Berlin (via Warsaw), where Laelia in due course became part of a successful cabaret duo called The Stone Sisters. In 1930 she married the conductor and composer Walter Goehr, and in 1933 the couple fled to the safety of England, where she established herself as a serious photographer.

This talk coincided with the launch of a website, which for the first time reveals the true extent of her photographic output, which ranged from images of eminent musicians and dancers through street photography to portraits, nudes, flowers and animals. This event was held in partnership with Four Corners, London. To watch a recording of this event, click here.


Ralph Koltai, set design for Simon Boccanegra, 1997

On Sunday 1 November a star-studded event paid tribute to Ralph Koltai CBE RDI (1924-2018). Born in Berlin in 1924, Koltai came to England in 1939 and after serving with British Intelligence at the Nuremberg Trials and on War Crimes Interrogation, and in the post-war period gained a reputation as one of the most original stage designers working in the UK. He carried on working (mainly on sculptural reliefs) until the time of his death, having designed some 250 productions of opera, dance, drama and musical theatre across the world.

Scenographer Pamela Howard lead a conversation with theatre director Di Trevis, Charles Woolff of Talbot Designs Ltd. and actor Simon Callow. There also was an opportunity to see extracts from a film-in-progress about this prodigiously gifted and charismatic individual.


Abbatt Toys: Modern Toys for Modern Children book cover

On Monday 2 November art, architecture and design historian Alan Powers discussed the subject of his latest book, Abbatt Toys: Modern Toys for Modern Children, published on 29 October. Abbatt Toys was founded in Wimpole Street, London by Paul & Marjorie Abbatt in the early 1930s. Alan’s talk will explore not only the toys themselves, but also the modernist context of their ethos, designs and shop, which embraced the likes of architect Ernö Goldfinger, photographer Edith Tudor-Hart and other less well-known émigrés such as Franz Singer, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, and Milan Morgenstern. The session was moderated by cultural historian and author of The History of Toys Deborah Jaffé. To watch a recording of this event, click here.


The Painter’s Hidden Masterpiece: the story of Johannes Matthaeus Koelz, book cover (detail)

On Tuesday 3 November Simon Lake, former curator of the German Expressionist collection in Leicester, will talk about his new book, The Painter’s Hidden Masterpiece: the story of Johannes Matthaeus Koelz. Koelz was a non-Jewish Bavarian realist painter, born in 1895, who fought in World War One and won the Iron Cross, yet between 1930-37 secretly created a powerfully expressionist, monumental anti-war and anti-fascist triptych called Thou Shalt Not Kill. Forced to dismember the work in 1937, when facing imminent arrest, he escaped Germany, finally reaching England in 1939 with his family. It was only after her father’s death in 1971 that the artist’s daughter Ava Farrington began a search for the lost triptych. The event was chaired by art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen, initiator and director of the Insiders/Outsiders Festival. To watch a recording of this event, click here. 


Ernst Eisenmayer, Untitled, (Internment Camp, Isle of Man), 1940 (detail), Ben Uri Collection, London

On Wednesday 4 November Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History at Manx National Heritage, provided a fascinating insight into the rich archival material relating to the British Government’s internment in 1940 of so-called “enemy aliens” still held by Manx National Heritage on the Isle of Man.

This event was chaired by Dawn Waterman, Archives and Heritage Manager at the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who also talked about the new Hidden Treasures: Celebrating Jewish Archives in Britain project which she initiated. To watch a recording of this event, click here.



Margarete Klopfleisch, Despair, 1941 (detail)

This was followed on the same day by a presentation by David Wertheim and others associated with the Rushen Heritage Trust about the (until recently, rarely examined) experiences of the women internees on the Isle of Man, in Port St. Mary and Port Erin in the picturesque south of the island. Particular emphasis is put on the artists – among them, Margarete Klopfleisch – who were interned there, but other topics covered include the camp commandant Dame Joanna Cruickshank and the way in which the camp was organised; the education of children; the Service Exchange (set up by Ruth Borchard, later to become an important art collector and the subject of an exhibition on display on the Isle of Man from October 2020 to January 2021 and a new film by Richard Shaw) and the repatriation of the internees. To watch a recording of this event, click here.


We are also pleased to announce that the companion volume to the Festival, Insiders/Outsiders: Refugees from Nazi Europe and their Contribution to British Visual Culture is being offered at a 35% discount until the end of 2020. Please use code inside35 when ordering online.


As will be evident from the three programmes of free online events we’ve already organized, we are determined that the Insiders/Outsiders Festival should have a rich afterlife. But we need your help. So please consider making a donation to the Insiders/Outsiders Arts Foundation (registered charity number 1182867) to enable us to continue with our (entirely not-for-profit) activities.


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