The calendar year may be coming to an end, but the festival continues until March 2020! December highlights include the launch of Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art, a major new touring exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol, as well as a number of film screenings and talks, details of which are given below.


Hollow Triumph: CineClub

3 December 7:00 pm

Austrian Cultural Forum, London

Based on Murray Forbes’ story of the same title, this film follows John Muller’s (played by Austrian-born actor Paul Henreid) escape from mobsters into more danger. The protagonist’s cynical view of human blindness provides an ironic and surprising ending to this true noir.

US 1948, 83 minutes, directed by Steve Sekely and Paul Henreid (uncredited).


“A Camp full of Once and Future Very Important Persons”: Fred Uhlman and Kurt Schwitters in Internment

Lecture by Professor Charmian Brinson

4 December, 6:00pm

Senate House, University of London, Room 243

This illustrated talk, followed by a Q &A, is the last in a series of lectures entitled Aspects of Exile, running from February to December 2019, which have been given by members of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, based at the Institute for Modern Languages Research, University of London. All the speakers have a strong interest in German-speaking exile from Nazism.

Attendance is free, but advance online booking is strongly recommended.


Ernst Schoen – the life of an anti-fascist radio pioneer

4 December 7:00 pm, tickets £5 – £7

Bishopsgate Institute, London

Taking the form of a live radio presentation, this evening will highlight the fascinating life of Ernst Schoen (1884–1960), radio practitioner, writer, composer and lifelong anti-fascist, as presented by Dr Esther Leslie and Dr Sam Dolbear.

Ernst Schoen, director of Radio Frankfurt and the friend and associate of Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler and Anton von Webern, was arrested in 1934 for alleged crimes against the Third Reich. Escaping to London, he continued his work as a radical socialist activist and writer from exile. Schoen was also a composer and some of his beautiful 12 tone compositions will be presented separately at a free lunchtime concert on 20 March 2020 in the Great Hall at Bishopsgate Institute.


Talk by David Herman: The Jew as an Outsider?

7 December, 3.45pm

North London Synagogue, at Rabbi Wittenberg’s home

This talk by journalist David Herman looks at the impact of Jewish refugee artists, writers and thinkers on post-war Britain. Some fitted in quickly and became insiders: Nobel Prize winning scientists like Ernst Chain and Max Born, filmmakers like Alexander Korda and Emeric Pressburger, writers like Arthur Koestler and thinkers like Isaiah Berlin and Karl Popper. But others remained outsiders, many for the rest of their lives: Expressionist artists, Yiddish poets, Marxists, maverick historians like Norbert Elias, those who couldn’t learn English like the theatre critic Alfred Kerr. Why did some fit in, while others couldn’t? And who were the real outsiders?


Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art

14 December to 1 March 2020

Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

This major touring exhibition, curated by Dr Peter Wakelin, is a timely exploration of the impact of artist refugees on art in Britain, taking a perspective across the last 150 years.

This exhibition’s main focus is the crucial influence of émigrés who came from eastern and central Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. It explores how they were perceived by their peers in Britain and the extent to which their influence excited or inspired new art. Exhibited artists include Joan Eardley, Naum Gabo, Humberto Gatica-Leyton, Mona Hatoum, Barbara Hepworth, Josef Herman, Samira Kitman, Josef Koudelka, Hanaa Malallah, Ben Nicholson, Camille Pissarro, Zory Shahrokhi, Kurt Schwitters and Walid Siti.

A substantial book by Peter Wakelin, published by Sansom & Co., will accompany the exhibition.