Film Series

A series of short filmed interviews to acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable contribution first and second generation refugees from Nazi Europe have made to the arts in Britain.

Interviews filmed by Andrew Snell, assisted by Eileen Hughes.

Andrew Snell is a television executive producer, consultant and trainer specialising in the development, shooting and delivery of original ideas for factual programmes and videos. He has an international reputation as a programme maker.



Carrying the Candle

“We were at home together, just the two of us, “ says the painter Barbara Loftus of her mother aged 85. “ She was looking at the china cabinet next to us and then she started to talk about the day the SA came to confiscate the porcelain, and I was so shocked I just felt I had a responsibility to do something.” Barbara’s mother, Hildegard, was 22 years old at the time of Kristallnacht in Berlin and had never previously spoken about her childhood there or of her family because Barbara’s Anglo-Irish father was vehemently anti-Zionist.

It became a compulsion for Barbara to explore as much as she could of her mother’s early life, the Tiergarten house where she lived and the family members who later perished. In her deeply evocative work, Barbara graphically inhabits the world they lived in and vicariously experiences some of their suffering.

Filmed and Edited by Andrew Snell with Eileen Hughes


Out of the Rubble

Ann Baer is 105 years old. She is known for her works of historical fiction but in this film she tells the story of her husband, Bernhard Baer.A German émigré, Baer used collotype printing machines dug from the rubble of post-war Berlin to create remarkable facsimile prints of contemporary artists’ work. He helped to make Ganymed Press pre-eminent among art publishers in Britain after the war. Filmed and Edited by Andrew Snell and Eileen Hughes with the kind assistance of Anna Nyburg.


My Finest Role

Actress and dancer, Ruth Posner, tells the story of her escape from the Warsaw Ghetto as a young girl and how she had to spend two years pretending to be a good Catholic girl to save her life. Later, she was to learn the terrible truth of what happened to her parents.


Inside the Outside

Julie Held is London born and bred. But her parents were refugees from Nazi Germany and in this film we see how her feelings about them and what they went through are reflected in her compelling portraits. Julie also delves into her extraordinary paintings of shops and shoes. They are visual metaphors for the feelings many refugees have of not quite belonging, but they also explore the roles we all forced to play and the transience of life itself; how today’s longed-for objects of beauty and seduction become tomorrow’s charity shop castoffs, waiting for a new life to animate them once again. Julie teaches at The Royal Drawing School and was the invited portrait artist at the Royal Portrait Exhibition 2018 where her painting of her elderly father, The Last Portrait, was shown.


The Precipice Behind

Ruth Rix was born in Leamington Spa. As a young girl she was constantly on the move with her mother, the artist Helga Michie, living in rented rooms in shared houses witnessing frequent comings and goings and hearing shocking stories of the fate of family members who had stayed behind in Vienna. Her paintings reflect this fractured world of moving huts and see-through houses with talismans like staircases and dogs witnessing all.


A Stark Struggle

Beate Planskoy tells the tragic story of her sister, Eva Frankfurther. The two young girls, aged 9 and 11, arrived in England as refugees in 1939. Separated from their parents and put to board with a witch of a landlady, they quickly had to learn to live in the unexpressive and stiff-upper-lip world that was Britain before the war. After attending St Martins’s School of Art, Eva chose to live in London’s East End so she could paint the people she cared for – dockers, factory workers and refugees from across the world. Her paintings and drawings reveal an empathy for her subjects that is rare among artists. After a visit to the newly-formed state of Israel in 1958, Eva returned to London but the starkness of her life became too much and she killed herself at the age of 28.


With thanks to Micropathology Ltd