July/August 2020

Insiders/Outsiders online events

20 July – 2 August 2020


Following the lively programme of events held to coincide with this year’s Refugee Week (15-21 June), we were pleased to announce a further series of free online events for late July.


On Monday 20 July Daniel Snowman, social and cultural historian and author of The Hitler Emigres: The Cultural Impact on Britain of Refugees from Nazism, gave an introductory talk on the immense contribution of the émigrés to the British music world as composers, performers, musicologists and entrepreneurs.  From the creation of Glyndebourne in 1934 and the overwhelming success of the Amadeus Quartet for nearly 40 years following their formation in 1948 to Georg Solti’s music directorship of the Royal Opera House in the 1960s and Claus Moser’s chairmanship of the ROH in the ‘70s and ‘80s, both individually and collectively they helped form what we can now see as something of a golden age in the musical life of their new ‘Heimat’.

To watch a recording of the event, click here.

Image: Milein Cosman, Otto Klemperer (detail) circa 1970. By kind permission of the Estate of Milein Cosman Keller.


This was followed by Beyond Barbed Wire: Musicians in Mooragh Internment Camp, Ramsey, Isle of Man, an event exploring the life of Mooragh Camp through the eyes of three musicians interned there in 1940: the pianist Ferdinand Rauter, the conductor and composer Peter Gellhorn, and the musical writer Hans Keller, all of whom made important contributions to British musical life after the war. Norbert Meyn, leader of the Royal College of Music’s project on the legacy of émigré musicians from Nazi Europe, led a discussion with Andrea Rauter, who is translating the internment diary of her father Ferdinand, and Alison Garnham, biographer of Hans Keller.

To watch a recording of this event, click here.

This session was held in partnership with the Association of Jewish Refugees.


On Tuesday 21 July, Jonathan Lichtenstein was in conversation with Gaby Koppel about his forthcoming book The Berlin Shadow: Living with the Ghosts of the Kindertransport. A formally audacious and deeply moving memoir in three timeframes that confronts the defining trauma of the twentieth century and its effects on a father and son, the book will be published by Scribner on 6 August. Gaby Koppel is the author of Reparation, published last year. This event was held in association with Jewish Book Week.

To watch a recording of this event click here.




And on the same day, Nicola Beauman, founding director of Persephone Books, gave a talk about The Oppermanns by Lion Feuchtwanger, a vivid and disturbingly prophetic novel about a German-Jewish family, first published in 1933 and recently re-issued by Persephone. The idea for the novel came from the British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald, who knew Feuchtwanger and contacted him in April 1933, suggesting that he write the script for a film that would warn the world of the dangers of Nazism. When the film project was cancelled, Feuchtwanger decided to turn the script into a novel, which became a bestseller but subsequently fell into obscurity.

Nicola was joined by Edgar Feuchtwanger, eminent historian and nephew of Lion Feuchtwanger.

To watch a recording of this event click here.


On Wednesday 22 July Valeria Carullo, photographs curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) considered the activities of the RIBA Refugee Committee, set up in early 1939, and talked about her ongoing research project, which aims at creating an interactive database of the European (mostly Jewish) architects who, directly or indirectly, contacted the Committee in the hope of receiving support. Architectural historian Irena Murray then focussed on the Czech and Slovak refugee architects who found sanctuary in the UK, as well as those who tried to get here but failed. The event was held in association with the Czech Centre, London.

To watch a recording of this event click here.

Image: Gustav and Gusti Feuer, RIBA Collections


On Thursday 23 July there was a screening (in association with the Hungarian Cultural Centre) of The Animated World of Halas & Batchelor, a new film directed by Richard Shaw exploring the work of John Halas and Joy Batchelor. John was a Jewish refugee from Hungary, Joy was a working-class girl from Watford; together they revolutionised British animation, creating a string of innovative shorts to support the war effort and the fledging welfare state, as well as the first cartoon feature film in British cinema history, Animal Farm of 1954. The screening was followed by a Q&A with their daughter Vivien Halas, Curator of Animation at the BFI National Archive Jez Stewart and film director/animator Joanna Quinn, chaired by Martin Pickles, director of the London Animation Club.

The film can be viewed here until 30th July: The Animated World of Halas and Batchelor. To watch a recording of the Q&A which followed the online screening click here.


On Sunday 26 July at 4pm, tenor Norbert Meyn and pianist Christopher Gould will give a teatime recital – live-streamed on YouTube from their socially-distanced rehearsal room – of works by Robert Kahn and Egon Wellesz, both émigré composers to the UK, as well as by Johannes Brahms, whose songs represent the German lieder tradition to which so many of the émigrés were devoted. And why not join Norbert and Chris for a cup of tea and a chat on Zoom after the performance?

To watch a recording of this event click here.



On Monday 27 July, Matthew Perlman was in conversation with his extraordinary grandmother, Hungarian-born expressionist painter Suzanne Perlman. Born in 1922 into a cultured Budapest Jewish family, she moved first to Holland and then to Paris, and managed to escape to Curaçao (in the Dutch Antilles) at the end of August 1940. She has been living in London since 1990.

To watch a recording of this event click here.

Image: Self Portrait (detail), Suzanne Perlman, 2002, The Ruth Borchard Collection


This was followed by poet and sculptor Stephen Duncan talking about the life and work of his mother, Berlin-born poet Beata Duncan, who came to the UK in 1934. Her father was Hans Rehfisch, described as ‘the most successful playwright of the Weimar period’; her mother Lilli Dora Rehfisch was an early Adlerian psychoanalyst. Stephen has already edited two volumes of his mother’s poetry, Berlin Blues (2017) and Breaking Glass (2019) and is currently working on a new anthology entitled ‘Forgive me, Virginia!’.

To watch a recording of this event click here.


On Tuesday 28 July Alan Powers, author of Bauhaus Goes West (2019), gave a talk entitled ‘What did you do in the war, Bauhäusler?’ about the contribution of former teachers and students at the German Bauhaus – among them, Lucia Moholy-Nagy, Naum Slutzky, Margaret Leischner and René Halkett – to the British war effort, from propaganda broadcasts in German to the development of microfilm for scientific documents.

To watch a recording of this event click here.

Image: René Halkett, Self-Portrait, 1940



This was followed by a session about the still little-known but hugely significant Reimann School, a pioneering art and design school set up in Berlin in 1902. Forced to re-establish itself in London in 1936, it became the first unashamedly commercial art school in this country. Participants in this event, which was chaired by Monica Bohm-Duchen, founding director of the Insiders/Outsiders Festival, were Sue Breakell and Lesley Whitworth, both Senior Research Fellows at the University of Brighton Design Archives, and design historian Anna Nyburg.

To watch a recording of this event click here.


On Wednesday 29 JulyNancy Greenspan gave a talk about her new book The Atomic Spy. German by birth, British by naturalization, Communist by conviction, Klaus Fuchs was a fearless Nazi resister, a brilliant scientist, and an infamous spy. He was convicted of espionage by Britain in 1950 for handing over the designs of the plutonium bomb to the Soviets, thereby putting an end to America’s nuclear hegemony and single-handedly heating up the Cold War. But was Klaus Fuchs really evil? The session was chaired by Stewart Purvis, co-author of Guy Burgess: The Spy Who Knew Everyone (tbc).

To watch a recording of this event click here.



On Thursday 30 July there was a very special event focussing on father and daughter Arnold and Alma Rosé, prompted by the early closure of an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Music. Beth Snyder, Research Fellow at the Royal College of Music, gave a talk about Romanian-born violinist and leader of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Arnold Rosé, who managed to flee to Britain in 1939; while conductor Karin Hendrickson told the tragic but inspiring story of Alma, who led the Women’s Orchestra in Auschwitz, where she met her death. This was followed by cellist and Auschwitz survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who herself played in that orchestra, in conversation with her grandson, cellist and baritone Simon Wallfisch.

This session was held in partnership with the Association of Jewish Refugees.


And finally, in association with Four Corners, on Sunday 2 August, Nissan Perez, former Curator of Photography at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, gave a talk about the topic of his book Displaced Visions: Émigré Photographers of the 20th Century, which accompanied a major exhibition held at the Israel Museum in 2013. In it, Nissan reconsiders the work and influence of key figures in modernist photography from the point of view of their status as refugees or immigrants, considering how this condition affected their vision and creativity and enhanced the development of the photographic language in general. The session was chaired by photographic historian and curator Colin Ford CBE and held in association with Four Corners, London.

To watch a recording of this event click here.


If you didn’t catch all the events held online between 15 and 21 June to coincide with Refugee Week 2020 and want to listen to them now, click here.


As will be evident from the two 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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