Between Departure and Arrival: Re-Assessing the Work of Ilse Aichinger and Helga Michie

15 January to 17 January, free

Austrian Cultural Forum and Senate House, London

Twin sisters Ilse Aichinger and Helga Michie responded to the tremors of the 20th century through different creative media. This international conference is the first time that their oeuvres in literature and the visual arts are examined conjointly and considered as reflections of personal experience and in the context of their time.

Speakers include Professor Rüdiger Görner, Dr Christine Ivanovic, Professor Dolors Sabaté Planes and Dr Geoff Wilkes.

Talk: Judith Kerr by David Herman

18 January, 3.45 pm, free

New North London Synagogue, at Rabbi Wittenberg’s home, London

The recent death of the famous children’s writer, Judith Kerr received an enormous amount of attention. Many of her best-known books have been loved by generations of young children. This talk focuses on her famous autobiographical trilogy about coming to England as a child refugee and what this tells us about the experience of fleeing from Nazism, in particular the darker side of the refugee experience. David Herman is the son of Josef and Nini Herman, both of whom came to England from central Europe, and has written widely on the experience and impact of Jewish refugees.

Talk: From Heartfield to Memes: Lessons from History by Sabine Kriebel

22 January, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, free

Four Corners, London

To coincide with the Heartfield: One Man’s War exhibition at Four Corners (until 1 February), art historian Sabine Kriebel discusses the significance of John Heartfield’s mass-circulation photomontages in today’s era of the meme.

Critical photomontage seems to be making a comeback as meme. Made from reconfigured and recombined photographs (among other things), memes can be posted, circulated, and re-circulated in the digital age with a speed, ease, and reach that radical artists such as Heartfield could only dream of a century ago. This talk explores some of the crucial complexities of Heartfield’s popular, mass-circulation photomontages that illuminate how much they still have to teach us in the present, volatile, technologically-savvy moment.

Talk: Outsider – Yet Belonging by Jonathan Wittenberg

26 January, 8.00 pm, £8

New North London Synagogue, London

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg reflects on the life and teachings of Rabbi Albert Friedlander and Rabbi Hugo Gryn, together with their families and students.

Albert Friedlander fled Germany as a child after Kristallnacht; Hugo Gryn survived Auschwitz. Both went on to teach and preach in Britain and across the world. Each of them reflected in different ways on the horrors of racism, the nature of identity and what a truly plural society needs to look like. Their legacies are of supreme importance today, when populism is again on the rise.

Belonging and not Belonging

29 January, 4.15pm, free


Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

To coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day 2020, Monica Bohm-Duchen, the initiator and Creative Director of the Insiders/Outsiders Festival, will reflect upon her experience of working on the project, and Norbert Meyn, a professional tenor and the initiator of Singing a Song in a Foreign Land will give a talk-cum-recital about his on-going research on émigré musicians and composers.

At 7.30pm, Gideon Klein: Portrait of a Composer written and devised by David Fligg, portrays, for the first time, the Czech-Jewish composer Gideon Klein’s pre-war life. This theatrical presentation features three actors from the MMU School of Theatre, with music by Klein, Mozart, Hindemith and Janáček performed by the Theseus Quartet. It gives an account of artistic and Jewish life in Prague immediately before, and during, the German occupation, and of Gideon’s struggles to survive imprisonment. Klein was murdered at Auschwitz in 1945.

George Him: A Polish Designer for Mid-Century Britain

31 January to 10 May, £8.50 (concessions available)

House of Illustration, London

The first ever retrospective of the work of the Polish-Jewish émigré who brought European modernist aesthetics to British graphic design.

Spanning George Him’s long and versatile career as both an independent designer and as one half of the prolific Lewitt-Him partnership (1933-1954), the exhibition includes previously unseen working sketches, original artwork and ephemera alongside Him’s most iconic wartime propaganda posters for the Ministries of Food and Information, corporate branding for El Al airlines and adverts for clients like Schweppes, Technicolor, the Post Office and The Times.