June 2022

This year’s UK Refugee Week takes place between 20 and 26 June. Insiders/Outsiders has always been keen to make links between the experience of refugees past and present, and with recent events in Ukraine this seems more urgent and necessary than ever. We’re therefore delighted to announce a rich and varied offering of relevant events, both face-to-face (at last!) and online. Read on to find out more…

On Wednesday 1 June at 5pm UK time, Monica Bohm-Duchen, founding director of Insiders/Outsiders, is giving a talk for the US-based Fritz Ascher Societyabout the remarkable Berlin-born Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon, creator of Life? or Theatre?, an ambitious fictive autobiography which deploys both images and text, and a wide range of musical, artistic, literary and cinematic references. Salomon found illusory refuge in the South of France but perished in Auschwitz in 1943.

For further information and to register, click here.

Image: Charlotte Salomon, Leben? oder Theater? [Life? or Theater?] (detail), ca. 1940-2. Collection Jewish Museum, Amsterdam. © Charlotte Salomon Foundation

On Thursday 9 June at 6.30pm, tribute will be paid to Hungarian-born stained glass artist Ervin Bossányi, best known for the windows he created for Canterbury Cathedral. Taking part are his granddaughter Ilona Bossányi, Alfred Fisher, who worked with Bossányi in London as a young man, stained glass expert Caroline Swash and Revd. Jonathan Evens, an expert on modern religious art and interfaith issues. This live event is a partnership between Insiders/Outsiders and the Hungarian Cultural Centre, London and will be chaired by Monica Bohm-Duchen.

To book, click here.

Image: Ervin Bossányi

On Monday 13 June at 6pm UK time, US-based Dave Hannigan will talk about his new book Barbed Wire University: The Untold Story of the Interned Jewish Intellectuals Who Turned an Island Prison into the Most Remarkable School in the World, which explores the intellectual and creative life of Hutchinson Camp in Douglas on the Isle of Man. This event is held in partnership with Jewish Renaissance magazine, and acts as a follow-up to the very successful trip to the Isle of Man organised by Insiders/Outsiders and Jewish Renaissance in March this year.

To book, click here.

Image: Barbed Wire University, bookcover (detail)

On Tuesday 14 June at 6pm UK time, Berlin-based curator and art historian Dorothea Schöne will give an online talk about sculptor Jussuf Abbo. Born in Safed, Abbo moved to Germany in 1911, where he established a reputation for himself as a portrait sculptor and printmaker and an active member of the Berlin artistic avant-garde. In 1935, however, he was forced to flee Germany, and moved to England, where – despite a network of well-wishers and supporters – he struggled to re-establish his artistic career. He died in obscurity in London in 1953. Dorothea’s talk will focus on his London years, shedding light on the networks and protagonists engaged in supporting the exiled artist.

To book, click here.

Image: Jussuf Abbo, Head of a Black Man, c.1939

On Monday 20 June at 6pm, popular Holocaust historian and educator Mike Levy will give an online talk about his latest book, Get the Children Out! Unsung Heroes of the Kindertransport, in which he shines a light on the courageous deeds of twenty-two women and men – most of them overlooked until now – who transformed the lives of the Kindertransport children and other refugees to the UK.

To book, click here.

Image: Get the Children out! Unsung heroes of the Kindertransport, bookcover (detail)

On Tuesday 21 June at 2.30pm, art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen will give an in-person guided tour of Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain, 1945-1965, a fascinating exhibition currently showing at Barbican Art Gallery, which brings together art produced in direct and indirect response to the upheaval and trauma of World War II. Of the artists featured, a substantial number were Jewish refugees, among them Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud, Eva Frankfurther, Franciszka Themerson and Gustav Metzger. This event forms part of the Jewish Renaissance/Lyons Learning Project series entitled ‘Sacred and Profane: Jewish Art through the Ages’.

To book, click here.

Image: Franciszka and Stefan Themerson

On Thursday 23 June at 6pm, second generation composer Marilyn Herman will introduce a video-recorded recital of two new works. One is entitled Rozsa’s Wish, and is based on the last words of Marilyn’s grandmother, Rachel Rozsa, to her children before she was sent to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. The other is entitled The Angel of Chomutov, and pays tribute to the courage and compassion of a young Czech woman who risked and probably gave her life to hand Marilyn’s father a piece of bread, when aged fourteen, he was on a death march from Buchenwald.

For further information and to book, click here.

Image: The Angel of Chomutov

On Friday 24 June at 6pm, the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image in Bloomsbury, in partnership with Insiders/Outsiders, will host a live event called ‘Still Haunted by History’. This will comprise a screening of three recent short films by three Second Generation artists/film makers – The Donkey Field by Sarah Dobai, Home Movie by Caroline Pick and Kinder by Janet Eisenstein. Each screening will be followed by a Q&A, and the evening will conclude with a panel discussion with the film makers, chaired by Monica Bohm-Duchen.

For further details, and to book, click here.

Image: Janet Eisenstein, Kinder (still), 2019

On Monday 27 June at 6pm, playwright and actor Fanny Mills will speak about the hidden story of her family which had always shadowed her life, but which the Covid lockdown prompted her to research in detail. In her own words, “My [as yet unpublished] book charts the dismantling of a mystery. An unravelling of the story of why my fascinating family, Jewish on one side, and aristocratic British on the other, was completely blanked.” In telling the story, Fanny explores themes of exile, love and loss and asks why the talented but flawed women of her family were comprehensively written out of history.

To book, click here.

Image: Sketch of Fanny by Emmanuel Levy

On Tuesday 28 June at 1pm, there will be an online talk by Sue Grayson Ford and Cherith Summers on ‘The Emigres who Transformed the British Art World’. Get to know the émigrés who, having fled Nazi Europe, embraced the future and introduced avant-garde European and British artists to the public and press. These pioneering dealers, three of them women, transformed the London gallery scene. Sue and Cherith were co-curators of Brave New Visions: The Émigrés who Transformed the British Art World, an exhibition which took place at Sotheby’s in 2019 under the auspices of the original Insiders/Outsiders Festival.

This event forms part of the Jewish Renaissance/Lyons Learning Project series ‘Sacred and Profane: Jewish Art through the Ages’. To book, click here.

Image: Andras Kalman with Graham Sutherland painting

Other Relevant Events

On Wednesday 8 June at 12 noon, Australian academics Jane Eckett and Sheridan Palmer will give an online talk about the Abbey Arts Centre, a remarkable but little-known artistic community in north London, entitled ‘Marginalised Spaces and Émigré Artists’. The talk forms part of ‘Liquid Crystal Concrete,: The Arts in Postwar Britain 1945–1965’, a series of summer research seminars organised by the Paul Mellon Centre.

For further details, click here.

Image: Douglas Green, Grahame King and Inge King at the Abbey Art Centre, London, c. 1950 (detail). Photo: unknown photographer, National Gallery of Australia Research Library, Papers of Inge King, MS80.

On Wednesday 29 June at 6pm, Dolors Sabaté Planes will give an online talk entitled ‘Erna Pinner’s Graphic and Literary Production in London Exile: An Example of Cultural and Ideological Transference’. The seminar focuses on German-born artist Erna Pinner’s graphic and literary work, with particular emphasis on how the ideological discourse that influenced her work during the interwar period was transferred to her artistic production during her years of exile in London. This event is organised by the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, University of London.

To register, click here.

Image: Erna Pinner, Mounted Puppet from Das Puppenbuch, 1921 (public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

More New Publications

John Hilary: From Refugees to Royalty: The Remarkable Story of the Messel Family of Nymans

Nymans is one of the National Trust’s most popular properties, a vision of English tradition amid a landscape of rolling woodland. Yet appearances can be deceptive. The manor house  is just a hundred years old, and the Messel family who built it were not English aristocracy but German Jewish immigrants. From Refugees to Royalty is the first book to chart the extraordinary journey of the Messel family from their roots in Germany to their new life in England.

Image: Bookcover

Sarah Dobai: The Donkey Field 

This limited edition artist’s book – closely linked to a recent short film of the same name by Dobai (see above) – weaves a link between a racist attack on a young boy and the story of the persecution of Marie and Balthazar in the acclaimed film Au Hasard Balthazar(Robert Bresson, 1966). The book, which uses the format of a photo novella and loosely references a 1952 book by Jacques Prévert, features a text based on sections of a memoir of Budapest in 1944 and scenes which re-enact and reframe Bresson’s allegorical story about the scapegoating of innocent subjects.

For further information and to purchase, click here.

Image: Bookcover

Looking Ahead

Unfortunately, the talk by Anna Neima on Dartington Hall, scheduled for 6 June, has had to be cancelled. However, longer-term plans are afoot for a more ambitious event focussing on Dartington as a place of sanctuary in the 1930s. Details of this will be provided in due course.
But we can already confirm that on Thursday 21 July at 6.30pm, a hybrid event organised by the Wiener Holocaust Library in partnership with Insiders/Outsiders and the Association of Jewish Refugees will mark the publication of The School That Escaped the Nazis, a deeply moving new book about Bunce Court by Deborah Cadbury.

To book, click here.

Image: bookcover (detail)