On 16 March, 2019 we opened our exhibition Redrawing Stories from the Past: Escape and Migration at neurotitan (Rosenthalerstraße 39, 10178 Berlin). It recreates the escape routes of four individuals whose stories are depicted in the comics created for our project: Perla Frankel, Jonasz Blitt, Philipp Schwartz, and Heinz Skall. As Jews they were persecuted in and driven from their home countries by the National Socialists, forcing them to seek refuge in Southern Europe, Turkey and overseas.
Visitors to the exhibition are invited to retrace the different stages of their escape and to discover decisive historic and political events in 20th century Europe. The publication “Redrawing Stories from the Past: Escape and Migration” (kuš! #34) is on sale at the gallery shop. The exhibition will run until 6 April, 2019.
After an extended period of research and reflection, our team congregated again for the second workshop of “Redrawing Stories from the Past II: Escape and Migration in Europe” (July 1st to 6th, 2018). This time round, we travelled to Leipzig where we were hosted at ZusammenLeben e G in the beautiful district of Leipzig-Connewitz.
As all participating artists had already come up with possible story ideas, we went straight to work, discussing sources, angles and storyboards. Lina Itagaki will be telling the story of a Jewish family from Poland who fled to Kaunas, Lithuania, where they were issued visas for Japan by the Japanese vice consul who is now famous for helping Polish Jews escape Nazi persecution. Emilie Josso will be following various roads of displacement that criss-crossed Italy in the aftermath of WW2, joining the fates of Jewish, Ukrainian and Baltic refugees. Julia Kluge’s comic will depict the life of Philipp Schwartz, a Jewish professor at Frankfurt University, who helped fellow academics struggling to leave Nazi Germany by finding them positions at Turkish universities. Alice Socal will be focussing on southern Italy where Heinz Skall, born into a Jewish family in Prague, survived Nazi persecution and terror in a detention camp in Campagna.
Most workshop days were spent elaborating these plots and finalising storyboards. Sascha Hommer and Ole Frahm held consultation sessions with each of the artists, assisting them in finding additional sources and fine-tuning their storytelling approach.
Throughout the workshop, we had a number of visitors who were involved in the project on various levels: Johanna Wand of Goethe Institute Naples spent two days with us, reporting on our project for the Goethe Institutes in Italy. David Schilter of Latvian comics publisher kuš! joined us on Tuesday. As he will again be in charge of the final publication, we spent a lot of time discussing deadlines, measurements and layouts with him. Lilian Pithan, who takes care of our project PR, came for a visit on Thursday and helped videographer Johannes Buchholz record a short round of interviews with the artists.
On Thursday, we visited the Leipzig Nazi Forced Labour Memorial where we attended a guided tour of the permanent exhibition. This gave us a valuable insight into the workings and hierarchy of the forced labour system as well as its different stages during National Socialism in Leipzig.
So what’s up next? At the moment, all artists are working hard on creating their comics as the publication “Redrawing Stories from the Past 2” is scheduled for release in March 2019. It will be accompanied by an exhibition (March 16th to April 6th, 2019) at Berlin gallery neurotitan. We’ll keep you updated!
Besides giving lectures on storytelling and visualisation techniques, Sascha Hommer, comic artist, and Ole Frahm, historian, presented different approaches in dealing with topics such as escape and migration in comics. The historian Michael Hein gave a comprehensive overview of movements of flight and migration during the National-Socialist period. He then reflected on selected stories involving citizens of various European countries. At this point, the artists came up with story ideas of their own, which were then discussed in the group.
To discover the history of the region, the whole group took a trip to a former internment camp in Campagna (province of Salerno), just 1.5 hours away from Naples. We visited the museum and were introduced to the history of the camp, located in a former monastery in a small mountain village.
On the last day, Sascha Hommer and Ole Frahm held single consultations with the artists, focusing on story ideas and research techniques. We also discussed the future stages of our project, including the exhibition and publication with the Latvian publisher kuš!, scheduled for spring 2019.
Apart from working on their projects, the workshop participants had plenty of time to discover the city, visit comic exhibitions and meet local illustrators and artists. On the last evening, the Goethe Institute organised a public event, which gave us the opportunity to present our project to the public.
Our second workshop will be held in Leipzig in the first week of July.
Der MDR hat einen kurzen Beitrag über die Arbeit von dem am “Redrawing Stories from the Past” Projekt beteiligten Künstler Max Baitinger gemacht. Auch Ole Frahm kommt zu Wort. Ab Minute 20:45 geht’s hier los! Und auch die Ausstellung in Chemnitz wird beworben und zwar hier.