Ilse Weber

"Homeward! Oh lovely word, you make my heart heavy." These are resounding words from Ilse Weber, who longed for home while imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, which was disguised as a "Jewish model settlement.” Born in 1903 in Moravian Ostrava, Weber, who was Jewish, had published stories, radio plays, fairy tales, and plays before her deportation. In the camp, the mother of two – one son was rescued into Swedish exile, the second was with her in Theresienstadt – gave comfort and hope as a helper in the children’s hospital.

Weber’s poetry survived the atrocities of National Socialism, though she and her son Tomáš did not: Her husband saved songs and poems that were hidden in a Theresienstadt shed. Many more were passed on orally and were written down by the surviving family after the war. It would be several decades before the painstakingly rescued texts could be recited and sung again: in 1991, the anthology "Inside These Walls, Sorrow Lives," was published.

In the project "Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt" [I’m Walking through Theresienstadt] students study the biographies and works of Ilse Weber and composers Pavel Haas and Hans Krása, who were also imprisoned in Theresienstadt. Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e. V. in cooperation with Ensemble OPUS 45

Hear More: musica reanimata: 82nd Lecture-recital. A Deutschlandfunk recording from May 22, 2008. The poet and singer Ilse Weber

Charlotte Charlaque

Charlotte Curtis Charlaque, Charlotte or Carlotta von Curtis or Baroness von Curtius: her complexity is expressed in the names she gave herself. Born into a Jewish family as Curt Scharlach, she already knew at age  seven that she did not identify with her biological sex and wanted to live as a woman. In 1929, sex reassignment surgery was performed. This makes Charlotte Charlaque one of the first people to change gender identity in this way. The costs of the operation were covered by a doctor from the "Institut für Sexualwissenschaft" [Institute of Sex Research], where Charlotte Charlaque also worked. The institute was a contact point for people with "sexual intermediacies,” as the founder Magnus Hirschfeld called homosexuals or transgender people.Charlotte Charlaque and her girlfriend first fled to Carlsbad and then to Prague to escape hostility against queers and Jews. When she was to be deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, Charlotte Charlaque managed to escape to the USA via detours, making use of her powers of persuasion.

In New York she led a modest life. She performed as an actress and singer and was known as the "Queen of Brooklyn Heights Promenade.” In 1963 she died in New York, where she had been close to many artists and took a public stand on gender reassignment surgery: Charlotte Charlaque was one of the first activists for the rights of transgender people.

In the project "Remapping Refugee Stories 1933–53”  escape stories of people who were victims of National Socialist injustice are retold or shared for the first time in texts, pictures, and movies as well as on an interactive world map. University of Vienna

Read More: Wolfert, Raimund: Charlotte Charlaque. Transfrau, Laienschauspielerin, "Königin der Brooklyn Heights Promenade"   [Charlotte Charlaque. Transwoman, amateur actress, “Queen of Brooklyn Heights Promenade],” 2021


Vladimir Perić Walter

The final scene of "Valter brani Sarajevo/Walter defends Sarajevo" commemorates the partisan for whom the film is named:  "Do you see this city?" one German soldier asks another, pointing to Sarajevo. "That is Walter." The 1972 movie tells the story of Vladimir Perić, better known by his battle name Walter. Born in Prijepolje in 1919, he joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia at the age of 21. In the year of the occupation of Yugoslavia by the German Wehrmacht, 1941, he joined the armed resistance against the Germans. The actions of the resisters were met with brutal reprisals. Tens of thousands of people were murdered in mass killings. Vladimir Perić was killed by a German soldier with a hand grenade in early April 1945. He was one of the last war crimes victims in Sarajevo during World War II.

Vladimir Perić Walter is the architect of the resistance in the invaded countries. His story also shows us how little is known here and in Europe in general about those courageous people who stood up to the National Socialists. In China, however, the movie about the historical figure Walter is famous. Chinese cineastes made the movie one of the most watched of all time, and even today thousands of tourists from China visit the Sarajevo Film Museum.

In the project "Wer ist Walter?"  the resistance against National Socialism in Europe and the treatment of resistance fighters after 1945 are illuminated in an exhibition, a publication, and an educational online portal. crossborder factory

To continue watching: “Valter brani Sarajevo/Walter defends Sarajevo,” movie by Hajrudin Krvavac, 1972

Paul Goesch

The creative power of the artist Paul Goesch, born in Schwerin in 1885, resulted in some 2,000 works, including poems, architectural sketches, watercolors, and even a new language composed of Greek and Latin words. He was active in various groups of artists—the avant-garde of the dawning century was his home. In 1937, it became clear that his work had no place in the Nationalist Socialist ideology of artistic conformity. Numerous paintings by Paul Goesch were confiscated and his work denounced as "degenerate art."
Mental crises are noted early on in Goesch’s curriculum vitae—after stays in several sanatoriums, he was transferred to the Teupitz mental hospital in October 1934. In 1940, Paul Goesch was murdered in the Euthanasia Institution of Brandenburg an der Havel. 


In "Aktion T4,” the National Socialists murdered more than 70,000 people, classifying them as "unworthy of life" due to their physical, mental, and psychological illnesses or social stigma. Like his story, Goesch’s works were stored in archives for a long time. A circle of friends wants to change that. In 2016, he was recalled as a "visionary of Modernism" at the Berlinische Galerie, Museum for Modern Art, Photography and Architecture. The American Clark Art Institute dedicated a show to him in 2023.

In the project "Ausstellungsmacher:innen gesucht! Erinnerung gemeinsam gestalten" [Exhibition organizers wanted! Shaping memory together], people of all ages, museum-goers and those who are not—curate an exhibition and street art on the artist’s life.
Brandenburg Memorials Foundation in cooperation with the Stadtmuseum Brandenburg an der Havel and the Kinder- und Jugend-Kunst-Galerie "Sonnensegel" e. V.

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Modernist visionaries: Paul Scheerbart, Bruno Taut, Paul Goesch. Catalog for the exhibition of the same name at the Berlinische Galerie, 2016

Author: Katrin Kowark