The Legacy of a Long Career: Success Against All Odds

Film Historian Claudia Dillmann on the Artur Brauner Film Collection in Our Library

The German film producer and Shoah survivor Artur Brauner has kindly donated to our Museum twenty-one films on the subject of the Shoah and the Nazi era—you’ll find the complete list on our website. Today, the Museum acknowledges our great appreciation of this gift with a special event in the presence of Artur Brauner and his family.

Portrait of Claudia Dillmann

Claudia Dillmann
Photo: Deutsches Filminstitut/Uwe Dettmar

Prior to the event we interviewed film historian Claudia Dillmann about Artur Brauner and the appeal of his film productions, in particular for a Jewish Museum. Ms. Dillmann is Director of the German Film Institute in Frankfurt Main and a renowned expert on Artur Brauner, and also initiated the online resource www.filmportal.de. She talked to us about Brauner’s interest in the victims of Nazi crimes, the balancing acts it has called for, his veneration of Romy Schneider, and the German public’s tastes.

Mirjam Bitter, Blog Editor: Ms. Dillman, in your opinion, how representative is our Artur Brauner Film Collection of Mr. Brauner’s entire production list?

Claudia Dillmann: The films that Artur Brauner has donated to the Jewish Museum are indeed representative since they constitute a pivot of his career—one very dear to his heart—namely an abiding commitment to exposing the Holocaust, not least because forty-nine of his own relatives also lost their lives then. He sees these films as his personal “legacy,” one he has been forging since the start of his career. They are dedicated to victims of the Nazi regime and constitute a cycle that in his view is still not complete. In them, he has continually explored new facets of persecution under the Nazi terror and of the traumata he lived through himself.  continue reading


The Blow of a Hammer in the Rap of the Gavel

The Last Signs of a Life in Germany Sold at Auction 75 Years Ago

A suitcase filled with documents, photos and objects

Franziska Bogdanov, unpacking the suitcase from Arno Roland’s bequest
Jewish Museum Berlin CC-BY Katharina Erbe

The items in our archives have arrived here through the most various means: we have donations from German-Jewish emigrants from all over the world as well as gifts from their estates, donated to the museum after they have died by their children. We also receive some gifts from Germany, occasionally from people who aren’t themselves Jewish and yet some memorabilia from a Jewish friend or acquaintance was passed down through the generations in their family.

At the end of this last year we received a donation from the estate of a one-time Berliner who recently died in New Jersey (USA). It consisted of a large suitcase filled to the brim with documents, letters, photographs, and other objects.  continue reading


In the Sleeping Car with Ten Hand-puppets and a Travel Hanukkah Candelabrum

A puppet in a blue shirt with the star of David, in front of a crate of Berliner hotcakes with a speech bubble, “Oooh, my oh my! Hotcakes for free!!! Hahahaaaa! Happy Hanukkaaaah!”

One of the hand puppets from Shlomit Tulgan’s bubales family saying “Oooh, my oh my! Hotcakes for free!!!”
CC-BY Shlomit Tulgan

I was asked recently if I could write something about how I celebrate Hanukkah in my own circle of family and friends. It occurred to me that the last time I spent Hanukkah with friends or with my parents was quite awhile back. I rummaged around through old photos until I found a picture of me with my father in 1988, lighting our Hanukkah candelabrum: we had just applied for political asylum in West Berlin and were allowed to stay with friends, so we didn’t have to remain longer in refugee quarters. For me back then, Hanukkah was a personal, family thing.  continue reading