"Life? or Theatre?": Afterword

Third and final part of the picture cycle by Charlotte Salomon

Grandfather Knarre tells Charlotte of the suicides in her family, from "Life? or Theatre?"Charlotte is afraid of going crazy, from "Life? or Theatre?"
Pictures (top to bottom):
Grandfather Knarre tells Charlotte of the suicides in her family, from "Life? or Theatre?", sheet 4860
Charlotte is afraid of going crazy, from "Life? or Theatre?", sheet 4907
© (for all pictures) Charlotte Salomon Foundation, Amsterdam

Yellow: "Afterword"

The setting of the Singespiel is now a town in sunny southern France. The emigrated Charlotte Kann is living there with her grandparents. Now she learns of the tragedy of her family history, known to the observer since the "Prelude". The more Charlotte confronts the tragedy of the suicides, the more expressive her drawings become. The pictures seem sketchy and impulsive.


Charlotte is living in exile with her grandparents. When German troops invade France, the grandmother loses all hope and takes her own life shortly thereafter. Now her grandfather tells Charlotte about the suicides in her family, including her mother's suicide.

After the German Wehrmacht invades France in May 1940 Charlotte and her grandfather are brought, with many other refugees, to the internment camp in Gurs. In July 1940 they are released because of the grandfather's advanced age.

Charlotte Kann is close to a nervous breakdown. She sees herself presented with the choice of killing herself, or "etwas ganz verrücktBesonderes zu tun" ("doing something crazySpecial"), as she writes on one of the last sheets, filled only with text. In this she remembers Daberlohn's words, that one has to "figure oneself out in order to reinvent oneself". She begins with the work on "Life? or Theatre?".

A catalog of the exhibition has been published.

When: 17 August to 25 November 2007,
daily from 10 to 8, Mondays to 10 (closed: 9/13+14, 9/22, 9/25, 11/17/2007)
Where: Jewish Museum Berlin, Lindenstrasse 9-14, 10969 Berlin

An exhibition of the Jewish Museum Berlin in collaboration with Joods Historisch Museum Amsterdam.

Mit einer Installation von Chantal Akerman. Vom 17. August bis 25. November 2007