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Concentration Camp as Film Set: The Ambivalent Bequest of the Theresienstadt Films 1942-1945.

Organized by the Program in Russian, East European, and Slavic Studies, and co-sponsored by the United States Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC, and the Program in Judaic Studies at The Ronald O. Perelman Institute for Judaic Studies.

Natascha Drubek, University of Regensburg, and the Diane and Howard Wohl Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (the US Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC, Spring 2014.

Audience: Open to the Public


Date/Time: 03/06/14 at 4:30 pm - 03/06/14 at 6:00 pm

Theresienstadt, a closed “ghetto” established by the Nazis 40 miles north of Prague, was the only example of the German administration’s attempt to use a concentration camp as a film set for a documentary made by its inhabitants. Filming in Theresienstadt took place with intermissions between summer of 1942 and March 1945. Although the scripts and film shoots were commissioned and supervised by the SS, they were predominantly made by imprisoned professional film artists who were able to document the real “ghetto” and its inhabitants. The larger goals of the two leading figures in the Theresienstadt film productions  - Irena Dodalová from Prague, and Kurt Gerron from Berlin - emerged from divergent historical and cultural contexts. They also represent different ethical approaches to the perplexing opportunity given to Jewish film professionals to make a film inside a Nazi concentration camp. In cooperation with the drafting department, which was a center of cultural resistance, some of the filmmakers were even able to produce and smuggle clandestine cinematic messages.

Natascha Drubek is the Heisenberg Fellow at the University of Regensburg. She completed her MA and PhD in Slavic Studies & History of Eastern/Central Europe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich.  Since 2003, Natascha has been the editor of the film section of (U of California). Her Habilitation, Russian Light. From the Icon to Early Soviet Cinema, was published in 2012. During the Spring, 2014, Drubek is Diane and Howard Wohl Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (the US Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC).

Category: PIIRS