The Thomas Brasch Retrospective (May 24, June 14)

Die Familie Brasch

Die Familie Brasch, © IT WORKS! medien GmbH

05.05.2022 - Article

The “Thomas Brasch Retrospective” explores the life and work of East German and Jewish artist Thomas Brasch, culminating in the New York premiere of the new feature film “Lieber Thomas.”

Born in England to Kindertransport refugees who were active Communists – Thomas Brasch came to embody the fault lines of German history like few other artists. As his father Horst Brasch rose in the ranks of East Germany’s ruling Socialist Unity Party, Thomas became an uncompromisingly radical writer whose activism led to censorship and three months in prison. After his move to West Germany, he refused to play the role of GDR-dissident and focused his critique on West German society and German history in plays, poetry, and a series of brilliant but challenging films. Although he is highly regarded as a translator of Chekhov’s and Shakespeare’s works into German, none of Thomas Brasch’s major works have ever been published in English. His major films, jarring meditations on German history such as Der Passagier – Welcome to Germany (1988, starring Tony Curtis as a choleric Hollywood director who returns to Germany to make a film about his experience in a concentration camp), are rarely shown in the United States. This spring, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Goethe-Institut New York, The German Film Office, Deutsches Haus at NYU, and the Friends of Freiburg University, and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York will re-introduce audiences to this remarkable artist and story.

“Thomas Brasch: The Life of an Artist” Panel Discussion
Tuesday, May 24 – 2pm ET
Virtual (Zoom)

The life and legacy of the multifaceted artist Thomas Brasch will be the topic of discussion by a panel including Professor Cathy Gelbin (The University of Manchester), German Consul General in New York, David Gill, and artist Alexander Polzin.
About the Speakers
Professor Cathy Gelbin is the co-editor of the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book for German-Jewish History and Culture (Oxford Journals). She is a film historian and cultural studies scholar with special interests in European life and its Jewish cultures. Her work on feature film, video testimony, literary texts and live art has focused on Holocaust representations and the dynamics of modern German-speaking Jewish culture. Before joining the University of Manchester, she was Research Associate and Director of Research and Educational Programmes at the Centre for German-Jewish Studies, University of Sussex.
David Gill, German Consul General in New York, was born in Schönebeck/Elbe in 1966. He has been the Consul General in New York since August 2017. Prior to his appointment, he served as State Secretary and Head of the Office of the Federal President from 2012-2017.
Alexander Polzin, born in East Berlin in 1973, originally trained as a stonemason. He enjoys an international career as a sculptor, painter, stage designer and opera director. In addition, he develops unique collaborations with writers, composers, musicians, choreographers and scholars from all over the world. He was a close friend of Brasch's and organized a multifaceted tribute to Brasch at the 2021 Berlin International Literature Festival. 
Registration and further information:

“Lieber Thomas” New York Premiere
Wednesday, June 14 – 7pm ET
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY

Join us for the New York premiere of this German feature film! Director Andreas Kleinert’s Thomas Brasch biopic Lieber Thomas (Germany, 2021, 150 min.) shows the life and dreams of a man for whom every world was always too small, someone who overcame boundaries and caused damage in the process. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director. 
Registration and further information:

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