The Jüdische Kulturbund Project is raising
funds to develop its core programs: a stage production, a feature
documentary film, and education program.
The story of the Jüdische Kulturbund starts in Nazi Germany, 1933. Jews are turned out from
almost all professions, including the performing arts. A group of Jewish
musicians write a proposal to Joseph Goebbels Office of Propaganda and
Enlightenment, asking to set up a cultural organization that allows Jews to
perform symphonies, operas, and dramas, for Jewish-only audiences. Goebbels,
sensing an international propaganda coup, accepts.
From 1933-1941, the Jüdische Kulturbund, consisting
of thousands of members at its peak, performed in 42 theatres across Germany.
When the Kulturbund closed, some members emigrated or went into hiding,
most were sent to the camps. This is a little-known story of the power of
music, resiliency of the human spirit, and will to survive.
The film will tell the Kulturbund story through
both the words of former Kulturbund members, as captured in recently filmed
interviews, and—more dramatically and accessibly—through the documenting of a
live stage production at the Maxim Gorki Theater, in Berlin
scheduled for April 2013. Through the eyes of the young actors and musicians
who perform a modern adaptation based on the Kulturbund history, the story comes alive and
gains relevance in our world that continues to struggle with oppression.
The film and stage productions honor the 80-year anniversary of the founding of
Starting in September 2012, we will film the making of the play and
interviews with the theater's creative team, the performing artists, and the
playwright as well as interview artists who fled other countries for freedom. We will use these elements interwoven with Kulturbund archival material and interviews with some of its members to produce a short promo video to help us raise awareness and support for the film production and other program efforts.
Our plans are to distribute the play, film, and education program in Germany, the United States, Israel, and to countries interested in exploring human rights, freedom of expression, the role of performing arts and music in culture, and German and Jewish history.
The project's team includes Mark
Harris, the 3x-Oscar winning filmmaker, (you might know his film Into the
Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport) and Berliner
playwright/director Fred Breinersdorfer. Our production partners are Saxonia
Media in Germany and Cinephil in Israel on this project. Heirnich Boell
Stiftung, Stiftung EVZ, KulturProjekte, and the American Embassy in Berlin are
We are looking for support in the United States, Germany, and Israel to help us develop this international program to tell the story of
the Jüdische Kulturbund and its legacy: the power of music, the
resiliency of the human spirit, and the will to survive.
Please show your support by making a
contribution to the Jüdische Kulturbund Project.