30 May – Theresienstadt: Film or truth

A video installation examining the historical and emotional significance of Theresienstadt, a nazi propaganda film. The new digital version (4K) of the installation on ten monitors is now shown for the first time on the big screen.theresina

In 1944 the Nazis decided to produce a film about Theresienstadt concentration camp, which Kurt Gerron was forced to direct.  This film – cynically subtitled Der Führer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt (the Führer offers the Jews a city) – was meant to impress on the outside world that the Jewish population was treated well. When the film was finished, however, the Germans considered their own fabrications unfit for screening and ordered the film to be destroyed.

theresina2.jpg

By coincidence some twenty minutes’ worth of film has been preserved. The video installation by Kees Hin and Sandra van Beek shows survivors and experts responding to the remains of the film as edited by the two Dutch filmmakers. Their comments – silent witnesses to each other’s words – oscillate between propaganda and truth about Theresienstadt, allegedely the model concentration camp for the more affluent Jews.

Introduction by senior curator Mark-Paul Meyer.

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