The Last Dance of the Kulturbund

When the Kulturbund’s performance of Countess Maritza closed in July 1939 (above), the Kulturbund did not plan for more dance performances. Word spread that the Nazis would send the dancers to the concentration camp since they were no longer employed by the Kulturbund. Quickly, the Kulturbund organized a plan. Kurt Baumann was commissioned to write … Read More

Kulturbund performances remembered

Those associated with the Kulturbund who were interviewed for this project shared memories that describe specific performances: dramas, operas, and symphonies. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing-Nathan the Wise On October 1, 1933, the Kultubund opens with the drama Nathan the Wise, directed by Fritz Wisten in the Berliner Theatre on Charlottenstrasse..  Ironically, it is a story about … Read More

Shared Stories

The centerpiece of our story is told through first-hand accounts captured in interviews with Kulturbund artists between 2002 and 2004 and current-day artists that we started interviewing in 2013.  They live around the world in places such as Afghanistan, Argentina, Congo DRC, India, Iran, Mali, Niger, Russia, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Ukraine.  In addition, to these stories, … Read More

About the Project

The Jüdische Kulturbund Project explores the dilemmas that Jewish artists faced in Germany back in the 1930s and early 1940s and contemporary artists confront around the world today. Fight for freedom or escape? What is your moral obligation? What do you do as an intellectual artist living in a tyrannical state: do you risk your … Read More

From Frankfurt to Israel

The Jewish Kulturbund orchestra, conducted by William Steinberg, performed in this Frankfurt theatre, which was filled to capacity. The Palestine Symphony Orchestra started under the direction of Bronislaw Huberman in 1936, recruiting European Jewish musicians, providing them not only a living wage, but a safe place to live far from threats in Austria, Germany, Poland, … Read More

Rudolf Schwarz, conductor of the Berlin Kulturbund orchestra

Many Jewish musicians and performing artists from the most prominent theatres in Germany (the Deutsche Theatre, the Staatsoper, and the Berlin Philharmonic) performed in the Kulturbund. Rudolf Schwarz, an Austrian musician who played viola for the Vienna State Opera, moved to Germany. In 1935 he became the music director of the Berlin’s Jewish Kulturbund until … Read More