Schloss Neuhardenberg

The exhibition “Gulag: Traces and Testimonies 1929–1956” will be on view from 1 May 2012 to 24 June 2012 in the exhibition hall of the Schloss Neuhardenberg Foundation.

Schloss Neuhardenberg is a refuge and a stage to the world. On the one hand a quiet setting for talks, conferences and concentration, on the other hand a place of international productions which address issues and challenges of the present with artistic, political and scholarly means.

The exhibition in Schloss Neuhardenberg

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Accompanying Programme at Schloss Neuhardenberg

Every Photo a Symbol: Russia 1941-1943

Photos by Gerhard Fietz

Exhibition | 3 April to 24. June | Great Hall, Foyer

curated by Manfred Besser
in cooperation with the
Treuhandstiftung Gerhard Fietz
sponsored by the Sparkassenstiftung Lüneburg

The illustrator and painter Gerhard Fietz was born in Breslau in 1910. A co-founder of the ZEN 49 artists’ group, from 1941 onwards he fought as a machine gunner on the Russian front near Oryol and Minsk. In 1943 he was so badly wounded by shell splinters that his left hand remained paralyzed for the rest of his life. Gerhard Fietz documented his life as a soldier in Russia in three ways: he sketched, kept a diary and took photographs. He managed to send an exposed film home by way of the army postal service, and his wife of that time, a photographer, developed the pictures.Elegiac landscape photos were among the motifs, along with moving scenes showing the harsh everyday life of the rural population and war-ravaged towns – all captured by a photographer who wore a Wehrmacht uniform. "I cannot come to a definitive assessment of Russia […] fluctuating between the extremes, there is so much to love and so much that must be rejected. Some things in old Europe seem wrong and decadent and unhealthy, the more I come to recognize the naturalness of Russia. Again and again, I sense the full power and beauty of the Russian behind the deprivation brought about by crippling poverty […] I am getting to know the Russians in their broad masses; I see their huts and their camps and their work."

The venue for the very first exhibition of these photographs from Gerhard Fietz’s estate is not far from Seelow Heights, where the last great battle between the Russian and German armies took place outside Berlin in April 1945. The photos give the visitor a harrowing idea of what it must have been like for the artist Fietz to serve as a soldier, and what artistic ways and means he sought to deal with the horrors of war.

Tuesday to Sunday and holidays, 11 am to 7 pm | Admission free

The Kolyma Tales

Corinna Harfouch reads Varlam Shalamov

Reading (in German) | un 3 June | 5 pm | Great Hall

Along with the works by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Kolyma Tales –considered Varlam Shalamov’s magnum opus – are considered among the most important texts about the Gulag. The Siberian Kolyma Region in which Varlam Shalamov spent altogether seventeen years of his life, is inhabitable by Central European standards; in winter, temperatures as low as –60 °C prevail there. On the occasion of the publication of the tales in German translation, Gregor Dotzauer wrote: “Varlam Shalamov is the great counter-figure to the literary witnesses of the National Socialist concentration camps. He belongs in the ranks with Primo Levi, Jorge Semprún, Imre Kertész or Robert Antelme – as someone whose fortune in surviving competed with the curse of giving his experiences appropriate form afterwards.” And in the words of Hans-Peter Kunisch in the ZEIT: “What makes Shalamov’s camp stories so striking is precisely that double approach: the scrupulous endeavour to attain the acknowledgedly unattainable authenticity, and at the same time the attempt to break new literary ground in a manner befitting the subject.”

In a manner entirely unique, Corinna Harfouch combines authenticity with highly differentiated characterization. She has received numerous awards for her acting achievements, among them the Deutscher Filmpreis and the Goldene Kamera. In 2010 she was honoured with one of the first stars on the “Boulevard of Stars” in Berlin. She is capable of giving an unexpected turn to the course of events with a slight wave of the hand.

Admission: € 15.- | reduced* € 11.-

Who Would Grasp Russia with the Mind?

Discussion | Sun 10 June | 5 pm | Great Hall

Irina Scherbakowa, Fritz Pleitgen
and Durs Grünbein
in conversationwith Norbert Seitz

Concept: Christiane Bauermeister

„Who would grasp Russia with the mind?
For her no yardstick was created:
Her soul is of a special kind,
by faith alone appreciated.“
Fyodor Tyutchev

Does the popular four-liner composed by Russian poet and diplomat Fyodor Tyutchev in 1866 still apply to Russia today? Can Russia “be assigned a special status beyond every measure and all rational comprehension, accessible only by faith, but never by critical examination from the outside”, as Felix Philipp Ingold once expressed it? Is Russia really different? What is the difference between its culture and that of the West? How great is the so frequently cited difference between the societies? Have the supposed differences between the conceptions of democracy and civil society meanwhile worn thin? On the other hand, didn’t the most recent protest campaigns in Moscow and other cities of the enormous country show that a new generation, a “rational” generation, was taking to the streets? Alisa Ganieva records: “On 10 December 2011 I saw no raging crowd, no bandar-logs purchased from the West, as the premier chose to express it, but normal, rational citizens. That requires extreme sincerity, independence from material demands, and at least a few moral concepts.”

Fritz Pleitgen, former general director of WDR (West German Broadcasting) and – having served as a correspondent in Moscow for many years – an authority on the Russian soul, Durs Grünbein, familiar with Russian literature and philosophy from the poet’s perspective, and Irina Scherbakowa, Russian historian and philologist and active in the “Memorial” human rights organization, Moscow, will conduct a discussion moderated by radio journalist Norbert Seitz.

Admission: € 12.– | reduced* € 8.50

Schloss Neuhardenberg
15320 Neuhardenberg
Tel. +49 (0)33476 600 750
Fax +49 (0)33476 600 800