An exhibition of paintings by the English artist, Barbara Loftus, formed part of the 2013 Berlin theme year: Zerstörte Vielfalt Berlin 1933 – 39: The Aryanisation of Jewish property in the centre of Berlin

5th September 2013 – 19th January 2014

“…Barbara Loftus entices the viewer into a world of middle class comfort invaded by evil in the form of brown-shirts and furniture removers. The centre piece of a triptych called ‘Lieder ohne Worte’ shows Herta Basch playing the piano while little Hildegard lies under the table looking at picture books… The artist’s representation of assimilated Jewish life is flanked by 2 side panels in which the same piano, from which the last notes of the ‘Lieder ohne Worte’ have just died away, is taken down the stairs – a reference to the imminent deportation of its owner. Other paintings show the confiscation of furnishings, the ‘handing over’ of a Pierrot figurine, an emptied wardrobe, marks on the wall where pictures once hung, or ‘the room after’, with empty drawers and shelves. A surreal shroud lies over everything, as if it were a nightmare which need only be wiped away for the old order to be reinstated. But we know otherwise… Above and beyond the reconstruction of her relatives’ experience, Barbara Loftus is able to lend the events an aura which holds viewers captive. It is an honour as well as a duty for the city of Berlin to invite the painter here to the Ephraim Palais, part of the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, as the city commemorates ‘Diversity Destroyed’ throughout 2013.”

Prof. Dominik Bartmann, Curator, Lieder ohne Worte Ephraim Palais, Berlin Stadtmuseum 2013 – exhibition catalogue

Supported by Ilse Augustin Stiftung fur Förderung Bildender Kunstler

It was triggered by my mother Hildegard Basch’s late-life unburdening to me of memories of her formative years in pre-war Berlin. My study has become a 25 year excavation, it re-enacts a piecing together of maternal testimony, traces and archival evidence to enter a lost world and reclaim something of the lives of the family who perished before I was born.

‘He explained to me that neither a tourist visa nor emigration visa would be given to non-Aryans in Germany, unless they had special protection and had confirmation from the foreign office. And even then, nowadays there would hardly be a reasonable chance. I said – and how come that yet still a number of people manage to go over there? He said either through protection or via foreign countries. I said he should at least give me a hint how I could get there via a foreign country.’
from a letter to Hildegard‘s Grandfather Felix Berlowitz 18th October 1938