This Film accompanied Barbara Loftus’s exhibition of paintings: Lieder ohne Worte, which formed part of the theme year in 2013 : Zerstörte Vielfalt Berlin 1933-39-45:The Aryanisation of Jewish property in the centre of Berlin

‘The film the painter and film maker, Barbara Loftus made in 2012 begins with serial footage of bombed-out Berlin. The destruction documented by Allied bomber pilots in spring 1945 was later described by Germans as their ‘zero hour’ – both end and beginning. The terror they had spread around the world, which finally returned to fall on them, was over. Out of the rubble new life could now germinate. Like so many buildings, Keithstrasse 14 in Schöneberg, Berlin, was heavily damaged, but then restored at the end of the 1940s. It was to be seven decades, however, before Sigismund, Herta and Heinz Hermann Basch, who lived here until they were deported and murdered at Auschwitz in 1942, were commemorated with ‘Stolpersteine’ – memorial plates set into the pavement. For the sole surviving family member, Hildegard, the year 1945 did not represent a new beginning. She had already been forced to chance a new start in April 1939 at the age of 23 as a Jewish refugee in England. The hope that her parents and younger brother would one day join her was dashed at the end of the war. She shut this grief away inside her. Like most emigrants she instinctively negated her German background, even towards her children’s generation. It was only in her old age that she opened up to her daughter Barbara Loftus, the sight of a vitrine containing porcelain was the trigger releasing the memory of the confiscation of their valuables following Kristallnacht. Barbara persuaded her mother to record her memories on tape – in English, which she still spoke with a Berlin accent. The recording is integrated into the film so that the voice of her mother, now deceased, rises out of the silence then sinks away, several times, just as Barbara Loftus’ compositions rise gradually from the surface of the canvas, seem almost to vanish as the ground is applied, then finally reappear with the final layer of paint. The film then fuses the mother’s verbal memories with the daughter’s painted imaginings…’

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

Lieder ohne Worte: to request a link to view on Vimeo, please contact Barbara.