Film screening

The Brasch Family

Oil painting of the Brasch family

05/17/2022, 7:00pm

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011


Language: German with English subtitles
Price: Free, $10 suggested donation Registration required

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In the years after 1945, the Braschs are a picture-perfect party official’s family living the German dream of socialism in the Soviet-occupied zone. 1968 brings generational conflict and youth rebellion to the GDR, with dramatic consequences for the patriarch and his eldest, Thomas. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 shatters any remaining dream. Director Annekatrin Hendel delivers a portrait of three Brasch generations as a microcosm of societal and historical tensions—between East and West, art and politics, Communism and religion, love and betrayal, utopia and self-destruction.

Familie Brasch – Eine deutsche Geschichte
Dir. Annekatrin Hendel
Germany, 2018
103 minutes

Part of the Thomas Brasch Retrospective

See also Two by Brasch, streaming May 17 through June 14

Born in England to Kindertransport refugees who were active Communists, Thomas Brasch came to embody the fault lines of German history like few other artists. As his father rose in the ranks of East Germany’s ruling party, Brasch became an uncompromisingly radical writer whose activism led to censorship and prison. After his move to West Germany, he refused to play the role of GDR dissident and focused his critique on West German society and German history in plays, poetry, and a series of brilliant but challenging films. Although he is highly regarded as a translator of Chekhov’s and Shakespeare’s works into German, none of Brasch’s own writing has ever been published in English. His major films, jarring meditations on German history such as The Passenger – Welcome to Germany (1988, starring Tony Curtis as a choleric Hollywood director who returns to Germany to make a film about his experience in a concentration camp), are rarely shown in the United States.

This spring, Leo Baeck Institute, the Goethe-Institut New York, the German Film Office, the German Consulate General in New York, Deutsches Haus at NYU, and the Friends of Freiburg Alumni of North America will re-introduce audiences to this remarkable artist and story.

On May 24, 2pm, the life and legacy of the multifaceted artist Thomas Brasch will be the topic of an online panel discussion including Prof. Cathy Gelbin (University of Manchester), German Consul General in New York David Gill, and artist Alexander Polzin. Registreation required.