Sunday, 24 February 2008

Margarete Heymann-Loebenstein

Some weeks ago I wrote about my visit to an exhibition about Hedwig Bollhagen and that I would like to know more about her opinions and attitudes. By that I meant one thing in particular which kept bothering me since. It was mentioned in this exhibition (but in no way judged) that before Hedwig Bollhagen opened her factory in 1934 it belonged to Margarete Heymann-Loebenstein, who was Jewish. I had never heard of that before and those few facts easily imply why.

There are two versions. One says Margarete Heymann-Loebenstein sold her factory because it was unprofitable. The other version (based on historical facts) tells more of the truth.
Margarete Heymann-Loebenstein's ceramics were very modern and a big success so the existence of her business was never seriously economically threatened. She had to sell her factory at less than fair value because being of Jewish descent, avant-garde and critical her life was in danger in Nazi-Germany. She lost everything and escaped to Great Britain, but never regained her success. Hedwig Bollhagen was chosen as art director for the factory and so from the very beginning had everything provided that was needed. A very comfortable start of an extraordinary career, that in my opinion is flawed by her lack of being outspoken about that. She's often described as being unpolitical. I think claiming to be unpolitical is very political.

Here are some very interesting links I found on this subject. If you can understand German I can highly recommend you to read them.

Dossier in Deutschlandfunk and the
Manuscript of the broadcast as pdf-file (a wealth of information)
Interview with her lawyer Lothar de Maiziére
Reply to his version by historian Ursula Hudson-Wiedenmann
Warum denn mutig? Article in the Berliner Zeitung
"Wir sind alle sehr belastet ..." Article in PNN

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