Elisabeth Bergner was born in 1897 in Drohobych, which is now in the Ukraine but was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Her career began in Austria and Germany, but the Nazi takeover forced her to move to London in 1933.
To avoid calling them ‘Actor A’, ‘Actor B’ and so on in the published text Handke names the parts after well-known actors. The dramatis personae therefore reads like a who’s who (or wer ist wer?) of 20th Century Germanic cinema, with all that that entails:
Emil Jannings Heinrich George Elisabeth Bergner Henny Porten Erich von Stroheim Alice and Ellen Kessler
If you are in the neighbourhood the Museum der Dinge (‘Museum of Things’) in Kreuzberg, Berlin is well worth a visit. It boasts a huge and articulately presented collection of everyday objects of the 20th and 21st Centuries. The earliest Dinge I saw were from the First World War, but my pictures here are of what seem to be art deco artefacts from the Weimar period, plus a few rather more spooky memorabilia from a bit later.
In the Neue Wache (‘New Guardhouse’) in Berlin is a copy of a small sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz. It stands beneath a circular open skylight, or oculus, which exposes it to the elements.
Kollwitz made the original in the late 1930s as a memorial to her son Peter who was killed in the First World War. In 1993 Chancellor Helmut Kohl commissioned sculptor Harald Haacke to make a considerably enlarged copy which was installed at the centre of the ‘Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Victims of War and Tyranny’ at the reopened Neue Wache.