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Life and work of Russian writers in exile in the 1920s

Almost exactly 100 years ago, hundreds of thousands of Russians emigrated to Berlin. The October Revolution of 1917 and the civil war that followed caused numerous nobles, businessmen and intellectuals to leave their homeland.

While the political heads among the Russian emigrants gathered in Paris, Prague became the Russian scientific center beyond the borders. And the writers? They came to Berlin! Almost all the important Russian authors of the 20th century lived here temporarily or visited the city, which became a veritable experimental laboratory for literary exile in the early 1920s.

So lived and wrote in Berlin: Vladimir Nabokov, Vladislav Khodasevich, Andrei Bely, Boris Pasternak, Viktor Shklowski, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nina Berberova, Alexei Remizov, Mark Aldanov, Alexei Tolstoy, Ilya Ehrenburg, Maxim Gorki and many more.

At this time, Charlottenburg received the nickname "Charlottengrad"; Berlin itself was called "Moscow on the Spree" and "Third Capital of Russia".

But how did the emigrants live in Berlin back then and how did they perceive the city? Did life in exile mean the drying up of your creativity or rather a new artistic opportunity?

The production sheds light on a piece of Berlin history that is closely intertwined with the themes of flight, exile and, ultimately, home.

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Participating artists
Ildiko Bognar (Autor/in)
Alina Lieske
Carl Martin Spengler
Ute Falkenau