Life Stories

From circus acrobat to Resistance fighter: the story of Raymond Gurême

Raymond Gurême was born in 1925 near Paris into a French Manouche (i.e. Sinti in French) family. As did several generations of the family before them, his parents owned a small circus and a travelling cinema: the family toured France and parts of Belgium and Switzerland where they were warmly received in villages deprived of Read More…

The escape of the Schauerjans family to Switzerland in 1943

The Esther family and its strategy to survive WWII

Dark Stars: An Arab-German Circus Family during the Third Reich

Rodion Nikitins (14.4.1915*) – A circus artist’s journey as an entertainer through Soviet and National Socialist occupation

Project Description

The aim of this project is to collaborate with members of the circus community to achieve new knowledge about the impact of WWII – the political climate leading to the war, the war itself and its aftermath – on the fates of Europe’s circus people. These people who not only pursued an itinerant way of Read More…

Historical Context

Even in times of crises and war, circuses have remained a popular form of amusement. Likewise, in the Nazi era circuses also attracted audiences hungry for entertainment.  Moreover, within the Nazi sphere of control in Europe, circuses as cosmopolitan and mobile spheres could also offer refuge to those persecuted by the Nazi Regime and their Read More…

International Teaching Training Seminar in Eisenstadt (AUT)

This training seminar with international speakers is part of the

Virtual Museum Exhibition

At a first preparatory meeting concerning the conceptualizing of the

Projekt Diverging Fates

The project ‘Forgotten Cosmopolitans’ is based on a two-year pilot project (2017-2018) entitled ‘Diverging Fates: Travelling Circus People in Europe during National Socialism’. From this first scientific encounter the utilization of a biographical approach has resulted in a collection of short life stories, visible on the project’s website: The follow-up project ‘Forgotten Cosmopolitans’ will Read More…

First preparatory project meeting with members of the circus community at the circus archive Winkler in Berlin, 3.11.2018

At a first preparatory meeting concerning the conceptualizing of the exhibition, the project members explored together with members of the circus community, including representatives of the German Society of Friends of the Circus and the European Circus Association, the limits and consequences of sharing in-group knowledge, information that may carry symbolic or social weight within Read More…


Project coordinator Dr. Malte Gasche  received his PhD. in Scandinavian


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