Life Stories

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

The Latvian-born circus performer Rodion Nikitins lived through WWII performing in different circuses and theatres in Latvia, Germany and Nazi-occupied Prague. In his autobiography Of Flight and Freedom from 1987, Nikitins confesses that his work as an entertainer gave him more opportunities and options during WWII than those available to his family members or friends Read More…

Life Stories

Edit Sandor Kleinbarth (1931- ), a circus child during the war

Edit Sandor Kleinbarth was born in Budapest in 1931. Her parents were Sandor and Elise Kleinbarth. Her father came from a “private” Hungarian family. He had learned the art of school riding in the Czech Circus Henry. Also, he developed and presented animal revues with monkeys, ponies and donkeys. Her mother, however, came from the Read More…

Life Stories

The internement of the Sénécas in the wake of WWII: A family circus behind barbed wire

Originally from Belgium the Sénécas worked as a Circus family throughout France in the interwar period. As a travelling company and without a fixed residence, the nine children of Albert Sénéca (born 1907, Belgium) and Joséphine Sénéca, (born 1907, France), were born in different places in France. In the wake of WWII, the Sénéca family Read More…

Life Stories

The circus-menagerie Michelet and its bonds with the city of Gièvres

For decades, the Michelet family owned a menagerie-circus (first Ménagerie Lorraine Giacometti/ later Cirque-ménagerie Michelet). Many articles and advertisements published in newspapers state that this family activity goes back to the second half of the nineteenth century. On tour the family went into different partnerships with other well-known circus companies, like Albus and Grüss/Gruss. Henri Read More…

Literature

Literature

Adelsberger, Lucie: Auschwitz. Ein Tatsachenbericht. Berlin 1956. Adelsberger, Lucie: Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Story. Boston 1995. Adelson, Betty M.: The Lives of Dwarfs. Their Journey from Public Curiosity toward Social Liberation. New Brunswick u.a. 2015. Aiolfi, Marjorie; Bouglione, Louis Sampion: Le Cirque d’hiver. Paris 2002. Barré-Meinzer, Sylvestre: Le cirque classique, un spectacle actuel. Paris 2004. Bouglione, Read More…

Virtual Museum Exhibition

Virtual Museum Exhibition

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…

Historical Context

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…

Project Diverging Fates

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: www.divergingfates.eu. The follow-up project ‘Forgotten Cosmopolitans’ will Read More…

Project Team

Projektteam

Project coordinator Dr. Malte Gasche  received his PhD. in Scandinavian Studies from the Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany). He is a researcher and project manager at the Centre for Nordic Societies at the University of Helsinki (Finland). He has managed several international summer schools on various topics (‘Introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies’, Roma and Read More…