Tatort: Schlachtfeld. Readings and discussions about the First World War

With Burghart Klaußner, Ulrich Matthes, Jörn Leonhard, Rüdiger Kruse MdB, and Jan Ehlert

Sun, Oct 4, 2015
12 noon
Admission: single ticket 5€/3€
In German
Crime Scene: Battlefield, Ulrich Matthes & Burghart Klaußner , Ulrich Matthes: Photo private, Burghart Klaußner: © Max Parovsky

A fascination with violence, destruction as a motor for renewal, border crossings and despair at the senselessness of war. Texts from poets, artists and intellectuals, from war opponents and war enthusiasts, from followers and doubters of the years 1914–1918. The kick off for a series of readings and discussions, developed by Sonja Valentin, curator, Hamburg.

World War I in literature: In 18 nation-wide events, actors like Ulrich Matthes, Burghart Klaußner, Ulrich Tukur, Oliver Mommsen, Elisabeth Brück, Barbara Auer, Sophie Rois and Nicole Heesters lend their voices to writers and intellectuals from 1914 to 1918, those against the war and enthusiastic supporters, silent supporters, and doubters. With the start of 100 Years of Now, Ulrich Matthes and Burghart Klaußner read from journals, letters, and novels of European and non-European writers, and link positions of the time to current debates. Following the reading, a panel with Freiburg historian Jörn Leonhard will deepen our engagement with a war that occupied more artists and writers than almost any other, and today, against the backdrop of current developments, encourages us to look at questions of political and civilian responsibility in new ways.

Burghart Klaußner, actor, Hamburg, Ulrich Matthes, actor, Berlin, followed by a discussion with Jörn Leonhard, historian, Freiburg, Rüdiger Kruse MdB, Hamburg

Moderator: Jan Ehlert, NDR Kultur, Hamburg


Jan Ehlert studied journalism and media sciences at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. He has worked for Norddeutsche Rundfunk since 2007, focusing on literature and society. He produced a number of programs last year for the radio station NDR Kultur to commemorate the First World War. He can also be heard regularly as the host of the program Klassik à la Carte. He received the media award of the Kinderhospizstiftung (children’s hospice foundation) for his journalism in 2012.

As an actor, Burghart Klaußner has worked for nearly every major German-speaking theater. Most recently he received the 2012 German Theater Award DER FAUST for his portrayal in Death of a Salesman. He is also well known for his work in many films such as Good Bye, Lenin!, The Reader, Requiem, The Edukators and The White Ribbon. In 2005 and 2010 he was named Best Actor at the German Film Awards. He plays the lead role in the current film The People vs. Fritz Bauer. In addition to his work as an actor, since 2006 Burghart Klaußner has directed plays at the Hamburg Kammerspiele, the theaters in Bochum, Dresden and others. His productions include Thomas Bernhard’s Der Ignorant und der Wahnsinnige with Otto Sander and Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage (German premier). His own play Marigold premiered in January 2009.

Rüdiger Kruse MdB (CDU) has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2009, prior to which he served as a member of the Hamburg Parliament for eight years. Since 1989 Kruse has held the office of Hamburg director of the nature conservation society Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald. In 2015 he was made parliamentary group representative for the maritime economy. As rapporteur for culture and media on the German Bundestag’s Budget Committee he has successfully campaigned for an increase in the annual culture budget in parliamentary consultations. Rüdiger Kruse was instrumental in launching the project 100 years of Now.

Ulrich Matthes has been a member of the ensemble of the Deutsches Theater since 2004. He has received a number of awards including the 2004 Gertrud Eysoldt Ring for outstanding acting performances and the Theatre Prize Berlin by Preußische Seehandlung Foundation. In 2005 and 2008 he was chosen Actor of the Year by the journal Theater heute, in 2008 he received the German Theater Award DER FAUST for his title role in Jürgen Gosch’s production of Uncle Vanya. He was awarded the Grimme Prize and a Golden Camera as best national actor for his role in the television crime thriller Tatort: Im Schmerz geboren. He has been the director of the Performing Arts Section of the Berlin Academy of Arts since 2012.

Jörn Leonhard holds the chair for western European history at the Albert-Ludwig-Universität Freiburg since 2006, before he was director of the School of History at Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies(FRIAS) and visiting fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University. Since 2002, he has been a fellow of the Royal Historical Society London and since 2015 a member of the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften. Among his most important publications is Die Büchse der Pandora. Geschichte des Ersten Weltkriegs, Munich 2014.

Sonja Valentin studied journalism and German and English language and literature in Hamburg and London. Following her studies she participated in a number of theatre and film projects, amongst others with Karin Beier, Peter Zadek and István Szabó. After way stations at the Goethe-Institut in London and the Vienna Burgtheater she worked as an artistic director at theatres in Hamburg, London and Berlin. In October her book “Steine in Hitlers Fenster“ - Thomas Manns Radiosendungen “Deutsche Hörer!“ 1940-1945 (“Stones in Hitler’s Window” – Thomas Mann’s radio broadcasts “German Listeners!” 1940-1945) will be published.