Sexuality, Race, and Politics: Historical Perspectives on Antebellum

Apr 22, 2009

Discussion at Woolly Mammoth Theatre | Moderator: Miriam Weisfeld (Woolly Mammoth). Speakers: Martin Klimke (GHI), Anke Ortlepp (GHI) and Richard F. Wetzell (GHI).

The German Historical Institute and Woolly Mammoth Theatre joined forces for a panel discussion on the historical context of the theater's current play "Antebellum," by playwright Robert O'Hara. Part mystery, part Hollywood romance, Robert O'Hara's new play bridges time, space, religion and race to track a love affair that defies history's harshest cruelties. It's 1939. The Nazi regime is fully entrenched. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Gone with the Wind premieres amid star-studded decadence. Against the backdrops of a Southern plantation, a German concentration camp, Hollywood movies and Berlin cabarets, two stories mysteriously merge into one sweeping romance. Martin Klimke, Anke Ortlepp and Richard Wetzell spoke – and answered audience questions – about the Black presence in early-20th century Germany, the legal and social context of miscegenation in Atlanta versus Berlin in the 1930's, homosexuality and cabaret culture in Weimar Berlin as well as the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.

Anke Ortlepp / Richard F. Wetzell