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QUAD screens ‘Flucht 1937’ (Exodus 1937), a film set in Derby’s twin city of Osnabrück

10 July 2017
QUAD will be screening a film called ‘Flucht 1937’ (Exodus 1937) which is set in Derby’s twin city of Osnabrück. Director Abigail Mathew set off on the trail of her great-grandfather Wilhelm Hellmeister, who played an instrumental part in this story of a dramatic escape. Beginning with a photograph taken in 1936, six months of painstaking research was needed to bring the story to the screen, shedding new light on Nazi-era Osnabrück and the lives of Jewish exiles in Amsterdam.
 
Flucht 1937 begins in Osnabrück on 2nd July 1937, when five people took their leave of Osnabrück, their destination: Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands.  Four of these people are leaving Osnabrück because they are Jewish and no longer feel safe in the city, the fifth, protestant Auguste Minna Thormann, is leaving her home town for the sake of her boyfriend Alfred Gossels, as relationships between Jews and Aryans have been forbidden by law since 1935.  Alfred Gossels and Justus Nussbaum run a scrap-car recycling business in Osnabrück and two of their workers; Wilhelm Hellmeister and Friedrich Niehüser, are helping with the emigration.  For all concerned it's a well-planned escape which has been two long years in preparation…..
 
Student Abigail Mathew knew the story told in her family, that her great-grandfather was said to have helped Jews to escape to the Netherlands before the Second World War, including members of the family of the painter Felix Nussbaum. In the beginning Abigail had nothing more than the name of her great-grandfather, Wilhelm Hellmeister. For six months she researched for address books, trade registers, archives and family albums. With every step, Abigail came closer to the true story. To this day, the 14-year-old cannot believe the whole thing yet: "We never thought that we would get so far and that a whole story came out of a rumour."
 
Flucht 1937’ (Exodus 1937) screens in QUAD on Sunday, 16th July at 4:00pm. Tickets are £8.20 or £6.00 concessions and can be booked here.