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Two Berlin Theatre directors, Hans-Werner Kroesinger and Regine Dura researched the southeastern front of The First World War. They were in Belgrade, Sarajevo, in Germany and Austria, and also in Istanbul, where German soldiers were washed ashore who had fallen on the shores of the Black Sea and who were buried in the cemetery of the Academy of the Arts Tarabya on the Bosporus.

by Enis Yücel
Tarabya Cultural Academy, summer residence of the German ambassador in Istanbul where German soldiers who fell in World War I are buried. © Enis Yücel
Tarabya Cultural Academy, summer residence of the German ambassador in Istanbul where German soldiers who fell in World War I are buried. © Enis Yücel

They were in Belgrade, Sarajevo, in Germany and Austria, and also in Istanbul, where German soldiers were washed ashore who had fallen on the shores of the Black Sea and who were buried in the cemetery of the Academy of the Arts Tarabya on the Bosporus. With actors from the cities visited, Kroesinger and Dura let the war come back to life in photographs, slides, texts, film clips, letters and leaflets.

Together with local partners, the director Hans-Werner Kroesinger and the filmmaker Regine Dura have investigated places and history related to the theme of World War I and found connections with the current situation in Turkey. This research process generates documentary theater presentations that reveal national perspectives on history and form a bridge between 1914 and 2014. This is a backward look toward the future, which aims to stimulate intercultural dialogue against the background of the two nations’ shared history, question stereotypes and breakdown prejudices.

The starting point of this intense research is the military cemetery on the grounds of the historic summer residence of the German ambassador, now the Tarabya Cultural Academy, in Istanbul. German soldiers who fell in World War I are buried here. In talks, interviews and explorations of this site, various points of view are brought together. On the basis of this material, a performance is developed that presents these various perspectives and descriptions. The narratives that emerge in the performance influence, complement, contradict, or even compete with one another. Sovereign rights over interpretations dissolve, and the observer is confronted with different national narratives.

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