Tatort: Schlachtfeld | Ulrich Matthes (Center) and Burghart Klaußner | © Sebastian Bolesch
Miroslav Nemec (left) und Udo Wachtveitl (right) read at the Haus der Kunst in Munich. | © Max Geuter
Peter Lohmeyer reads at the Staatstheater Hannover. | © Katrin Ribbe
Nicole Heesters (left) und Peter Lohmeyer (right) read at the Deutsche Nationalbiliothek in Leipzig. | © PUNCTUM / Stefan Hoyer
Matthias Rogg (left), Rüdiger Kruse (center) und Jan Ehlert (right) debate at the Hamburger Kammerspiele. | © Bo Lahola
Theresa Hübchen und Marcus Bluhm read at the Staatsschauspiel Dresden. | © promo
Christhard Läpple (left), Rosemarie Hein (Center) and Ernst Piper (right) debate at the Theater Magdeburg. | © Nilz Böhme
Dominique Horwitz and Sophie Rois read at the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar. | © Thomas Müller
Charly Hübner and Lina Beckmann read at the Volkstheater Rostock. | © Thomas Häntzschel
Tanja Weidner (Wolfgang-Borchert-Theater), Sonja Valentin, Meinhard Zanger (Director Wolfgang-Borchert-Theater), Hannelore Hoger, Gerd Krumeich, Oliver Urbanski, Sybille Benning, Jan Ehlert (from left to right) at the Wolfgang-Borchert-Theater Münster | © Klaus Lefebvre
One hundred years after World War I the violent conflicts of our age have assumed completely new forms. When individual militias, warlords and terrorist groups, as opposed to states, become the decisive players, then in many cases wars can now no longer be recognized as such. However, even World War I, as a global war, was already a complex formation composed of diverse parties and partisans, paramilitaries and warmongering intellectuals. At times it was not clear who was fighting against who and for what as friendships, loyalties and convictions often came into conflict with national identity: For example, in an exchange of letters from 1914, the men of letters Gerhard Hauptmann and Romain Rolland argued whether France or Germany as states had started the war, or whether as cultural nations they were both defending themselves against an attack from barbarians. To this day we continue to struggle for cultural dominance – wars are also fought on the symbolic and psychological plane.
As is the case today, the different violent conflicts between 1914 and 1918 resulted in the persecution of minorities, flight and expulsion: In a novella from 1927, the writer Stefan Zweig, who suffered from the loss of his homeland throughout his life, described how a refugee was fished out of the water – an image that is all too familiar to us today.
In the series of readings and discussions Tatort: Schlachtfeld, the literary texts, letters and diaries from World War I will be brought to life by actors, providing a historical background against which we can gain a new understanding of contemporary phenomena such as terrorism and civil war, military interventions, flight and expulsion.
In the readings, well-known actors from the crime series Tatort such as Barbara Auer, Nicole Heesters, Dominique Horwitz, Charly Hübner or Ulrich Tukur, will bring to life a war which preoccupied the artists and literati of the age like no other.
In 18 nationwide events between October 2015 and June 2016, the Tatort commissioners will lend their voices to European and non-European poets and intellectuals, war opponents and enthusiasts, doubters and those dragged into events from 1914 to 1918.
In the concluding discussions with politicians, historians and further experts, positions of the time will be juxtaposed with current debates in order to gain an understanding of how, over the last one hundred years, World War I has continued to exercise an effect, fundamentally changing our understanding of war and violence.
Tatort: Schlachtfeld is curated by Sonja Valentin.
“Tatort: Schlachtfeld” takes place as part of 100 Years of Now.