81 rue Réaumur
75002 Paris
CHARLOTTE SALOMON , a documentary film by Franz Weisz. 83’ and 2 X 43'

Charlotte Salomon was born in Berlin in 1917. She arises from a German Jewish upper class family. Her father is both a doctor and a professor at the University of Berlin. When she was only nine years old, her mother commited suicide.

Charlotte leaves High school before obtaining the High School degre because of the ambient anti-semitism. She makes her beginnings at the Fine Arts School of Berlin. This experience is a failure. In fact, the School refuses to give her the first prize of the competition of art because of her Jewish roots.

In January 1939, she leaves Berlin to join her grandparents in the South of France. In 1940, few months after her grandmother's suicide, Charlotte Salomon is deported with her grandfather in the camp of Gurs. She is released a few months later.
From this moment she starts painting again to fight against despair and loneliness until her deportation to Auschwitz in 1943.

In 18 months, she created more than one thousand autobiographical paintings in gouache realized from the only primary colours.
She selected 800 paintings grouped in an entitled collection "Life ? Or Theater ?" It's a collection telling Charlotte Salomon's life as a talented and cultivated Jewish from Germany.

At the same time, this testimony depicts a life spent in she shade of the nazi persecution, a story of a family brought to the suicide, but also revealing moments of happiness and hope.

In 1943, Charlotte Salomon gets married to an Austrian emigrant, Alexander Nagler. After the Free Zone occupation by the Germans, the couple is denounced and deported to Auschwitz, where Charlotte who is pregnant, died at the age of 26.

Charlotte Salomon's work is discovered after the war, in the South of France, at the place where she has hidden them. They were exposed for the first time in Amsterdam in 1961. From that moment, her work is getting more and more famous.

Thirty years ago, Franz Weisz realized the feature film"Charlotte" dealing with Charlotte Salomon's life and her etablishing works "Life ? Or theater ?".
While the movie is produced, Charlotte Salomon's mother-in-law, Paula Salomon-Lindberg, gives an unpublished letter of Charlotte to the director. However, she asked him not to use it in the movie.

In this letter, Charlotte Salomon talks about people who were signifiant in the last moments of her French life: the rich american, the owner of Hermitage Villa; Ottilie Moore, a woman who suppied a shelter to Charlotte and her grandparents; Alexander Nagler, her husband; George Moridis, doctor and friend from Villefranche-Sur-Mer to whom she confided her paintings before being deported.

This characters who are secondary roles in Franz Weisz's feature film, "Charlotte", are now the main characters of our documentary. They are brought back to life by interviews, reports, archives, photos, reconstitutions.

A production

Quintus Films

In coproduction with

Centre National de la Cinématographie