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Dont Miss: 'Life? or Theater?'

In the early days of World War II, a young German-Jewish exile in southern France produced more than 1,300 autobiographical paintings. Charlotte Salomon combined 769 of these, with musical cues and text, in an operetta that tells the story of her family and herself in vivid paintings along with dialogue and music.

The work, titled "Leben? oder Theater?" ("Life? or Theater?"), illuminates the grief and terror experienced by many Jewish women in war-ravaged Europe. Salomon died in Auschwitz in 1942.
Courtesy Jewish historical Museum, Amsterdam. © Charlotte Salomon Foundation

On Jan. 23—24, a conference sponsored by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender will examine her work.

In addition to developing an understanding of its unique cultural moment in the traumatically changing Europe of the 1930s, presenters will raise social and historical questions about women in politically stressful situations. A highlight of the conference will be the Jan. 24 presentation of a scene from a dance performance choreographed by Ann Arbor artist Whitley Setrakian.

Conference events, including a pre-conference reception at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in Lane Hall, are open to the public. For a complete listing of events and presenters, visit

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