Session 8b

PANEL: Heejoo Kim, Helen Kvale, and Simon Hutchinson: Behind the Loom

“Behind the Loom” uses theater as a springboard to look back at a family tragedy during a provocative period in history to interpret how an artist might have used his art to help him heal. And we are expressing this interpretive exploration through a new piece of art: the animated documentary short film. It is 1944, Berlin. The Red Army approaches from the East leaving the victims of mass rape in its wake.  Before Christmas, an artist creates a little loom for his four daughters. On it he paints their names and the words Allwelt, Christmas 1944.What was the historical context for this phenomenon of mass rape of German women and girls alongside mass suicide of German families? Why are the stories of German shame amongst women and men surfacing now? And why and when exactly did Albert Allwelt make a loom for his daughters? What did it represent to him and his family? Why does the story of this second world war German family matter? “Behind the Loom” is a short animated documentary film that explores the mystery of the loom through testimony by those who knew Ali, Hanni, and their four daughters. It tells the story of war: the mass rapes and suicides leading up Siege of Berlin by the Red Army in 1945. It gives us an insight into how a returning conscripted artist might have used art to cope with the death of his family and the trauma of war.