[Chicago Crossings: Bridges and Boundaries, reel 9; Gerda M. Bernstein]

Artist Gerda Meyer-Bernstein takes the Kartemquin Films crew on a tour of her studio, showing and discussing some of her previous works.

0:29Copy video clip URL Continuing to show the Kartemquin Films crew around her studio, Meyer-Bernstein talks more about her piece The Hooded March and the extensive research behind it. She goes on to discuss how the uniformity of Germany’s social landscape enabled the rise of the Third Reich and, contemporarily, could allow for the spread of Neo-Nazism in a way that would not be possible in the United States. “Hitler could have never accomplished what he did had the population not been so geared to respecting authority and ‘following the leader,'” she argues.

4:00Copy video clip URL Meyer-Bernstein talks about her recent visits to Germany and the current social landscape, saying that a great majority of the youth renounce Neo-Nazism, but admitting that she’s not as sure about the elder population. “I really have my doubts, I had quite a few arguments and discussions there,” Gerda admits.

5:20Copy video clip URL B-roll of hanging stones in The Hooded March.

5:37Copy video clip URL Jerry Blumenthal, a member of the Kartemquin Films crew, tells Gerda a story of two young filmmakers who presented him with a documentary on Frank Collin, founder of the American Nazi Party. The film maintained a neutral point of view on Collin, and Blumenthal says he became incensed and subsequently kicked the two out of the studio for presenting no point-of-view on such a polarizing figure.

7:15Copy video clip URL Meyer-Bernstein demonstrates her technique for cutting pieces of glass while again talking about the intention and importance of her piece, “Phoenix.”

9:55Copy video clip URL Meyer-Bernstein—a refugee who fled from Germany in 1939—recalls her long history of political activism, beginning as a young teen in Germany. She sees her work as a continuance of of her involvement in politics, in addition to her efforts with Amnesty International as well as various women’s organizations.

12:14Copy video clip URL Meyer-Bernstein addresses the question of whether she sees herself as a Jewish artist, or rather an artist who is also Jewish. “I consider myself an artist who happens to be Jewish, not just a Jewish artist,” she explains.

13:11Copy video clip URL The crew continues their tour through Gerda’s studio, spending a great deal of time viewing a harrowing piece dealing with the use of rape as a tool for ethnic cleansing in Eastern European countries.

18:27Copy video clip URL Tape end.

 

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