Thursday, February 29, 2024

Portraits of Exiles: A Donation from Peter Stein

In December 2023, filmmaker Peter Stein, the son of photographer Fred Stein, was a guest at Werkstatt Exilmuseum with an event about his father. His prizewinning and very personal documentary film Out of Exile about the long path leading to the recognition of his father’s photographic oeuvre moved the audience. Peter Stein has now made a highly generous donation to Stiftung Exilmuseum: eleven of the most famous portrait photographs taken by his father, including photographs of Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Bertolt Brecht, and Thomas Mann. We are thrilled about this new addition to our photography collection and thank Peter Stein in the most heartfelt way.

Fred Stein, who was persecuted by the Nazis as a Jew and a socialist, fled Dresden for Paris in 1933. After attempting in vain to continue his work as a lawyer, he opened a photo studio with his wife Liselotte in Paris using the Leica 35mm camera that the couple had bought to celebrate their wedding. At this point in time, nobody imagined that he would once become one of the best photographers of the period. He became famous for his portrait photographs of familiar personalities who had to flee into exile.

Photographs by Fred Stein: Albert Einstein, 1946 – Hannah Arendt, 1944 – Thomas Mann, 1943 – Klaus Mann, 1935 – Ernst Toller, 1935 

Photos: © Fred Stein Archive courtesy of Peter Stein