The Moscow trials

Re-enactment, scenographic congress, publication

In the Moscow trials of 1937/38, the drive to politically cleanse the Stalinist regime reached a terrible climax. In this three-part project, the International Institute of Political Murder investigated the methods used to persecute alleged “saboteurs, dissenters, and public enemies”. The project began with a reproduction of the third and most spectacular public trial from the perspective of one of its participants. The trial proceedings which took place in Moscow have been re-enacted in full length and recorded on film. The teatr.doc in Moscow and the Human Rights Center ‘Memorial‘ had agreed to cooperate as partners in the project. The re-enactment was accompanied by parallel discussions and lectures on ways to artistically reappraise Stalinism in Russia today. The second part of the project has been organized in cooperation with the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar, the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, and the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. It featured a scenic congress, for which rooms of the former ‘Speziallager 2’ at Buchenwald have been reconstructed at the e-werk in Weimar. In this reconstructed setting (interrogation cells, dormitories and administration offices), international experts, e.g. Anne Applebaum, Karl Schlögel, Irina Sherbakowa, Volkhard Knigge, Matthias Brodkorb, Wolfgang Sofsky, Sylvie Sasse, Timothy Snyder, Jacques Sémelin and Jan Philipp Reemtsma, discussed the inner logic of extermination. In the third part, a series of seminars at the Zurich University of the Arts presented the findings and results of the project. These, along with a documentary of the re-enactment, will also be published in book form by the Theater der Zeit Verlag.

Artistic director: Milo Rau (CH); Curator: Jens Dietrich; Dramaturge: Sophie-Thérèse Krempl; Prop manager: Anton Lukas; Video: Marcel Bächtiger (CH) and others

Performance in Moscow, Teatr.doc, 13 - 16 Sept. 2012
Congress: Weimar, Deutsches Nationaltheater und Staatskapelle Weimar, 19 - 21 Oct. 2012


International Institute for Political Murder

Nußbaumerstraße 70

50823 Köln (external link, opens in a new window)