JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN

“My verses are like dynamite”
Curt Bloch’s Het Onderwater-Cabaret

Februar 9 to bis May 26, 2024

(© Jewish Museum Berlin)

Exhibition

Between August 1943 and April 1945, Curt Bloch, who fled Germany to the Netherlands in 1933, produced a unique work of creative resistance: Het Onderwater Cabaret. It comprises 95 booklets of handwritten satirical poems that deal with Nazi propaganda and the course of the war. Bloch illustrated each booklet with artistic title collages.

Alongside all the original and digitized issues and other works that were written underground, the exhibition introduces his helpers and those who were with him in hiding, accompanied by eyewitness interviews and insights into Bloch’s creative process.

In addition, the exhibition brings a selection of Bloch’s cabaret pieces vibrantly to life in an audio production and a video performance specially staged by the actor Marina Frenk, featuring Richard Gonlag and Mathias Schäfer.

Through this detailed testimony, the exhibition adds a further dimension to the images of life and survival in hiding that predominate in today’s society: the dimension of Curt Bloch’s experience, which includes the humor and creativity he was able to bring to bear against Nazi brutality.

Online feature

An online feature on the exhibition offers indepth, multimedia insights into three selected issues of Het Onderwater-Cabaret. Here, you can find background information on Curt Bloch’s life and his readership in hiding, and you can take a look behind the scenes of the museum’s work, in particular the careful restoration of the 95 booklets.

The original magazines in the careful hands of the restorer. (© Jewish Museum Berlin)
JMB Journal no. 26, theme: Curt Bloch, Het Onderwater Cabaret, magazine cover from December 18, 1943

JMB Journal

Instead of a catalog, a special edition of the JMB Journal will be published to accompany the exhibition. In hiding, Curt Bloch had wished that his satirical underground magazine would find a large readership after the war – the JMB Journal is intended to help fulfill this wish. It is available in print at the museum for 5 euros and as a digital edition.

Digitized original editions

All 95 restored issues of the OWC are available online as high-resolution scans and can be viewed in detail on the JMB-Website. There, all pages can be enlarged and explored in detail.