From November 22, 2013 to March 23, 2014, the Jewish Museum Berlin exhibits 130 black and white photographs within the exhibition “In an Instant,” among them street scenes of Paris and New York as well as numerous portraits, by Jewish German-born photographer Fred Stein.
Following the National Socialists’ seizure of power, the lawyer and then-amateur photographer Stein, his wife Lilo, and their daughter were forced to flee Germany for Paris in 1933, where they had to build an existence from scratch. Stein opened his own photographic studio in Paris, and his passion soon became his profession. In 1941, the outbreak of World War II finally forced the family to emigrate to New York. The photographs Stein took in both of these cities incorporate a variety of ephemeral social stories—partly humorous, partly serious. Germany’s first-ever retrospective of Fred Stein’s oeuvre also showcases signature portraits of well-known figures of the German émigré community such as Marlene Dietrich, Thomas Mann, Hannah Arendt, and Albert Einstein. Willy Brandt described Stein as “a brilliant photographer inspired by his quest for justice and his concern for truth so clearly reflected in his photographs.” Stein’s legacy still continues to live on today through photographs that have found their place in society’s collective consciousness.
On the opening night on November 21, 2013, Cilly Kugelmann, the Program Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, delivered welcoming remarks, followed by an introduction to the exhibition by Theresia Ziehe, the curator, and by Ms. Jihan Radjai, the museum’s research associate. Peter Stein, the guest of honor and Fred Stein’s son and executor delivered opening remarks elaborating on his father’s life story and the legacy of his photographs.
The exhibition has been supported by the U.S. Embassy Berlin.