Exhibition: Bogota in Berlin in Toronto

Artist: Théodore Witek.

Curator: Hilda Yasseri.

This exhibition tells the story of the Hotel Bogota, old artists’ studio converted into a Ministry of Culture during the third Reich…

At the end of 2013, the Hotel Bogota in Berlin-Charlottenburg must close its doors. It leaves behind it 100 years of history in the Berlin art scene.

The hotel was built in 1911 and became, over the decades, an important witness of the cultural and political changes in the German capital.During the Weimar Republic, people like the arts patron Oskar Skaller lived here. He held meetings between artists and politicians, and evening dances in his ground-floor apartment, where jazz musicians such as the clarinettist Benny Goodman, played.

The German fashion and portrait photographer Yva moved here in 1934. She took her first color pictures on the roof of the building. Yva, of Jewish origin, was forced to close her studio in 1938. Convinced Hitler won’t be in power for long, she decided to stay in Germany and only decided to emigrate four years later.She and her husband, Alfred Simon, were arrested by the Gestapo as they tried to leave for the United States. They were later deported to Majdanek and murdered in 1942. Later, her archives were destroyed during the bombings in Berlin.

The Nazi regime took over the building in 1938 and used it for its “Reichskulturkammer” (Chamber of Culture) whose mission was to promote Aryan art and condemn “degenerate” art.

It’s only in 1964 that the Hotel’s story really began. Heinz Rewald, who had emigrated to Colombia before Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s, returned to Berlin and opened the Hotel Bogota –name of his host city– on the fourth and fifth floor of the building.

Exhibition: Bogota in Berlin in Toronto

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