11. December 2022



Josefine Patzelt “Letters to a Grandfather”

Sat. Dec. 10, 2022, 8 p.m.
Sun. Dec. 11, 2022, 6 p.m.

(WA) Josefine Patzelt “Letters to a Grandfather.”
A dance-theater piece about coming to terms with war criminals and grandpas in pleated pants

We were sent by our parents to love the murderers they could no longer love. We were sent by our teachers to ask about the murders that no one told them about. We are sent by politics to remember what we never experienced. We are supposed to absorb all that they call collective memory. But this is not collective memory, this is a man in a pair of pleated pants, this is grandpa.

A steadily growing emergence of nationalistic ideas during the last years, when contemporary witnesses of the Second World War are still alive – the piece “Letters to a Grandfather” speaks out of this specific historical constellation, which is so formative for our time and which, as it were, is slowly disappearing.

It questions relationships with people who were both grandfathers and soldiers, and treats them in terms of social ideals, family structures, and a felt historical responsibility as the granddaughter of a war criminal. It approaches this subject matter through both personal research and a variety of interviews with people of different generations. Can we reveal patterns of behavior that are indebted to a past other than our own?

“Letters to a Grandfather” is a letter from a generation to a past that veils the horizon like a fog. A memory palette about the legacy of guilt and the silence of a grandfather.

Dance and choreography: Josefine Patzelt

Music*: Eric Eggert

Dramaturgical accompaniment: Lenah Flaig

Lighting: Garlef Keßler, Thomas Mörl

Stage design: Luka Patzelt

With thanks to: Kulturbunker Mülheim

*with music by Martin Kohlstedt (GOL & NIO)

Sponsored and supported by: Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Quartier am Hafen.

This performance is supported and made possible by: Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste.

Josefine Patzelt studied modern dance and dance theater at the Fontys Dance Academy in the Netherlands. She worked with Sara Wiktorowicz, Liz King and danced for Tanzmoto Dance Company in Essen. In 2012 she became a soloist at the Polish Dance Theater in Poznan, where she performed in pieces by Ohad Naharin and Jo Strømgren, among others. In 2015 she became co-founder of the dance theater collective flies&tales in Cologne, whose pieces played at several festivals in Germany. She has been a guest dancer at Oper Dortmund, Oper Bonn in collaboration with Bärbel Stenzenberger and bodytalk in Münster. In addition to her own productions, since 2020 she has also worked in a project with Bridgeworks e.V., Tanz Kompanie Stereo48 (PA), Emanuele Soavi INcompany, Bibiana Jiménez, Sara Escribano Maenza and Tanzwerke Vanek Preuß. “Letters to a Grandfather” is their first piece in a series that explores dance, history and the body as archive.

“This dance theater performance “Letters to a Grandfather” is extraordinary, is great in dance, is theatrically perfect, and above all, is compelling in content. The piece is a solo that lives from the dancing and theatrical presence of Josefine Patzelt.” bonn/letters-to-a-grandfather-dance-theater-performance-by-and-with-josefine-patzelt
“It is her tremendous quality of movement, choreographic originality and versatility combined with substance of content that make this latest work – premiered via livestream during Lockdown a year ago – an event.” letters-to-a-grandfather
“Can such a topic, which is still explosive today, be material for a dance piece? The young Cologne choreographer Josefine Patzelt now proves this impressively.” tanzes_aid-71237297

– “”Letters to a Grandfather” is not a comfortable piece in terms of theme and design, but an artful, irritating piece that fits the times right now. Because it demonstrates what war does to people – even when it is long over.” (Jürgen Bieler, 27.06.2022, General Anzeiger Bonn)

Preliminary talk about the performance in First and Further Steps between the artist Josefine Patzelt and Sandra Franz, director of the NS- Dokumentationsstelle Krefeld:


Photo © Kurt Heuvens