Warum sind wir so kalt? – Why are we so cold?
I have long been been looking for more information on Erika Mann’s cabaret work. It is referenced in articles and biographies I have read about her but none went on to describe the actual pieces that were performed.
Die Pfeffermuehle was a political cabaret originally formed in January 1933 in Munich by Erika and her brother, which performed in protest of the politics pursued by the growing nationalist movement in Germany. After Hitler’s rise to power later on in 1933, the members of the cabaret group were pursued by the authorities as enemies of the state and fled the country for fear of their personal safety. While in exile in Switzerland, the cabaret initially continued their performances, but Swiss authorities quickly discouraged these performances because of their political content and for fear that the relationship with German authorities, and especially the tourism trade may suffer.
This audio production not only gives an insight into the biographical and historical context of the cabaret pieces, it also contains a performance of some of the actual songs and performances.
I thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into the part of her and her fellow actors of the Pfeffermuehle cabaret. As for the pieces themselves, it is astounding to compare satire written in the 1930s with the subsequent events in history and see how close the nightmarish distortion of the cabaret turned into reality.