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BÄR. EIN ZEITZEUGE ERZÄHLT: based on the biography of Irene Grumach-Shirun – Schaubude Berlin | 27.06.2024-29.01.2025

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From 27 June 2024 (premiere 29 June), Schaubude Berlin will be showing its own production BÄR. EIN ZEITZEUGE ERZÄHLT based on the biography by Irene Grumach-Shirun. Bear, called “Bärchen”, is over 100 years old. His eyes have seen a lot. He has avoided memories such as the time when the walls were shaking because of the bombs or when Irene’s grandmother was deported, but now he shares his experiences with us.

Image above: © Luise Ehrenwerth

After the performances, workshops are offered for school classes to deepen their impressions and categorise the historical context.

About the memoirs of Holocaust survivor Irene Grumach-Shirun and the connection to our own production BÄR. EIN ZEITZEUGE ERZÄHLT.

Tim Sandweg in conversation with author Jill Levenfeld (DE/EN), excerpts from the blog article.

[…] Jill Levenfeld and Irene Grumach-Shirun met in 2009. They met regularly at the Beit Moses retirement home in Jerusalem until Irene’s death in 2021. In 2018, Jill Levenfeld began writing down Irene Grumach-Shirun’s memoirs. These notes formed the basis for the Schaubude production “Bär. A contemporary witness tells”.

DEEDS.NEWS - Schaubude - Bär. Ein Zeitzeuge erzählt - © Archivfoto Irene Grumch-Shirun
© Archivfoto Irene Grumch-Shirun

[…] Irene carried the trauma of the war with her throughout her life. She not only carried her own trauma with her, but also that of her father Ernst Grumach, who had to accept the loss of over 20 of his colleagues, all of whom perished in Auschwitz. A trained classical philologist, he was forced by the Nazis during the war to catalogue the one million books looted from private and public Jewish libraries across Europe. They forced him to select over 20 Jewish academics for his team. He hoped that this forced labour would save their lives, but they were murdered. He bore the guilt and shame for their deaths, which was transferred to Irene. Even as a young girl, she was burdened by the transgenerational trauma that would crush her for the rest of her life.

[…] Irene treasured the special connection she had with her grandma Rika. She read her one book after another. Tragically, her beloved grandma was deported by Nazi soldiers in July 1943. Right in front of Irene, who was holding Bärchen in her arms. It was a trauma that haunted her all her life, but while writing her memoirs, Irene remembered that hugging Bärchen when her grandma was deported had actually helped her to grieve.

[…] Six-year-old Irene instinctively understood the power of play – in a parallel space with her beloved bear – while imagining a different reality that distracted her from her trauma.

Bärchen continued his role as her companion, never leaving her side and protecting and comforting her throughout her life.

DEEDS.NEWS - Schaubude - Bär. Ein Zeitzeuge erzählt - © Lea Röwer
© Lea Röwer


Thursday, 27 June 2024, at 10:00 am
Friday, 28 June 2024, at 10:00 am
Saturday, 29 June 2024, at 6 pm: Premiere
Friday, 13 September 2024, at 10:00 am
Saturday, 14 September 2024, at 6 pm: with tactile tour and audio description
Tuesday, 28 January 2025, at 10:00 am
Wednesday, 29 January 2025, at 10:00 am


Schaubude Berlin 
Greifswalder Straße 81-84 
10405 Berlin


7 € (Child)
5 € (group with JKS licence)
5.50 € (group without JKS licence)
10 € reduced
9 € (adults)


For everyone aged 9 and over
Based on the biography of Irene Grumach-Shirun, written by Jill Levenfeld
Concept, performance:
Josephine Hock
Director: Hannes Kapsch
Concept, scenography, costumes: Luise Ehrenwerth
Sound: Sebastian Schlemminger
Puppet construction: Verena Waldmüller
Dramaturgy: Tim Sandweg
Concept accompanying material and workshop: Iven Hoppe, Susann Tamoszus
Antisemitism-critical counselling: Juliette Brungs
Funded by: Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion
Concept supported by: AMCHA Deutschland e. V. and the Federal Foreign Office
The concept for the production was developed as part of the project “Hakara – Confronting Transgenerational Trauma” by AMCHA Deutschland e. V. and was funded by the Federal Foreign Office.

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