Claudia S.C. Schwartz and Shaul Bustan are a German-Israeli artist couple. During the rehearsals for a play in Berlin, the German actress and the Israeli composer met for the first time - and fell in love with each other. Since then, they have not only been a couple privately, but have also taken a professional path together. In their artistic collaborations of text, performance and music, Schwartz and Bustan particularly deal with the Third Reich, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. She, granddaughter of a former Wehrmacht soldier, he, grandson of a Holocaust survivor. For the documentary theatre “Das Letzte Kleinod”, Schwartz and Bustan worked together on the unique production of “Exodus”, a play about the Jewish refugee ship based on original statements by the Jewish survivors, which was performed on original sites in Germany and Israel. The documentary theatre “Das Letzte Kleinod” was subsequently awarded the theatre prize of the federal German state (2015).
In 2016, Schwartz and Bustan developed a reading performance with musical accompaniment to Etty Hillesum's diaries, which is still performed by the two of them nationwide.
In their book “We are both meshugga. Our German - Israeli love story ”Schwartz and Bustan tell their own story, as well as that of their very different families. Shortly after the publication of their book by Eden Books Verlag, the Goethe Institute and the Frankfurt Book Fair chose “We are both meshugga” for the 2017 International Book Fair in Jerusalem. Since then, Schwartz and Bustan have performed the reading performance of the book in front of a wide audience in Germany and Israel: from students at the University of Haifa to inmates of the prison Berlin - Tegel, from book-loving pensioners in the Allgäu to orthodox Israelis in Jerusalem, from culture lovers of the Jewish Culture Days Rhine - Ruhr as well as to visitors of the Dachau concentration camp memorial. Claudia Schwartz and Shaul Bustan's story has been reported on radio (including Deutschlandfunk, SWR and NDR), in newspapers (including Süddeutsche, Jüdische Allgemeine) and in various TV formats (ZDF Morgenmagazin, ZDF Länderspiegel, SWR “Nachtcafé”) to great interest.
She, the granddaughter of a Wehrmacht soldier, and he, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, embody with their private history very emphatically what reconciliation between families and cultures can mean.
Reading performance with musical accompaniment followed by an audience discussion
University of Haifa, Haifa
International Book Fair, Jerusalem
Goethe –Institut Tel Aviv
Deutsche Schule, Aabenra
Hofbuchhandlung Kathrin Wellmann, Wardenburg
Museum Unewatt, Langballig
Bühne Bunter Vorhang, Tostedt
JVA Tegel, Berlin.
Café Impuls, Berlin.
Café Verweile doch, Berlin.
Romantische Nacht, Kloster Drübeck.
Café Sybille, Berlin.
Schwartzsche Villa, Berlin.
St. Marien Kirche, Flensburg.
Martin-Luther Kirche, Zeuthen.
Schloß Ritzebüttel, Cuxhaven
Interkulturelle Woche, Stadtbibliothek Germering
Jüdische Kulturtage Rhein-Ruhr, Bonn
Musikzeit Epiphanien, Epiphanienkirche Hamburg
Versöhnungskirche in der KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau
Kulturforum der Stadtsparkasse Lengerich
VHS Calw, Bad Wildbad
ABOUT THE BOOK When Claudia met Shaul at the rehearsals for a play in Berlin, things came together very fast. The German actor and the Israeli composer fell in love. The situation that rapidly became the norm for the two of them was less so for the people around them. Shaul is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor; Claudia’s grandfather was a soldier in the Nazi army. Is their love for each other too crazy? Too meshuga? Together, Claudia and Shaul embark on a turbulent journey into the story of their families, through Germany and Israel. Somewhere between spätzle and hummous, nuclear and extended families, South German correctness and Israeli chutzpah, this young couple discover not only their past but also their future. The author’s genuine narrative describes how friends, parents and siblings react to their respective counterparts, the complicated stories of their life sandwiched between two different cultures and the many consequences of having an inter-religious wedding and a baby. A story full of heart and humour about two special families and what it’s like to experience the love of one’s life.
Eden Books | A publisher of Edel Germany GmbH
Claudia S.C. Schwartz, born near Stuttgart in 1983, completed her degree in acting at the renowned Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. She received a scholarship for the Shakespeare program at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford (UK) and studied movement theatre based on Grotowski and Barba at the DAH Theatre Centre for Research in Belgrade, Serbia.
Since completing her actor training in 2004, she has appeared on stage at theatres in Ireland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Germany, including with the documentary theatre Das Letzte Kleinod and at the HAU in Berlin. In Ireland, where she lived and worked for ten years, she worked as an actress with theatre companies such as Loose Canon, Rough Magic and Making Strange, which have won multiple awards at the Irish Times Theatre Awards and Dublin Fringe Festival Awards for their productions. Claudia has also acted in plays by Shakespeare with male inmates at Dublin's largest prison for many years. Most recently, she performed in the play Burn or Out at the theatre Brandenburg an der Havel in 2019.
Claudia's first written piece of theatre, the one-person play Ways Of Making You Talk, in which she played the protagonist, was nominated for a New Writing Award at the 2007 Dublin Fringe Festival Awards. In 2012, her play To Die For premiered in English at the English Theatre Berlin. Claudia's first book Meschugge sind wir beide was published in June 2017 in German by Eden Books Verlag. The Goethe-Institut and the Frankfurt Book Fair chose her book to represent German literature at the International Book Fair in Jerusalem 2017.
Since 2011, Claudia has been coaching and training for effective communication internationally. On topics such as leadership, presentation, appearance and impact for companies as well as for individuals from different sectors such as business, politics and art & culture.
Claudia is a trained voice over artist (International Voice/ Christian Rode voice over artist school with Carmen Molinar and Academy for Professional Speaking with Katharina Koschny).
The Israeli composer Shaul Bustan was born in 1983 in a small kibbutz in the Negev desert, in southern Israel. He grew up between two worlds, as the child of a Persian mother and an Eastern European father. This not only shaped him personally, but also musically he is a traveler between cultures and genres. Shauls tonal language tells of his origins as a studied composer of classical music as well as his virtuosity as a player of the oud, the oriental short-necked lute, on which he improvises effortlessly incorporating elements of jazz into his tonal language. In this way he creates highly original and yet very smooth listening experiences, which clearly bring the connection between Orient and Occident to life.
Shaul graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance with a Masters Degree in Composition in 2009. He has written pieces; from opera to chamber and orchestral music to music for film, theater and dance. Shaul has composed for several international orchestras, ensembles and soloists, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, EOS Chamber Orchestra Cologne, Tiroler Ensemble für Neue Musik, Meitar Ensemble, as well as for the mandolinist Avi Avital, the Klezmer maestro Giora Feidman and for the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.
In the 2023/24 season, Shaul has been invited to compose for a special concert for the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra as part of the Uptown Culture project. In September 2023, Shaul will play his new piece "Winter" as an Oud soloist with the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin in the Great Hall of the Berliner Philharmonie.
Since 2011, Shaul lives in Germany. In addition to his work as a composer in various projects, he is the musical director of Ensemble Flensburg and performs regularly with his trio all over Germany.
He has received several awards for his work, including Best music at the International Film Festival of Ahmednagar (India, 2021), 1st prize at the International Tapiola Choir Choral Composition Competition (Finland, 2020), Avni-Yaddor composition competition (Israel, 2008) and scholarships from the German Music Fund, the German Music Council, the Cultural Foundation of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, the Berlin Senate and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.
“The love story between the German actor Claudia Schwartz and the Israeli composer Shaul Bustan is a contribution to humanity.”
“A fantastic story!”
“A story full of differences that goes its own way despite all prejudices.“
“A heart-warming and true story of a great love. But because Claudia's grandfather was a Wehrmacht soldier and Shaul's grandfather a Holocaust survivor, the lovers' are confronted with past and future, two countries and traditions. In the end, two very different families become one. And into this one you would very much like to marry into.”
“(…) Claudia Schwartz tells us what they experience and experienced in her equally cheerful and sometimes disturbing book We are both meshugga.”
"It may be that love makes us sometimes meshugga (crazy). But it can also, as Claudia Schwartz shows with her amusing and moving book, reconcile the past with the present.“
(..) the unusual love story of Claudia Schwartz and Shaul Bustan knocked the audience off their seats. (...) Humorous, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes terrifyingly direct the performance describes the experiences when a German, whose grandfather was a Wehrmacht soldier, meets an Israeli who is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor. (..) The performance on the stage electrified everyone. Above all, the actress convinced with the talent to slip into many of the characters sketched by her and to bring them to life. Shaul Bustan, on the other hand, acted as a resting counterpart - always supporting his wife. His virtuoso lute play entranced the audience time and time again. (..) Her book "We are both meshugga" clears prejudices, finds an insistent way to make visible the horror of the Holocaust and yet is a love story told with a lot of humour - definitely recommended! (..) Claudia Schwartz expressed that she dedicates this evening to the victims of Halle.“
“Humorously but by no means superficially, the Swabian actress Claudia Schwartz and the Israeli composer Shaul Bustan shed light on how they came together despite their different cultures and highly contradicting family histories.”
(…) Claudia S. C. Schwartz manages to maintain a light narrative style, which means that you don't want to put the book down until the end. Her gestures and facial expressions at the reading and her interaction with Shaul are also amusing. This enriches the reading performance with his pieces of music on the oud. The book and the reading show in an extremely entertaining way how funny and meshugga the German-Israeli relations and sensitivities can be. Both absolutely recommended! „
“Schwartz has found a perfect middle ground: informative, important but extremely depressing accounts of the times of the Holocaust are embedded in touching stories about family, cohesion and survival. I'm really not a lover of love stories. I do not need Hollywood ends either. Here we read a story completely without kitsch, but with all the more feeling. But that's not the point. That would be nice, but not worth 5 stars because it is nothing special. It would not have blown me away. Because you've read it that way or something like that many times before. So what is special? This book has really touched me as a manifesto to the peace that it really is. In each story an outstretched hand swings along, an effort to overcome inequalities and obstacles to finally find together and not to be stopped by the fact that you may believe something else, speak differently, maybe be different somehow. That you might just look behind the facade. Because at the core, that is all nothing, as long as we can get involved in each other. This book is full of hope that we will finally break down walls that have been standing for too long - in Israel and Palestine, but also here with us.”
„(…) Swabian alp meets Israeli desert, Maultaschen meets hummus - the love story of the German Claudia Schwartz and the Israeli Shaul Bustan connects cultures, differences and religions […] As part of the Jewish Culture Days Rhine-Ruhr, the reading especially came to life due to Schwartz’ wonderful performance […] In the end there was a lot of applause for the amusing but also thought-provoking reading. "
© 2023 Claudia S. C. Schwartz. Keine Verwendung der gezeigten Bilder und Videos ohne vorherige Genehmigung!
Photos by: Jan von Holleben, Chen Wagshall