Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ernst Ostertag, Röbi Rapp and Der Kreis

Earlier this month, I attended an appearance at the Main Library by Ernst Ostertag & Röbi Rapp, the real-life couple whose story was told in Der Kreis, a charming Swiss film about the gay emancipation association Der Kreis, active in the 1950s & 1960s. Historian Gerard Koskovich interviewed the 2 men, who both spoke elegant English, exuded warmth & seemed very at much ease. The 2 came from very different social backgrounds & were very frank in relating details of their early lives. We learned that the social events hosted by Der Kreis, such as Christmas parties & an annual ball, were extremely important for the members, who basically all led double lives & were often socially isolated. Even at these gatherings, people were referred to by aliases or membership numbers & rarely by their real names. Messrs. Ostertag & Rapp are still activists & told us how diversity in hiring is currently an issue for Swiss companies. Mr. Ostertag asserted that parents' acceptance of a gay child needs to start while it is in the womb.

The event took place in a small circular room with a Baroque-style mural depicting figures climbing toward the sky. There were around 40 people in attendance, mostly baby boomers, & it felt like an intimate gathering. A few people used the Q&A to share personal stories & got a bit emotional during the telling.

§ The Circle: An Evening of Conversation with Ernst Ostertag & Röbi Rapp
Gerard Koskovich, interviewer
Gay & Lesbian Center, Main Library
Tuesday, 2/10/2015, 6:00p

No comments: