(For foreign language films please scroll to the bottom of the page)
A School Exchange
One of our members, Paul Kershaw, who was born in 1935, grew up hating Germans, but in 1951, when he was 15 years old, his school, Thames Valley Grammar, organised an exchange with the Christian School in Hermannsburg in the Lüneburg Heath. His stay there with the von Kloppenfels family, who were very anti-fascist, radically changed his views on Germany, especially when he was taken to the village of Häcklingen, SE of Hamburg, and proudly shown Timeloberg Hill, where on 4th May 1945 Montgomery accepted the German surrender for the Netherlands, NW Germany & Denmark.
66 years later, after losing all contact with his former host family, Paul returned to Hermannsburg & found the street where the von Kloppenfels family had lived. He stopped the first passers-by he met and, to his surprise, they knew the family. The parents were, of course, dead by then, but he made contact with one of the daughters, Melsene, who immediately came & picked him up and took him (and his sister who was travelling with him) to her house & started to fill in everything that had taken place in the ensuing 66 years. He discovered that the von Kloppenfels originally came from Prussia where the father, a university lecturer, who had been forced into the army, died on the Russian front, leaving 4 young children. His wife decided to leave their home & all their belongings & took the children to Hermannsburg to join her sister Tati. They were living in 3 rooms so the mother, the aunt & 4 children must have slept in one room, leaving a living room & Paul’s bedroom.
On Paul’s return in September 2017, Melsene gave Paul the address of her brother Georg & her 2 sisters Uta & Reinhild. Paul has written to all of them & heard from everyone, including an invitation from Georg to visit him & his wife in Bonn in 2018.
7th – 11th February. Fasnacht. REA members are invited by Herr Uli Burchardt, the Oberbürgermeister of Konstanz, to attend the annual Fasnacht celebrations. Many members have already accepted the invitation. Each is making their own individual arrangements. For further information or assistance please contact Antonie Langemann in Konstanz.
Sunday 25th March David Ferguson will lead a tour of Kensal Green Cemetery which was the first commercial cemetery built in London.
The cemetery hosts the graves of many eminent Victorians such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Charles Babbage, Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trolloppe, William Makepeace Thackeray, Oscar Wilde’s mother, WH Smith, Blondin. Sir Marc Brunel & numerous members of the royal family. Indeed it was so popular that people were dying to be buried there.
Weather permitting we are meeting at Richmond station at 11 a.m. For further details please contact David on 0208 977 4181 or consult the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery website.
Plans are underway, together with Arts Richmond, for a 4 to 5 night group trip to Fontainebleau with a rich programme of cultural & heritage activities and a chance to meet twinning partners.
There will be door to door transport by coach via Eurotunnel and real French cuisine. If you are interested in joining the tour please contact Carol Wain on
The latest developments will be posted on this page.
Foreign Language Films
Watermans in Brentford screens films in both French & German.
Richmond Film Society meets at the Exchange opposite Twickenham Station. Tickets. Films are shown on alternate Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Guests £6 or students £4.
All films not in English are shown with subtitles.
Details on: http://www.richmondfilmsoc.org.uk/
13th March 2018 Outside the Law/Hors la Loi France (2010)
After losing their family home in Algeria, three brothers & their mother are scattered across the globe. Messaoud joins the French army fighting in Indochina: Abdelkader becomes a leader of the Algerian independence movement in France & Saïd moves to Paris to make his fortune in the shady clubs & boxing halls of Pigalle. Gradually their interconnecting destinies reunite them in the French capital, where freedom is a battle to be fought & won.
10th April Toni Erdmann German-Austrian comedy-drama (2016)
A practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hard-working daughter by recreating an outrageous alter ego & posing as her CEO’s “life coach.”