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Episode 5: Art of Leaving

The Story of Lene Schneider-Kainer

When controversial Berlin artist Lene Schneider-Kainer flees the safe confines of her posh marriage and life to retrace Marco Polo’s legendary voyage – with her new lover, a celebrity novelist – the adventure she seeks isn’t the one she gets. The scandalous choice turns her into a permanent exile, always seeking.

The Art & Objects Collection of the Leo Baeck Institute in New York contains hundreds of stunning watercolors by Lene from her 1920s trip. Her travel diaries of that voyage were translated into English by volunteers Ruth Heiman and Irene Miller.

Exile is a production of the Leo Baeck Institute, New York | Berlin and Antica Productions.

It’s narrated by Mandy Patinkin.

Executive Producers include Debbie Pacheco, Stuart Coxe and Bernie Blum. Senior Producer is Katrina Onstad. Produced by Alexis Green. Associate Producers are Jacob Lewis, Hailey Choi, and Emily Morantz. Research and translation by Isabella Kempf. Sound design and audio mix by Philip Wilson with help from Cameron McIver. Theme music by Oliver Wickham. Voice acting by Isabel Kanaan.

Thank you to Outloud Audio, Sabine Dahmen and her German language book on Lene Schneider-Kainer that included Bernhard Kellermann’s letter, Behrooz’s translator Lida Nosrati, and to Behrooz Abbasi for providing us with music from his film, “Lene, 1927 Bandar Abbas”.

Want more about Lene Schneider-Kainer?

Our Collections Staff created this page about Lene's life and work.

Laddack Woman by Lene Schneider-Kainer
Illustration of a Laddack woman from the Himalayas, wearing a blue coat, a purple hat, and beaded jewelry. The illustration was done by Lene Schneider-Kainer, dated 1926-28, when Schneider-Kainer was assigned to retrace the steps of Marco Polo.