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MISSION: BERLIN (PART 2) – “Night Flight to Berlin” Exhibition Opening with Nikki van der Zyl

Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Some life stories are so multi-layered, versatile and moving that it is important to carry them through the ages and give us the chance to be part of them. Such is the life story of Nikki van der Zyl and her family who had to flee Germany during the time of the Nazi regime and started a new life in England.
The exhibition “Night Flight to Berlin”, shown in the Museum Pankow (Prenzlauer Allee 227/228) from November 2013 to April 2014, is an impressive collection of memories that were carefully preserved over many decades and it takes visitors on an amazing journey through the life of Nikki van der Zyl.

Bond fans will be overjoyed to get a rare glimpse on the story of Nikkis involvement in the Bond films – from the very first 007 screen adventure “Dr. No” to “Moonraker”. A copy of the “Goldfinger” script can be seen in the exhibition, along with a call sheet that required Nikkis presence as voice coach for German actor Gert Fröbe.
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
The Goldfinger Script – Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Goldfinger Call-Sheet – Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
While we had a first look through the exhibition ahead of the official opening ceremony, I noticed Bond expert & author Danny Morgenstern watching a german TV documentary about actor Gert Fröbe for which Nikki was extensively interviewed. In the previous months, Danny had put much work and effort into his project to make a film about Nikki and thereby help to preserve the memories she has. For me, the photos below truly show how serious and thoughtful he does that. This is not just a Bond-related story…it is the story of a remarkable woman who became a friend to us.
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
I was very surprised when I noticed, that a photo I took during the “From Russia with Love” movie event in Braunschweig had also been included in the exhibition. I felt very honored.
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
The opening ceremony was a nice arrangement of speeches, introductions and musical performances by young performers of the Béla Bartok music school. The opening speeches were given by the museum curator Bernt Roder and the District Councellor for Culture, Dr. Torsten Kühne. Rabbi Maurice Michaels (London) as well as director and author Michael Strauven delivered words of greeting regarding the life and work of the van der Zyl family.

Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Rabbi Maurice Michaels giving his speech – Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Director Michael Strauven – Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Nikki ended the opening ceremony with some of her own thoughts and we could all see, how happy and delighted she was that everything in the exhibition room had been so carefully put together to represent her life, her story.
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
After the opening, we were all invited to have a few drinks and stroll through the exhibition to take in all the well-researched informations and photos from Nikkis private collection. You might know, that Nikki van der Zyl is also a fabulous painter and in the exhibition you can even see a tribute to Turner painted by her. Since “SKYFALL”, Turners painting “The fighting Temeraire” has become a legend for itself.
Several scenes for the film about Nikki were filmed during the opening and I was always trying to get some photos of that…”Making Of”, you know…
Danny Morgenstern & Wolfgang Thürauf – Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Nikkis wonderful husband George, who has always been an invaluable supportive man at her side, is always attentive to everything happening around her and talked to many guests during the exhibition opening, explaining stations of Nikkis life in his usual charming manner.
George in conversation with a guest – Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Rabbi Maurice Michaels – Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
In the “Bond Corner”, Bond fans got talking to each other and this is always exciting to witness since the exchange of opinions and knowledge with this well-informed community is a treat for every Bond aficionado. Each has an individual story to tell and I found all of us to be quite extraordinary characters in the Bond Fan universe.
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
The exhibition opening finished around 7pm and after we took the last photos of the day, we decided to have a nice and comfortable final dinner before I would return to Braunschweig together with Danny who kindly gave me a lift so I didn´t had to rush across Berlin to reach my bus home.
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
We had dinner in a nice italian restaurant close to the museum and the evening was once again filled with lovely discussions about the world of Bond as well as our very own individual life stories.
Foto Copyright: Bond Bulletin / Benjamin Lind
And so, MISSION BERLIN concluded and I left with many positive impressions of what I had seen and of the wonderful people I had met. A big THANK YOU goes out to everyone who was there and shared this unique experience with us, in particular Nikki and George who are such kind and warm-hearted personalities allowing us to be a part of their remarkable story.
I´d like to strongly encourage everyone visiting Berlin to have a look at the exhibition. You can easily reach the museum by taking the tram from the city center.

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