Aid AAid for Artists in Exile helps artists from anywhere in the world who are persecuted in their home countries for standing up for freedom of expression, human rights and democracy, and as a result are being prevented from carrying out their creative work in the areas of theatre, fine art, literature, film and music. The artists are often forced to leave their countries and built up a new existence in exile.

Aid A awards scholarships to individual artists who through their creative work continue championing democracy and human rights in their home countries.

Aid A also promotes projects by artists in exile and initiates its own projects to raise awareness about the situation in the respective countries, to ease integration and to inspire political discourse.

In the spirit of its founders, Aid A is continuing the work started by Ariane Mnouchkine and Patrice Chéreau in Paris in 1979 with the association AIDA (Association Internationale de Défense des Artistes): »We will bear witness, we will be the echo of those who call out for help. We will disseminate their writings, reproduce their drawings, ceaselessly repeat their words and perform their music.«

Executive Board

The actress, lecturer and presenter Christiane Filla, and the theatre director Anna Schildt came to know each other in 2008. Since then the two women have been linked not only through their work in theatre but also through their political involvement in associations that point out grievances and aim to improve the situation of artists. Christiane Filla is involved in the Federal Association of Film and TV Actors (BFFS), and Anna Schildt was in the Federation of Independent Performing Arts in Hamburg. Since 2017 they have been on the executive board of Aid A and are now working together to support politically persecuted artists.


Christiane Filla

Christiane Filla was born in Iserlohn in 1970 and grew up in Aachen and Hilden. After studying German literature and language, art and the history of architecture, she trained in acting and dance at the Stage School in Hamburg. Christiane Filla has been performing as an actor on stage and in front of the camera since 1992. She also works as a writer, director and lecturer for acting in Hamburg and has been involved in the Federal Association of Film and TV Actors (BFFS) since 2006. In 2007 Christiane Filla founded the actors’ collective ›Schauspielerkollektiv Hohenesch‹.

Anna Schildt

Anna Schildt was born in Hamburg in 1976. She studied theatre directing at the Institute of Theatre, Music Theatre and Film which belongs to the University of Hamburg, and at today’s Academy of Theatre and Music in Hamburg. This was followed by theatre and music management at the Ludwig-Maximilians University and the Bavarian Theatre Academy in Munich. Her works range from classic theatre to site-specific performances in urban spaces, and documentary installations in places not intended for such purposes. In addition to this she was on the board of the Federation of Independent Performing Arts in Hamburg and on the board of the sponsoring organisation for the festival of performing arts ›Hauptsache Frei‹ in Hamburg.

Become A Member

Help artists in exile – become a member of Aid A.
Your annual contribution helps directly.

It’s very simple: Please fill out the form below and send it off. You will receive a confirmation email from us.
Or fill out the membership application as a PDF and send it by e-mail to: .
You can also print the PDF, fill it in and send it in a suitably stamped envelope: Aid A – Aid for Artists in Exile e. V., Hospitalstrasse 107, House 3, 22767 Hamburg.

You can view the statutes of Aid A – Aid for Artists in Exile e.V. here and
download them here.


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1979 marks the founding year of AIDA (Association Internationale de Défense des Artistes). The incident that triggered this action was the trial in camera of the Czech writer and later President Vláclav Havel that same year. The government defamed and arrested him and other artists for being members of the civil rights movement Charta 77 and as signatories to the manifesto of the same name which called for the fulfilment of civil and human rights in their country.

The film, theatre and opera director from Paris Patrice Chéreau took down verbatim transcriptions of the trial from family members in Prague. This material formed the basis for the theatre reconstruction of the trial which was performed at the Théâtre du Soleil under the leadership of Ariane Mnouchkine. At the end of the performance Ms Mnouchkine appealed to artists throughout the world to join together to help their persecuted colleagues. The aim of the association was to raise public awareness about the fate of persecuted artists through creative actions and events.

In addition to Vláclav Havel, AIDA also supported people including the Uruguayan pianist Alba Gonzales Souza, the South African poet and painter Breyten Breytenbach, the Russian cartoonist Vyacheslav Sissoyev and the Albanian composer Dhora Leka. A German section of AIDA was founded in February 1980 following the German performance of the trial reconstruction. Aid A (Aid for Artists in Exile) has retained the sequence of characters to form a new name. It is continuing the work of the former association but has now created a new focus for its work. It is continuing its support for the Chinese writer and dissident Wei Jingsheng who has been living in the USA since his release from prison in 1997 and who works there for the promotion of democracy in China through the Wei Jingsheng Foundation.

Ariane Mnouchkine, founder of AIDA in 2015

Picture Archive

Historical photo documents of actions, demonstrations, charity concerts, exhibitions and performances. In addition, posters, flyers and a fax from Salman Rushdie to AIDA.

Demonstration in Hamburg for the release of Chinese publicist Wei Jingsheng, early 1990s

Charity concert for AIDA in the Hamburg based music club Fabrik, mid-1980s

A performative action by AIDA at the Hamburg Rathausmarkt, 1982

Various posters for exhibitions, readings and actions of AIDA from the years 1992 to 2000

Two flyers from AIDA, mid-1990s

Fax from Salman Rushdie to AIDA, 1993


Aid A needs your support to help others. We are happy about every donation, it benefits 100% of the artists.

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