The Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach just opened an important new exhibit on the Austrian poster maestro Julius Klinger. It comes at a historical moment when an ultra Right Wing leader has been chosen to form a new government that will doubtless have links to the Nazi past. What I did not know until now is that Klinger was one of the thousands of Jewish Austrians who were dutifully deported to the death camps by the Nazis between February 1941 and October 1942.
As Christian Maryška writes in “Julius Klinger and the Path to Annihilation” for the Austrian Posters website:
At the age of 66, Julius Klinger was deported with his wife on 2 June 1942 to Maly Trostinec, near Minsk, together with 997 other people. “This consignment reached Minsk train station on Friday, 5 June, but ‘offloading’ only followed on Tuesday (!) of the following week. Until then, the coaches remained locked and the occupants received neither food nor drink. They were murdered directly after being ‘offloaded’ in Minsk and upon arrival in Maly Trostinec.” The presumed date of death is 9 June 1942. Nobody survived this transportation, which was organised by the “NS Central Office for Jewish Emigration” in Vienna.
One of Klinger’s last works, designed at the end of 1937 or the beginning of 1938, “is an impressive 12-sheet poster (250 x 278 cm) for Ankerbrot, an industrial bakery in Vienna. Huge numbers announce the new year 1938 in Klinger’s seasoned, down-to-earth and modern style, without focusing visually on a specific product,” writes Maryška.
Klinger’s last exhibit while he was alive was, notes Maryška, “in the capital city of the National Socialist German Reich. The photo of him standing in front of the investment bonds poster in Vienna was taken at exactly the same time as an exhibition titled ‘The Jewish Poster’ was being held in Berlin, where he had been active for many years. At the beginning of 1937 the Jewish Museum displayed posters by Jewish artists from the collection of Hans Sachs, the most important German poster collector in the first half of the 20th century. In addition to works by Lucian Bernhard, Louis Oppenheim and Paul Leni, Julius Klinger’s posters from his Berlin period before the First World War were also on view.”
If you are in Miami I urge you to see the Klinger exhibit.
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