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  • Alan Morgenroth

Is the Hay Camp 8 Souvenir Woodcut Print by Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack or Alfred Landauer?

The Print

The Camp Parliament of Hay Camp 8 commissioned from the Camps Art Department a souvenir print of the camp to be distributed to all occupants of the Camp before they moved to other Camps in May 1941. The first departures were on 5 May when an advanced group of 100 were transferred to Tatura Camp 3. Kurt Lewinski who was one of this group recalls in his diary:

5.5.41; "At night, our hut captain parliament is in session again, with too many speeches by everybody who is somebody in this camp; every Tatutra Tourist ("Taturist"!) gets a woodcut print of a view of the camp."[1]


The internees very often used them to collect signatures of their friends and hut-mates. They were printed on paper and mounted on card using a variety of different card and papers as artist materials were still in short supply and they had to produce well over 900. The print (rather than the card) measures approximately 112x140mm.



Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack

This print is usually attributed to Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, the famous Bauhaus artist, who was interned in Camp 8 at Hay. However, I believe that this to be a myth perpetuated ever since the this attribution was first made in the Dunera Affair by Bartop and Eisen in 1990.[2]


This attribution is perhaps understandable as Hirschfeld-Mack did make several woodcut prints of the Australian Internment Camps he occupied, most of which are signed and clearly attributable. He was 47 when he was interned, and after release he went on at teach art at Geelong Grammar School in Corio.[3] In Hay and Tatura, Hirschfeld-Mack produced numerous woodcuts portraying camp life and initiated younger artists into that medium.[4]


Some other Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack signed woodcut print examples:





Above left:

‘Hay 1940/41’

(Swimming in the Murrumbdigee River).

Signed; L. Hirschfeld-Mack.


Above right:

‘Camp Orange May-July 41’. Signed; L. Hirschfeld-Mack.


Left:

‘Tatura’

Signed; L Mack 1941



Alfred Landauer

I have identified two of the Camp 8 souvenir prints which have been signed by Alfred Landauer and after examining these I am confident that this woodcut print is the work of Alfred Landauer and not that of Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack. Landauer was 30 when interned and described himself as a commercial artist and musician.[5] Landauer was also in Camp 8 alongside Hirschfeld-Mack and would have either been influenced or taught by him in the creation of woodcuts.



The second of these prints is found in the autograph book of the Rev F E Alcorn who attended both camps at Hay and gave pastoral care to the Protestant internees, of whom Landauer was one. The print is personally inscribed and signed:


Artistically dedicated from Alfred Landauer’.


‘Orig. Woodcut (cut in timber our huts are made of)’.



Artist's cipher

On close inspection just to the right of the IXL jam tin is what appears to be the artist’s cipher. There are no such ciphers on the signed Hirschfeld-Mack woodcuts.


A similar style woodcut print of Camp 8 at Hay was made to commemorate the football team ‘S.C. Amateure’ who won the Camp 8 league for the season 1940/41.


Bartrop and Eisen in the Dunera Affair and Ken Inglis in Dunera Lives A Visual History once again attribute this to Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, however, the style of the engraving, with a very similar descriptive ribbon, would suggest it is by the same artist. On closer inspection, the design contains the same artist’s cipher(at both ends of the ribbon) as the Camp 8 Souvenir print, suggesting that the two woodcuts were created by the same artist. I therefore believe it should also be attributed to Alfred Landauer.



[1] Kurt Lewinski ’19 Wasted Months’

[2] Paul R. Bartrop, ed., The Dunera Affair: A Documentary Resource Book (Melbourne, Australia: Schwartz & Wilkinson: Jewish Museum of Australia, 1990). [3] Ken Inglis, Seumas Spark, and Jay Winter, Dunera Lives: A Visual History (Clayton, Victoria: Monash University Publishing, 2018), 376. [4] Dunera News No.85 August 2012. 7.

[5] National Archives of Australia MP1103/1 E40051

© Alan Morgenroth May 2021

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