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Internment in Britain in 1940: Life and Art Behind the Wire

26 November 2020 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Portrait of Wilhelm Hollitscher, Hugo Dachinger, 1940

Virtual Book Launch

The Wiener Holocaust Library will host this special event in conjunction with the Ben Uri Research Unit

To register for the event, please click here.

This year, the 80th anniversary of the internment of ‘enemy aliens’ in Britain during the Second World War, provides a key moment to reflect on the internment strategy. This book helps us to understand Churchill’s shameful policy to ‘collar the lot’ and is as relevant to today’s injustices as it is an account of the cruelty of the past. It brings alive the experience of internment by combining the creative responses of two friends: Wilhelm Hollitscher’s diary provides a vivid and fascinating account of daily life in the camp along with wider political comment, while Hugo Dachinger staged exhibitions of his work in camp, entitled Art Behind the Wire, and painted several portraits of Hollitscher. Both men found being interned as an ‘enemy alien’ traumatic, but were able to draw moral strength from the experience.

The Speakers
: David Glasser, Chair, Ben Uri Gallery and Museum (which owns Dachinger’s Portrait of Wilhelm Hollitscher) will chair the event and will be joined by Anthony Spiro, President, Wiener Holocaust Library (which holds the Hollitscher manuscript).

All three authors will join the panel:
Ines Newman, Hollitscher’s granddaughter, will talk about her grandfather and read from the diary
Professor Charmian Brinson, Emeritus Professor of German, Imperial College London, will provide a background to the wider policy of internment
Rachel Dickson, Ben Uri Research Unit, will discuss the relationship between artist and sitter internees and the importance of exiled artists.

The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.
Please do join us for this stimulating evening.


26 November 2020
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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The Wiener Library
0207 636 7247
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