Painting by artist, Wilhelm Kaufmann
Painting by artist, Wilhelm Kaufmann

My maternal grandparents are immigrants from Austria. My grandmother's uncle, Wilhelm Kaufmann, was a renowned artist, socialist, and Jewish. This was a problematic mixture from1933 to 1945 in Vienna, obviously. My grandmother went to her uncle's art studio most days after school, they were very close. When the Nazis occupied Vienna, all socialists, non-traditional artists, and the Jewish community were persecuted, or worse, killed. In the worst period, the Catholic members of the family all took turns hiding him, for fear of what might happen. From 1938 to 1945, he was banned by the Nazis from selling his art, which was his livelihood. In 1946 in Vienna, he participated in the anti-fascist exhibit, "Never Forget, " by 1948 he was in the art competition for the summer olympics in London. Despite the odds being against him, Wilhelm Kaufmann went on to win numerous awards throughout his life, before his death in 1975. This painting has always held great meaning for our family. I have grown up with this painting hanging in the front hall, where it can easily be seen by anyone who enters the apartment. His artwork is a source of admiration and pride for our family to this day. We will never forget him and what he endured. 

Place(s): Austria
Year: 1960

– AW

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant