Dachau survivor's art show

By Jennifer Lipman, February 23, 2012

The artwork of one of the last surviving prisoners interned in Dachau has gone on display at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London.

Ernst Eisenmayer, who is 92, has worked as a sculptor and painter since the end of the Second World War.

Mr Eisenmayer, who was born in Vienna, was sent to prison at the age of 18 before the war began when the Nazis caught him trying to flee to Switzerland.

He was interned in Dachau for six months, escaping in 1939 because of the intervention of Oxford's Professor J L Brierly, who assisted a number of Jewish refugees.

His younger brother, who had come to Britain on the Kindertransport, had appealed to Professor Brierly's foundation to help secure Ernst's release from Dachau.

With the foundation's help Mr Eisenmayer spent the war as a toolmaker in England and took classes at Camberwell School of Art.

Mr Eisenmayer said his work was always "about our times", but acknowledged that his Holocaust experiences had had an impact, something that is clear in paintings such as Street Cleaner in Vienna, where an old man is surrounded by menacing figures whose hands appear almost as swastikas.

"My inspiration came from life around me," he said. "Dark times they often were…all important art and artists deal with aspects of their time."

Last updated: 1:58pm, February 23 2012