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Alice and Trudi escaped the Nazi takeover in Austria, Alice in 1938 and, if Ortiz-Carboneres has it right, Trudi in 1939. I don't know what happened to their parents or any other of their friends and relatives during the period of Nazi rule but Helen Lewis's son Robin tells me he remembers when he was a child that 'the Ulsterville Avenue flat was home to Heinz, Alice, and both their mothers'. He also says that 'Heinz’s parents and sister survived.  (His sister, Marianne Drucker, came to live in Belfast in the 1970s or 1980s, in the house next to Heinz and Joy’s house); his first wife and brother didn’t.'

As regards Cizek, according to Rolf Laven, (13) he continued his reforming work 'until the corporative state and the Nazi regime brought his work to a complete standstill. He died in 1946 at the age of 81 - blind, isolated and completely destitute.' Another account, however, (14) says 'After his retirement in 1934, he continued to teach at the arts and crafts school as an unpaid assistant teacher until the youth art class was hived off in 1939. Then the facility was installed as the Institute for Art Education of the City of Vienna and from 1941 as a private art school and he was able to continue his work with the help of his assistant Adelheid Schimitzek (the institute existed as such until 1955).'

(13) Rolf Laven (Pädogogische Hichschule, Vienna): Franz Cizek and the Viennese Juvenile Art, in C.S.G.Aranha. and R.Javelberg (Eds): Espaços da Mediaço. A arte e suas histórias na educaçao, Sao Paulo, 2012, p.183. Laven also says'In Vienna, the city of his work, this pioneer has now been forgotten.' I seem to have found quite a lot of references to him from Viennese sources.

(14) Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage: Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon ab 1815 (2. überarbeitete Auflage - online): Cizek (Cizek), Franz (1865–1946), Kunstpädagoge und Maler. By an amusing coincidence this gives a list of artists who worked with Cizek who include Margarethe Berger-Hammerschlag (no relation so far as I know). She ended up in London and is best known for her sketches of teddy boys and girls in the 1950s. 

By 1938 the British government was worried about receiving too great a flow of immigrants. Visas were only given on condition either that the immigrant had a job to go to or a skill in short supply in Britain. According to an account in the catalogue of a solo exhibition she had in the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol in 1962, (15) she 'came to Northern Ireland in the late thirties on a Government permit as designer and art instructor, this having been her first job.' I never heard of her doing any art teaching. According to Mary O'Malley, whom we shall meet again soon, 'She had come to England during the rise of the Nazi movement on the continent, lived with a Quaker family, and in time became a Quaker.' (16) In the 1960s, when I knew her, she was attending Quaker meetings.

(15) Consulted in the Ulster Museum archive. The Arnolfini Gallery had only opened in 1961 - above a bookshop in Clifton - so this must have been one of their first exhibitions.

(16) Mary O'Malley: Never shake hands with the Devil, Elo publications, Dublin, 1990, p.99.

At the risk of adding two and two together and making five I wonder if there is a connection here with Francesca Wilson. (17) She was a Quaker who lived in Vienna after the First World War where she knew and greatly admired Cizek. She wrote about him at some length and in 1920 organised an exhibition of the work of his children which, over the next few years, toured throughout Great Britain and Ireland and, later, the USA, attracting a great deal of attention and raising money for child relief. She met Cizek again in 1933. Through the 1930s she was much concerned with the rise of Fascism and opened her door to refugees. By 1938 her attention was focussed on Spain but still, Quaker, intense interest in Cizek and accommodating refugees from Fascism all suggest that there may be a lead there that would be worth following.

(17) Sian LLiwen Roberts: Place, life histories and the politics of relief - episodes in the life of Francesca Wilson, humanitarian, educator, activist, Ph.D. thesis, School of Education, College of Social Sciences, The University of Birmingham, April 2010.

What Ken Jamison calls the 'brief and inscrutable' biographical notes continue for the period of the war and its aftermath. A document I saw in the Ulster Museum archive - 'Northern Ireland Letter', dated August 1969, referring to her death - has her designing calendars and children's books. The Arnolfini exhibition catalogue says that since the beginning of the war she had been working free lance producing designs for publishers in Britain, Ireland, the USA, Austria, Portugal and Italy. In a discussion with some schoolgirls, which is the best record I know of of her thinking (18) - we'll come back to it shortly - she refers to someone expressing regret that she was no longer painting 'those beautiful light paintings'. She comments: 'If I did it now I doubt if I could.' She had concentrated on the beautiful 'because I could. They were light - not light as if it didn't matter. You just do at the moment what you have to do. If I did something different it wouldn't work.'

(18) This is now in my possession. I have it both as the original tape recording and as a CD.

In 1947 she married Heinz Hammerschlag. Heinz was a Czech Jew who had come to Belfast in March 1939.  

Heinz Hammerschlag with pupils

According to the online Dictionary of Ulster Biography he was the son of a textile manufacturer and was in charge of a 'large textile concern' in Northern Ireland. I've so far not been able to find much detail about this. He was also a distinguished musician and teacher of music and this is the side of his activity that has attracted most attention. Czechoslovakia had a large textile industry in the 1930s, as did Belfast, and there were already well-established business connections between them which may well explain why he came to Northern Ireland.

Some further interesting details about Heinz and his background are supplied by Helen Lewis, the dancer and choreographer whose book A Time to Speak is a powerful account of her life in the concentration camps during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia:

'I did meet in Belfast the greatest friend of my life: the painter Alice Berger Hammerschlag, who was from Vienna. She was married to Heinz Hammerschlag whose first wife Hilde Inwald was, strangely enough, also from Trutnov [Helen's home town in the Czech Sudetenland, near the border with Germany - PB]. Hilde's younger brother was in the same school class as me. During the war, I had met Hilde by chance in Prague a few days before she was deported on a punishment transport. I was the last person able to tell Heinz of having spoken with her just before the transport. Heinz had escaped earlier. He and Alice met later in Belfast. Again, strangely enough, Alice's elder sister Trudy had been a girlfriend of Harry's at university in Vienna.'

'Harry' was Helen's husband, also from Trutnov in Czechoslovakia. They had known each other in the mid-1930s but had drifted apart and Helen had married a man who died in the camps. Harry was also involved in textiles - 'when he returned with a doctorate in commercial science - economics now - he was Dr Lewis. The degree enabled him to obtain higher and better employment, and he soon obtained a managerial job in a handkerchief factory.'

'Harry had escaped to Britain from Czechoslovakia in 1939. His parents had left first, since they were British citizens. His father had previously emigrated to South Africa and had served in the Boer War, for which he was awarded British citizenship, before returning to Europe. But Harry arrived as a refugee (as British citizenship did not extend to children), joining his parents in Belfast. They had come to the city through some previous connection to the linen industry in the Czech Lands.' (19)

(19) Helen Lewis: 'An Irish Epilogue', Irish Pages, Vol. 1, No. 1, Inaugural Issue: 'Belfast in Europe' (Spring, 2002), pp. 25-30.