Second World War Internment Museum Collections Search of iMuseum

Second World War Internment Museum Collections

Posted on 10.04.2023

At the start of 2023 Manx National Heritage added over 320 records (around half with images) from our Second World War Internment Museum Collections onto our iMuseum. These records all relate to the material culture within the internment camps on the Isle of Man during 1939-1945.

Here’s what Katie King, Curator of Art & Social History at Manx National Heritage, had to say about this significant collection:

“There were many celebrated modern artists interned on the Isle of Man during the Second World War, forced to flee Nazi Germany as the regime suppressed so called ‘degenerate’ art. These artists sought sanctuary in Britain, only to find themselves arrested as potential ‘enemy aliens’ and interned whilst their loyalty was investigated. During their enforced stay on the Isle of Man there was an outpouring of art and creativity. Over the years a large number of these works have been gathered and collected by Manx National Heritage. We now hold an internationally significant collection of artworks created in the internment camps, with many of those artists going on to have high profile careers after the war.

Click the image to view this object on our iMuseum (2002-0141)

Whilst each piece is unique, I do have two favourites. The first is entitled ‘Children’ (2002-0141),  painted on a sheet of newspaper. It shows two children leaning on a barbed wire fence with palm trees in the background. The boy stares accusingly at us, whilst the girl looks down with soulful look. Which side of the wire fence the children are on is left in doubt. It was painted by Austrian Jewish artist Hugo Dachinger whilst interned at Mooragh Internment Camp in Ramsey on the Isle of Man. Although only interned for seven months, Dachinger produced a vast quantity of artwork, often painted on newspaper. Whilst in Mooragh Camp and following his release in January 1941, Dachinger staged exhibitions of his work entitled ‘Art Behind Barbed Wire’.  We have a number of his internment pieces in the art collection.

Click the image to view this object on our iMuseum (1994-0021/8)

My second choice (1994-0021/8) would be a rare self-portrait by Hungarian Jewish artist Imre Goth (1893-1982), sketched whilst interned in Palace Internment Camp.  In the 1930s Goth was working as a celebrated portrait artist in Germany, before being forced to flee the country after painting an unflattering portrait of Nazi leader Hermann Goering. He fled to Britain where he continued his career as a portrait painter.  Goth’s artworks from the 1930s and 1940s are in high demand and we have twelve pieces in the art collection, purchased with the help of the Friends of Manx National Heritage.”

You can now find the Second World War Internment Museum Collections on iMuseum by clicking here.


Katie Clugston
Digital Collections Assistant

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