Friday, February 03, 2012

Deadly Style: Bauhaus’s Nazi Connection

"Ehrlich, who was arrested as a Communist in 1935, arrived at Buchenwald two years later, when the camp was still new and had only a few temporary structures. Like all prisoners there he was immediately forced into hard labor, but after two weeks he walked into the joinery workshop, declared himself an architect — he had worked in Gropius’s Berlin office — and began to draw at a drafting table. Rather than report him to the SS, the prisoner in charge assigned him to design and build the entrance gates.

"From then on, the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others who were brought to Buchenwald to be worked to death entered on foot under Ehrilich’s elegant rendereding of the words “Jedem das Seine”: “To each his own.” It was a translation of a Roman legal maxim invoking the individual’s right to enjoy what is his, but — like the recently stolen “Work makes you free” sign at Auschwitz — recast with a sneer, in this case as a sort of cynical “Everyone gets his just deserts.” The stylish sans-serif lettering reflected Ehrlich’s training under the Bauhaus typography master Joost Schmidt." Read the whole article: Deadly Style: Bauhaus’s Nazi Connection by Nicholas Fox Weber, December 23, 2009 NYTimes.com