Poster »Vienna is dying! Save its Children!«, 1920

Crayon lithograph in to two colours (transfer, text on ribbed laid paper), Kn 148 II

Käthe Kollwitz, Poster »Vienna is dying! Save its Children!«, 1920, crayon lithograph in to two colours (transfer, text on ribbed laid paper), Kn 148 II, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln
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I have agreed to make another poster for a major Aid programme for Vienna. […] I want to represent Death whipping the lash of starvation with the people – women, children, men – filing past, bending low, crying and groaning.«
Käthe Kollwitz, Diaries, 5 January 1920

From 1919 onwards Käthe Kollwitz was flooded with commissions for works against the deprivation of the post-war years. Although the artist regarded this new responsibility as a burden, she did not flinch from it. This is illuminated by her diary entry on the design for this poster which she created for the starving children in Vienna:

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While I was drawing and was moved to tears by the children’s anguish, I felt the burden I was carrying. Yet I also felt that I could not flinch from the task of speaking for the people afflicted. I have the task of spelling out the suffering of the people which is interminable and has reached gigantic proportions. I have this task, and it is not an easy one at all.«
Käthe Kollwitz, Diaries, 5 January 1920

The poster for this appeal was never put up as the Aid programme for Vienna was cancelled as a result of the deteriorating economic situation in Germany.

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