BIRNBAUM, MENACHEM


BIRNBAUM, MENACHEM
BIRNBAUM, MENACHEM (1893–1944), Austrian portraitist and graphic artist, son of nathan and rosa birnbaum ; brother of philologist solomon asher birnbaum and the poet uriel birnbaum . Born in Vienna, Birnbaum had limited contact with art teachers and thus trained himself as an autodidact. He moved to Berlin in 1911. In 1912 Menachem Birnbaum was art editor of the Yiddish monthly Der Ashmeday, and in 1919 became art editor and contributor to Der Schlemiel. In 1920 he published a volume of his drawings, Chad Gadjo, which made him famous. He was appointed art director of two important Jewish publishing houses, Juedischer Verlag and Welt-Verlag and designed book covers and illustrations. With the advent of the Nazis (1933) he fled to Holland where he continued to draw portraits. In 1937 he published a small book with caricatures, Menachem Birnbaum zeigt Karikaturen, in The Hague. Caught by the Nazis in 1943, he perished in Auschwitz concentration camp. Menachem Birnbaum did not join his father, Nathan, in turning to traditional Judaism but always kept himself aware of his Jewish identity as an individual and as an artist. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Schmauß (ed.), Menachem Birnbaum: Leben und Werk eines jüdischen Künstlers (1999); G. Schirmers, "Zum Leben und Werk von Menachem Birnbaum," in: Exil. Forschung, Erkenntnisse, Ergebnisse. 18,2 (1998), 34–53; K. Zijlmans, "Jüdische Künstler im Exil. Uriel und Menachem Birnbaum," in: Österreichische Exilliteratur in den Niederlanden 1934–40. Hrsg. v. Hans Wuerzner (1986), 145–155; M. Birnbaum, Menachem Birnbaum zeigt Karikaturen (1937). (Sonja Beyer (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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