Uriel pear tree

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Uriel Birnbaum (born November 13, 1894 in Vienna , Austria-Hungary ; died December 9, 1956 in Amersfoort , Netherlands ) was an Austrian Jewish painter , caricaturist , writer and poet .


Uriel Birnbaum was the youngest son of the Zionist and Jewish philosopher Nathan Birnbaum and Rosa Korngut. He moved with his parents to Berlin in 1911, where he first tried to gain a foothold as an advertising artist. From 1915 to 1917 he did military service. On the basis of his Jewish Orthodox piety, he saw war as a direct work of God. He was wounded during the war and one leg had to be amputated. In March 1918 he exhibited 21 drawings at the spring exhibition of the Vienna Secession. In 1920 he married the nurse Rosa Grieb, b. August 14, 1894. In 1921 the daughter Mirjam (d. 2006) was born. In the 1920s, among other things, he was an illustrator for the children's magazine Der Regenbogen , for which he also created some picture stories. In 1923 he received the Bauernfeld Prize for his sonnets In Gottes Krieg .

From 1939 he lived in exile in the Netherlands, where he worked on the legitimist novel Habsburg Utopia . In 1939 and 1940 he exhibited works in galleries in The Hague.

As a war invalid in a “ protected mixed marriage ” he was not deported , but from 1943 to 1945 he was forced to hide. His brother Menachem , however, was killed in a German concentration camp.

In 1959 Birnbaumgasse in Vienna- Favoriten was named after him.


Working method and design features

Birnbaum was an autodidact as a painter. He often arranged his pages, which are dedicated to the fantastic, in series and cycles, individual themes appear in variants over longer periods of time. In addition to religious topics and the cycles that deal with existential questions of human life in the area of ​​tension between religiosity and modernity, alternative designs to inner-worldly existence are a frequent topic. They appear both in the form of fantastic architectural designs and in representations of extraterrestrial forms of existence. In addition, Birnbaum was also active in the field of commercial graphics and designed postcards, advertising slips, etc. Ä. Birnbaum also worked as an illustrator, both for foreign and for his own works.

The poetic work includes numerous poems (among others in the form of the "new sonnet" coined by Birnbaum), but also children's books and stories. He also wrote smaller dramas, prose pieces, novellas and essays.

He articulated his basic artistic understanding in the essay "Believing Art", published in 1919: "Everyone confesses it according to the measure of his strength, be it with pictures, be it with verse straightening up, it can become important; in God's light it can acquire value; serving God it can be great. " (Uriel Birnbaum, Faithful Art, 1919, p. 12)

Selected Works


  • Fantasies in black and white, in: Neues Wiener Extrablatt, April 23, 1916 (Easter number)
  • Uriel Birnbaum, short autobiography, in: Menorah, Heft 5, Vol. 2, 1924, pp. 15-16.
  • Arpad Weixlgärtner, The painter-poet Uriel Birnbaum : The graphic arts , No 50, 1927, pp. 87-102.
  • Arthur Polzer Hoditz, Uriel Birnbaum , 1936
  • Abraham Horodisch: The bookplate of Uriel Birnbaum , 1957
  • Hans Giebisch , Gustav Gugitz : Bio-bibliographical literature dictionary of Austria. From the beginning to the present . Hollinek, Vienna 1964, p. 31.
  • Georg Schirmers: Uriel Birnbaum. 1894-1956. Poet and painter. Universitäts-Bibliothek, Hagen 1990 ( publications of the university library Hagen 1, ZDB -ID 2220502-0 ).
  • Hans Rochelt , Life and Work of Uriel Birnbaum, undated, undated, 1 sheet
  • Pear Tree, Uriel. In: Lexicon of German-Jewish Authors . Volume 3: Birk – Braun. Edited by the Bibliographia Judaica archive. Saur, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-598-22683-7 , pp. 40-49.
  • Karin Bürger, the "painter-poet" Uriel Birnbaum. A new estate at the MMZ, in: Dialog, 3/2006, p. 4.
  • Armin A. Wallas: Birnbaum, Uriel. In: Andreas B. Kilcher (Ed.): Metzler Lexicon of German-Jewish Literature. Jewish authors in the German language from the Enlightenment to the present. 2nd, updated and expanded edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02457-2 , pp. 69f.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Menorah
  2. [1]
  3. a b Austrian literature in exile . (PDF; 538 KB).