July 30, 1898 • Born in Vienna as the only child to Simon Dicker (1857–1942), originally from Uzhhorod/Ungvár in today's Ukraine, and Karolina, née Fantová (1865–1902) whose family came from Bohemia. After Karolina’s death, Friedl's father remarries to Charlotte Schön (1866–1943).

Friedl as a Three-Year Old with her Father Simon Dicker, Atelier Strauss, Vienna, c. 1902
The Dicker Family's Permanent Residence Registration Card, Police Directorium, Vienna, August 13, 1908 (The Dickers originally resided on Säulengasse 15 in the 9th district. When Friedl reached the age of 10, the family moved to nearby Bleichergasse 18. Friedl's father Simon and his second wife, Friedl's step mother Charlotte, then lived in this small apartment until December 22, 1939 on which day they were forced to move to Zirkusgasse 3 in the 2nd district from where they were eventually deported to the Ghetto Theresienstadt. Their transport left Vienna on July 14, 1942.)

1914-1919 • Studies photography at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt (GLVA) in Vienna while also seeking other learning opportunities at the School of Applied Arts (k. und k. Kunstgewerbeschule) where she meets Franz Cizek (1865-1946), the founder of the Child Art Movement and the Kunstgewerbeschule's Juvenile Art Class. In 1917, she enrols in Johannes Itten’s private school and, in 1919, when Itten accepts a teaching position at State Bauhaus, follows her teacher to Weimar, Germany along with fifteen other of her fellow students.

Unknown photographer: Friedl as a Student in Vienna, c. 1915
Friedl Dicker: Alpine Landscape, Weimar, 1919-23
Friedl Dicker: Landscape with Lake, Weimar, c. 1920

1919-1923 • Studies at State Bauhaus in Weimar where she belongs to the inner circle of Itten's followers. She is also influenced by other artists brought to Bauhaus by the school's director, architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969), namely by Paul Klee (1879-1940), Wassily Kandisky (1866-1944), Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956), Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943), Georg Much (1895-1987), Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (1893-1965), and Gertrude Grunow (1870-1944).

Friedl Dicker: Self-Portrait, Weimar, 1920-1923
Friedl Dicker: Announcement of the 8th Bauhaus evening, Weimar, 1920
Unknown photographer: Friedl Dicker at Bauhaus, Weimar, 1920-1923

1923-1924 • After graduating from Bauhaus, she lives in Berlin where with former classmates Franz Singer (1896-1954), Naum Slutzky (1894-1965), and Franz Skala (1892-1975) they found the Werkstätten bildender Kunst. At the same time she and Singer continue their work for the theater, in particular for the stage director Berthold Viertel (1885-1953).

Friedl Dicker: Portrait of a Friend, the Composer Stefan Wolpe (1902-1972), Berlin, 1923-1924
Poster Design for the Werkstätten bildender Kunst, Berlin, 1923-1924
Friedl Dicker: Lorenzo and Porcia - Costumes for the Merchant of Venice Staged by Berthold Viertel, Berlin, c. 1924

1924-1926 • Returns to Vienna and shares an atelier with friend and former classmate Anny Wotitz-Moller (1900-1945), and later collaborates with Martha Döberl (designing fashion accessories from textiles and leather, as well as bookbindings).

Unknown Photographer: Friedl Dicker, Vienna, 1920s
Friedl Dicker: A Sleeping Cat, undated, originally discarded by the artist and salvaged by one of her friends, Vienna, 1924-1934

1926-1931 • Together with Franz Singer opens an architecture and design studio that soon becomes renowned under the unofficial name of Atelier Singer-Dicker. During its five years in existence, Friedl and Franz take commissions mostly from private investors (reconstruction of private residences and interior apartment design), however, in 1930 they realize their own design for the Montessori kindergarten at the Goethehof public housing project.

Atelier Singer-Dicker: Design for the Reconstruction of the August and Hilda Heriot House - Axonometric Plan, Vienna, 1932
Atelier Singer-Dicker: Design for the Montessori Kindergarten at the Goethehof Public Housing Project - Site Plan, Vienna, c. 1930
Atelier Singer-Dicker: Design for the Montessori Kindergarten at the Goethehof Public Housing Project - Axonometric Plan, Vienna, c. 1930
Atelier Singer-Dicker: Design for the Montessori Kindergarten at the Goethehof Public Housing Project - Poster Design, Vienna, c. 1930
Atelier Singer-Dicker: Inside the Montessori Kindergarten at the Goethehof Public Housing Project - Playroom, Vienna, c. 1930
Atelier Singer-Dicker: Inside the Montessori Kindergarten at the Goethehof Public Housing Project - Playroom (detail of the folding table), Vienna, c. 1930

1931–1934 • Atelier Singer-Dicker officially closes with the work being taken up by a wider collective (Ateliergemeinschaft) among whom was also architect Leopoldine Schrom (1900-1984), who later saved the plans and prototypes produced by both studios. Friedl becomes more closely involved with the communists, creating agitprop photomontages for the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ), which activities lead her to prison in 1931 and 1932.

Friedl Dicker: Poster Design for the KPÖ - the Communist Party of Austria, Vienna, c. 1931-33
Friedl Dicker: Interrogation I, Prague, c. 1935

1934-1938 • Permanently settling in Prague in 1934, she lives and works in an atelier on Jaromírova Street in the Nusle district, teaches refugee children from Austria and Germany, gives private lessons to Edith Kramer (1916-2014), Vienna-born art student who followed her to Prague, establishes contact with the Prague Psychoanalytic Circle headed by Otto Fenichel (1897-1946), which gives her the opportunity to delve into child psychology and psychoanalysis, frequents the Black Rose bookstore, where she and her friends form a loose communist group, and in 1936 marries her cousin Pavel Brandeis (1905-1971), allowing her to obtain Czechoslovak citizenship.

Friedl Dicker's Passport Photo, Prague, 1935
Friedl Dicker: Dream, Prague, c. 1935
Friedl Dicker: Interrogation II, Prague, c. 1935
Friedl Dicker: Portrait of an Unknown Man (A Refugee), Prague, c. 1935
Friedl Dicker: View from Her Prague Studio's Window (Railway Tracks in Nusle), Prague, c. 1935

1938-1942 • Friedl and Pavel move to Hronov, a small town in Eastern Bohemia, where they work for the Spiegler brothers’ textile mill. Friedl has her first solo exhibition in absentia in 1940 at the exile Arcade Galleries in London, refuses a visa to Palestine as well as offers to go to Great Britain, maintains a robust correspondence, reads voraciously, stays in contact with a small circle of her closest friends ... On December 17, 1942, Friedl and Pavel are deported to the Ghetto Theresienstadt.

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis: Landscape around Hronow, 1938-1942
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis: Portrait of a Girl, Hronow, 1938-1942
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis: Portrait of a Woman with Cigarette, Hronow, 1938-1942
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis: Maria Brandeis with Knitting, Hronow, 1938-1942
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis: Lady in a Car (Imaginary Self-Portrait), Hronow, c. 1940
Unknown photographer: Friedl with Julenka in Hronow, c. 1940

1942-1944 • Shortly after arriving in Terezín Friedl's stepmother, Charlotte, dies, the only family member she manages to see in the ghetto. In spring 1943, she begins to organize the drawing lessons in the children’s dormitories. On September 28, 1944, Pavel Brandeis is deported to Auschwitz, and on October 6, 1944, Friedl volunteers for transport and is murdered in the Birkenau gas chambers as soon as she arrives. Pavel Brandeis survives and is liberated at Sachsenhausen, returning to Prague after the war.

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis: Portrait of Pavel Brandeis, Hronow, 1938-1942
Unknown Child: Color Samples and a Small Figurative Sketch on the Verso of a Postcard, Ghetto Theresienstadt, 1942-1944
Helena Mändl (1930-1944): Design for an Orientation System, Ghetto Theresienstadt, 1943
Maximilian Ullmann (1932-1944): A Study in Contrasts, Ghetto Theresienstadt, 1943-1944
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis: Wild Flowers, Ghetto Theresienstadt, 1942-1944

1945 • At the beginning of June, one of Friedl's closest collaborators, Willy Groag (1914-2001), brings two suitcases with children’s drawings from Terezin to Prague and gives them to the Jewish Museum. As the largest collection of children’s art from the Shoah period in the world, it quickly achieves international renown.

Erika Taussig (1934-1944): For Ms. Brandeis, Ghetto Theresienstadt, April 18, 1944
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis: Still Life with Toys and a Child's Drawing, Prague, c. 1937
Created By
Michaela Sidenberg


2017 © Jewish Museum in Prague 

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.