Photographer Gerti Deutsch was 28 when she fled her home town Vienna in 1936 and relocated to buzzing London, joining a wave of Jewish migrants from the European continent, all looking for a safer future on the British island.
Ms. Deutsch left the Austrian capital two years before the country’s annexation by Nazi Germany, but Austria’s fascist government had already cracked down on artistic freedom before then.
Propagating romanticized images that glorified the Austrian homeland, it prevented Ms. Deutsch from publishing her realistic photography in which she depicted the everyday life of regular Austrians.
Ms. Deutsch’s pictures, many of which survived her time in exile, are now on display at a small Berlin art museum, in a sign of Germany’s long transition from the Nazis’ mass killings of more than six million people, most of them Jews, to a liberal democracy that openly grapples with its dark past.
The exhibition titled “The Fate of Emigration” at Berlin’s Hidden Museum, Das Verborgene Museum, also features the work of another Jewish artist, Jeanne Mandello.
Ms. Mandello, born in what is now Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt in 1907, moved to Berlin at the age of 19 to study photography. In 1929, she opened her own studio in Frankfurt but the rise of the Nazis and growing anti-Semitic hostility prompted her to flee to Paris in 1934, where she rose to fame as a fashion photographer, shooting for couture houses such as Balanciaga and Chanel.