His Majesty's Loyal Internee: Fred Uhlman in Captivity. Book (hard copy and paperback version), 2009 Vallentine Mitchell ISBN 978 0 85203 920 4
In 2004 Julia Winckler had a solo exhibition at the Manx Museum of National Heritage in Douglas, Isle of Man (also see Research Portfolio: Two Sisters). While doing research for the exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London in 2003, she came across a folder of unpublished personal documents by the German artist Fred Uhlman. His 1940 handwritten internment diary and a 1979 internment memoir, as well as original artworks produced during internment, were in a folder in the Department of Documents. She approached Prof. Charmian Brinson, an expert on internment at Imperial College London, who recognized the importance of this material. Brinson contacted Dr. Anna Müller-Härlin, an art historian and expert on Uhlman’s work and life, and together, the three co-wrote several chapters and transcribed, translated and edited the existing Uhlman documents.
Julia’s essay ‘Should the artist portray his age?’: Reflections on Fred Uhlman’s internment art works explores the major artistic themes of Uhlman’s internment works. It further discusses the artist’s ability to mediate experience and provide testimony. An interned artist-witness, Uhlman succeeded in conveying a widely experienced trauma and, as an artist attempted to ‘describe’ and comment on one of the most tragic periods of the 20th century.
In May and June 1940, when the war seemed to be going badly for Britain, thousands of German and Austrian refugees from Nazi oppression were rounded up and put into internment camps on the Isle of Man and elsewhere. Fred Uhlman, a Jewish refugee from Stuttgart, a lawyer and an artist, was one of them. Uhlman, who was deeply affected by the experience, set out to record it in word and image. This volume reproduces his original internment diary from 1940 alongside another version of the same text from 1979, compiled retrospectively. These texts are complemented by sixteen haunting drawings and linocuts that Uhlman produced during internment. The volume also contains the letters, highly moving personal documents, exchanged to and from the internment camp between Uhlman and his wife Diana; correspondence between Uhlman and his disapproving aristocratic father-in-law Lord Croft; and documents from the daily life of Hutchinson Camp, Douglas, Isle of Man, where Uhlman was held for seven months. Chapters on Uhlman's biography and on his artistic and literary output set his writings and drawings within the wider context of his life and work. In addition, a chapter outlining the internment crisis of 1940 also sets out to recreate the extraordinary cultural and intellectual life that the internees managed to make for themselves in Hutchinson Camp, in particular the activities of the sizeable group of artists, such as Kurt Schwitters, who happened to find themselves there.
"An expert analysis of documents, drawings, Captivity diary, memoir and autobiography illustrating what internment in Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man meant for Uhlman and fellow artists like Kurt Schwitters."
(Professor JM Ritchie, Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, University of London, 2008)
"This book offers a fascinating insight into the life and work of one of the most interesting of the refugees from Hitler in Britain. Its triple perspective on Uhlman as artist, writer and internee is especially valuable."
(Dr. Anthony Grenville, Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, University of London, 2008)
"Brinson (author and Germanist), Müller-Härlin (art historian), and Winckler (artist and photographer) provide an insightful look into the life of Fred Uhlman (1901-1985), one of many Hitler refugees incarcerated by the British in an internment camp on the Isle of Man, along with numerous other refugees and artists… The treatment of Uhlman as artist, internee, and writer is as interesting as it is unusual."
(Reference&Research Book News May 2009)
Drei Autorinnen, die Germanistin Charmian Brinson, die Kunsthistorikerin und Expertin von Fred Uhlmans Leben und Werk, Anna Müller-Härlin, und die Künstlerin und Fotografin Julia Winckler liefern mit ihrem Band über die Internierung von Fred Uhlman einen bisher vernachlässigten und zentralen Beitrag zur Geschichte der Internierung der Zivilbevölkerung während des Zweiten Weltkrieges in England…. Uhlman’s Tagebuch aus dieser Zeit (Ende Juni bis Ende Dezember 1940), von Julia Winckler durch Zufall in den Aktenbergen des Imperial War Museum entdeckt, wird hier erstmals in seiner Originalfassung veröffentlicht…”
(Ines Rotermund-Reynard, 27/2009 Exil, Entwurzelung, Hybridität in Exilforschung, ein internationales Jahrbuch, pp. 238-239)