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The Things of Warsaw / The Schiele Room (Henryk and Jadwiga, Jan and Barbara)

Album wojenny Jana Schielego, MHW 956_S

Jan Schiele’s (1919–2000) wartime album

The wartime album of Jan Schiele (1919–2000) consists of two volumes and comprises press clipping, photographs, drawings, postcards, ephemera of various types (ration stamps, invitations, visiting cards) which the author always supplemented with a title or a commentary. Albums with thick cardboard covers, veneered with decorative paper or canvas, were commonly used in the first half of the 20th century to store paper photographic prints and postcards. Special paper “corners” into which a stiff card with a photograph or a postcard could be inserted, were glued to the pages. Jan Schiele used exactly that type of albums. Yet, since the items in his albums were much more diverse and usually less stiff than photographs or postcards, Schiele pasted his keepsakes directly onto the pages, on which he also created drawings.

Schiele began working on the first album in France, where he arrived having left Poland in September 1939, following the Nazi German invasion. The album opens with the outbreak of World War II and proceeds to document the wartime story of Jan and his father Henryk Schiele (1889–1966). They both served in the Polish Armed Forces in the West; Jan received training at a camp in Coëtquidan (Brittany), which he completed in June 1940 in the rank of second lieutenant. After the evacuation to the British Isles, he joined the Polish First Corps in Scotland, where he served in the artillery. In 1943, he completed a course for military translators and communications officers. Schiele was a soldier in the Allied forces during their invasion of Normandy, and later completed the entire trail of battles with the Polish 1st Armoured Division under General Stanisław Maczek (1892–1994). From May 1945 until June 1947, he served in the British Army of the Rhine in Germany, where he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Following his return to England, Schiele was drafted to the Polish Reserve Corps in 1948. The album is an extremely personal and vivid document that presents grand historic events from the perspective of a young man who happened to participate in them.

Jan Schiele’s (1919–2000) wartime album
MHW 956/S
22,5 × 26,5 × 4 CM

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