New Exhibition For Rediscovered Austrian Artist Murdered At Nazi Castle Where Mentally Ill Were Gassed

A new exhibition is taking place in memory of a rediscovered Austrian artist who was murdered at a Nazi castle in 1941 where the mentally ill were systematically gassed to death.

Ida Maly was an Austrian impressionist and modern artist born in Vienna in 1894 and now a memorial exhibition is taking place to mark the 80th anniversary of her death at the Lentos Kunstmuseum in the northern city of Linz, which is the capital city of Upper Austria and the country’s third-biggest.

Maly was diagnosed as and committed to a psychiatric hospital. In 1941, she was murdered by the Nazis at the Hartheim Castle killing centre (‘NS-Toetungsanstalt Hartheim’ in German). The castle was part of a programme known as Action T4, which was a controversial policy, even by the Nazis’ standards, which involved the mass murder of psychiatric patients and people who were considered by the regime as incurably sick.

Ida Maly, woman or man tie , 1928/30. (Graz Museum/Newsflash)

There are various reasons that have been put forward over the years regarding the ideas behind the policy, ranging from racial hygiene to eugenics. It has been seen by historians as a test phase before the Nazis decreed the ‘Final Solution’, which in German is known as the ‘Endloesung der Judenfrage’ (the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question’ in German).

The programme to systematically murder people with disabilities, dubbed the “euthanasia program”, predated the genocide of European Jewry (the Holocaust) by approximately two years, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

While the concentration camps would primarily function as industrialised killing machines to commit genocide against the Jewish people, many other people deemed ‘undesirable’ by the regime died there, including homosexuals, Freemasons, Soviet civilians, and many others.

Ida Maly, self-portrait , 1917. (Neue Galerie am Universalmuseum Joanneum/Newsflash)

This also included approximately 275,000 disabled people, according to the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Lentos museum in Linz said in a statement: “The Austrian artist Ida Maly (1894–1941) lived and worked in Vienna, Munich, Berlin and Paris. Institutionalized as ‘schizophrenics’ in a psychiatric institution at the end of the 1920s, the works she created there had the effect of prophecies of the atrocities of the Nazis’ ‘euthanasia’ on psychiatric inmates.

“In 1941 Ida Maly was murdered in the Hartheim Castle killing centre. Her work documents the path of a talented painter in the Roaring Twenties, who found her individual artistic language ‘between styles’.”

Ida Maly, Patient at the Feldhof in Graz, 1930. (Neue Galerie am Universalmuseum Joanneum/Newsflash)

The museum also said: “The life and work of the Austrian artist Ida Maly were shaped by the political,social and artistic upheavals of their time. She first studied in Graz and Vienna. In order to open up to new influences, she left the narrow confines of her homeland and lived from 1918 in Munich, Berlin and Paris.”

She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1928 and after the Nazi annexation of Austria 1938, she was taken in 1941 to the Nazi killing centre at Hartheim Castle where she was gassed to death.

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