Marking Holocaust Memorial Day at the Fitzwilliam: Marie Louise von Motesiczky; art and the trauma of displacement

Activity information

Activity type: Public activity

Organisation name: The Fitzwilliam Museum


The Fitzwilliam Museum
Trumpington Street
United Kingdom

This online talk will explore the life and work of the artist Marie Louise von Motesiczky, who fled her country of birth after Adolf Hitler’s Annexation of Austria in 1938, an event that secured the power of the Third Reich and brought Europe inexorably closer to the events of the Holocaust. In the years that followed, von Motesiczky not only lost her home, but also her brother Karl, who remained in Vienna assisting opponents of the Nazis and died in Auschwitz in 1943. This talk will consider how von Motesiczky’s art responded to the trauma of displacement, the experience of cultural mourning and private grief. This talk marks Holocaust Memorial Day, which takes place each year on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. Holocaust Memorial Day encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide. Holocaust Memorial Day is an international day on 27 January to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Please book your free ticket on the Fitzwilliam Museum website.

About the speaker: Rebecca Birrell is currently Assistant Keeper of Paintings, Prints and Drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum. She studied English Literature at UCL, then Women’s Studies at The University of Oxford. She has occupied curatorial positions at the Jewish Museum London, The Department of Prints and Drawing at The British Museum and at The Charleston Trust. In 2018 she undertook a fellowship at the Yale Center for British Art. While finishing her PhD at the Edinburgh College of Art, she worked on the photographic archive at The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust. Her first book, This Dark Country: Women Artists, Still Life and Intimacy in the Early Twentieth Century, a blend of collective biography and art criticism, was published by Bloomsbury in August 2021.

Organiser Name

Miranda Stearn

Organiser Telephone

01223 333 230

Organiser Email

[email protected]