Collections
Other Name
"UMNAK"
Date Range From
1942
Date Range To
1946
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WATERCOLOUR, PAPER
Catalogue Number
P20160010014
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"UMNAK"
Date Range From
1942
Date Range To
1946
Materials
WATERCOLOUR, PAPER
No. Pieces
1
Height
19
Length
27.5
Description
WATERCOLOUR ON PAPER PAINTING DEPICTING A SNOW-COVERED SCENE OF A CAMP, INCLUDING A FIGURE IN FRONT OF TENTS WITH MOUNTAINS IN THE BACKGROUND. BLANK BORDER AROUND ALL SIDES. SIGNED "UMNAK" ON THE BOTTOM LEFT AND "K. ENGEL." ON THE BOTTOM RIGHT. THE BACK SIDE IS STAMPED WITH A CIRCULAR CENSOR STAMP THAT READS, "INT. OP. CANADA CENSORED 51." VERY GOOD / EXCELLENT CONDITION: OVERALL YELLOWING OF PAPER; SLIGHT WRINKLES AT UPPER AND LEFT EDGES.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
MILITARY
History
IN 2016, A COLLECTION OF WORKS BY KARL ENGEL WERE DONATED TO THE GALT MUSEUM. THE ARTIST WAS THE GRAND COUSIN OF THE DONOR, ROLF ZINSSMEISTER. A BIOGRAPHY OF THE ARTIST WRITTEN BY ZINSSMEISTER IN AN EMAIL STATES: “[ENGEL] WAS BORN IN 1909 IN MANNHEIN AND HAD BEEN EDUCATED AS AN OPERA SINGER. HIS HOBBIES WERE PAINTING AND CHESS… DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR, KARL ENGEL WAS CALLED UP BY THE GERMAN ARMY FOR MILITARY SERVICE. SOMEWHERE DURING THIS AWFUL WAR, THE UNIT TO WHICH HE BELONGED WAS CAPTURED IN ITALY BY THE ALLIED TROOPS. FROM THERE, HE WAS TRANSFERRED AS PRISONER OF WAR (POW) TO CANADA, TOGETHER WITH MANY OTHER GERMAN SOLDIERS VIA KAIRO (SIC) AND ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT ON THE MS QUEEN MARY I. IN HIS BELONGINGS, I FOUND DRAWINGS MADE IN ROME, ITALY, AND KAIRO AND ALEXANDRIA EGYPT. ALL HIS DRAWINGS, EVEN THOSE IN CAMPS OF UMNAK, OZADA, AND LETHBRIDGE HAD BEEN CENSORED BY THE VICTORIOUS POWER AUTHORITIES WITH A STAMP TO BE RELEASED TO SEND HOME. AS A POW, KARL ENGEL USED HIS TALENT TO DRAW. I THINK THAT ONE AFTER ANOTHER OF HIS PAINTINGS ARRIVED AT HIS PARENTS’ HOME IN GERMANY. THIS WAS HIS WAY TO KEEP HIS PARENTS INFORMED ABOUT HIS ACTUAL SITUATION AS A POW. OF COURSE HIS LIFE AS A POW WASN’T GLORIOUS, BUT AS [FAR AS] I KNOW HE NEVER MADE COMPLAINTS ABOUT HIS SITUATION AS A PRISONER IN THE CAMP.” ACCORDING TO THE EMAIL, HE WAS NEVER MARRIED AND HAD NO CHILDREN. ENGEL PASSED AWAY IN FRANKFURT, MAIN IN 1974. OF HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ARTIST, ZINSSMEISTER EXPLAINED, “AS A CHILD, I MET ENGEL OCCASIONALLY IN MY PARENTS’ HOME. IN 1974, I ASSISTED IN HIS FUNERAL IN SEEHEIM-JUGENHEIM. A LITTLE LATER I MOVED TO HIS PARENTS’ HOUSE IN SEEHEIN-JUGENHEIM TO TAKE CARE OF HIS OLDER BROTHER. THAT’S HOW I RECEIVED THE INFORMATION OF KARL ENGEL’S FORMER LIFE. [IT WAS] THERE I FOUND THE DRAWINGS IN HIS BELONGINGS AND KEPT THEM UNTIL TODAY.” THE WORKS DEPICT SCENES OF ROME, ITALY; A CAMP IN CAIRO, EGYPT; A CAMP IN ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT; A CAMP ON UMNAK ISLAND, ALASKA, UNITED STATES; THE POW CAMP IN OZADA, ALBERTA, CANADA; AND LETHBRIDGE’S PRISONER OF WAR CAMP 133. IN EARLY 2016, COLLECTIONS INTERN ELISE PUNDYK EMAILED POW RESEARCHER MICHAEL O’HAGAN REGARDING FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT ENGEL. HIS RECORDS STATE THAT ENGEL WAS A PRIVATE IN THE GERMANY ARMY – MOST LIKELY IN THE AFRIKA KORPS, WHICH WAS FIRST IN AFRICA IN 1941. HE WAS CAPTURED IN NORTH AFRICA. HIS PRISONER OF WAR IDENTITY NUMBER WAS 037079. ENGEL WAS ONE OF THE 1392 PRISONERS OF WAR THAT ARRIVED AT THE TEMPORARY CAMP OZADA – LOCATED IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS BETWEEN CALGARY AND BANFF – ON 25 JULY 1942. BY DECEMBER 1942, ALL OF THE POW’S HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED FROM THE CAMP AT OZADA TO LETHBRIDGE. IN A 2018 EMAIL, O’HAGAN PROVIDED FURTHER INFORMATION STATING: “[ENGEL] REMAINED IN (OR AT LEAST ATTACHED TO) CAMP 133 (FIRST OZADA, THEN LETHBRIDGE) FOR THE DURATION OF HIS TIME IN CANADA. HE [SPENT] SOME TIME DURING SEPTEMBER 1945 WORKING ON FARMS IN THE LETHBRIDGE AREA, EITHER FROM ONE OF THE NINE HOSTELS OPERATING AROUND LETHBRIDGE OR GOING OUT ON DAILY WORK PARTIES FROM CAMP 133.” THE FARM RECORDS FROM THIS PERIOD ARE INCOMPLETE, SO IT CANNOT BE DETERMINED AS TO WHERE HE WORKED OR FOR HOW LONG. O’HAGAN EXPLAINED ENGEL WAS ONE OF THE 2759 POWS TRANSFERRED BACK TO THE UNITED KINGDOM ABOARD HMT MAURETANIA, WHICH LEFT HALIFAX ON 31 MARCH 1946. IN NOVEMBER 2016 COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN WROTE TO THE DEUTSCHE DIENSTSTELLE IN BERLIN, GERMANY REQUESTING INFORMATION FROM THE SERVICE FILES OF KARL ENGEL. THE DEUTSCHE DIENSTSTELLE PROVIDED THE INFORMATION ON ENGEL IN 2018, NOTING THAT ENGEL’S CIVILIAN PROFESSION, AT THE TIME OF HIS ENLISTMENT, WAS OPERA SINGER AND PAINTER. ENGEL WAS BORN MARCH 20, 1913 IN LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY, AND ENLISTED WITH THE 2ND COMPANY INFANTRY RESERVE 212 ON APRIL 23, 1940. FROM 1940-1942 ENGEL SERVED WITH THE 1ST, 3RD, AND 9TH INFANTRY RESERVES, WITH HIS LAST SERVICE RANK NOTED AS CHIEF RIFLEMAN. ENGEL WAS CAPTURED AND IMPRISONED FROM JANUARY 2, 1942 UNTIL FEBRUARY 25, 1947, WITH HIS INITIAL CAPTURE OCCURRING IN BARDIA, LIBYA AND FIRST IMPRISONMENT IN CAMP ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT. ENGEL WAS TRANSFERRED TO CAMP 308, FAYID/BITTERSEE, EGYPT IN JANUARY 1942, THEN TO 304 HELWAN, EGYPT WHERE HE SPENT FIVE MONTHS. ENGEL WAS SENT TO CANADA IN JUNE, 1942 AS A PRISONER OF WAR, STAYING AT CAMP 133 OZADA AND LETHBRIDGE UNTIL APRIL, 1946, WHEN FOLLOWING THE WAR ENGEL WAS TRANSFERRED TO CAMP 183 QUORN, ENGLAND. ENGEL RETURNED TO GERMANY IN A US DETENTION CAMP IN 1947, REMAINING AT CAMP 26 DACHAU UNTIL HIS RELEASE IN FEBRUARY 1947. PLEASE REFERENCE P20040008000 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT LETHBRIDGE’S CAMP 133. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, INCLUDING EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING THE WORKS, PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE.
Catalogue Number
P20160010014
Acquisition Date
2016-01
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail