Joseph Otto Flatter
Joseph Otto Flatter was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria) on 1894.
He studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Art. In 1934 he married the concert pianist Hilda Lorwa and settled with her in London. His career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War Two and for a short time he was mistakenly interned as an ‘enemy alien’. Shortly after his release, Flatter began producing propaganda material for the British and Allied Governments.
Flatter is best-known, however, for his Mein Kampf Illustrated, a series of anti-Hitler political cartoons. As Rebecca Scragg has observed, ‘The drawings began as a series of sixty in 1938, satirising selected quotations from Mein Kampf in order to make visible its portentous contents’. Scragg highlights ‘Flatter’s emphasis on Mein Kampf as the key to grasping the scale of the disaster that National Socialism would unleash’ (Scragg 2005, p. 90). The series was adopted by war charities to form touring exhibitions entitled Mein Kampf Illustrated and Life of Hitler, shown in London shops (Boots, Piccadilly Circus; Selfridges, Oxford Street), and in Oxford, Birmingham and Cambridge, among other locations. Flatter was featured on the front cover of a 1941 edition of the National Jewish Monthly and also featured in a newspaper article the same month entitled ‘Hilter Fears This Artist’.
At the end of the war, he was invited to attended the Nuremberg Trials as an official British War Artist, sketching the accused & later painting a scene of the trial. Financial difficulties after the war prevented him from completing his studies, and he worked as a portrait painter, travelling in Eastern Europe, and as a lecturer in Brno, Czechoslovakia
His work is well represented at the Imperial War Museum in London and, most notably, the Kuenstlerhaus in Vienna.