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Wallpaper sample made by a Jehovah's Witness

Object | Accession Number: 1989.314.2 a

Simulated wallpaper sample created by Franz Wohlfahrt to demonstrate the patterns, materials, and techniques he developed while imprisoned at Strafgefangenenlager Rollwald forced labor camp in Germany from 1940-1945. The paint roller and stencil used to create this sample are in collection 2008.448. Franz, 20, was jailed in 1940 for being a Jehovah's Witness, because his beliefs did not permit him to put any authority before God. He would not submit to the authority of the German government or serve in the military. In 1943, at Rollwald, a new camp commandant, Karl Strumpf, was decorating his villa and Franz was assigned to the work detail. Franz experimented with latex paint and produced an effect like wallpaper, which was not available at the time. Strumpf got to know Franz through his work at the villa and saved his life on 3 occasions, shielding him from death by beheading for his refusal to serve in the military. The camp was liberated by the United States Army in March 1945. Franz's brother and father were both executed by the Germans for refusing to act in way that would violate their faith.

creation: Pörtschach am Wörthersee (Austria)
Decorative Arts
Object Type
Wallpaper (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Franz and Maria Wohlfahrt, in memory of Gregor Wohlfahrt, father, and Gregor Wohlfahrt, brother, and the Wohlfahrt and Stossier families
Record last modified: 2022-04-08 10:27:12
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