Under pressure

e.o.plauen, the Ullstein publishing house and the press district in Berlin

Exhibition in the gallery e.o.plauen, Erich-Ohser-Haus in Plauen | March 24, 2024 – September 22, 2024


Ullstein Verlag in Berlin was an important client for Erich Ohser, if not the most important. It was here that his "Father and Son" picture stories were first published in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung (BIZ) and then published in book form. Nevertheless, it was also a difficult time. As a Jewish company, Ullstein Verlag was "Aryanized" as early as 1934, while retaining its name. It was then renamed Deutscher Verlag in 1937. Ohser himself was banned from his profession, but then his license was granted again. The political situation became increasingly tense, and Ohser decided to draw for the newspaper Das Reich from 1940. And he came under increasing pressure – in more ways than one.

With photographs, documents, newspapers, books as well as known and unknown drawings, this exhibition provides an insight into this partly happy and yet difficult time for Ohser between 1934, with the start of the "Father and Son" picture stories, and Ohser's arrest and suicide in 1944. You can expect a media history of the newspaper industry using the example of Ullstein Verlag combined with the individual fate of Erich Ohser alias e.o.plauen.

In cooperation with ullstein bild collection / Axel Springer Syndication GmbH.

A catalogue with illustrations and texts by Dr. Irist Haist, Erich Ohser - e.o.plauen Stiftung im Erich-Ohser-Haus, and Dr. Katrin Bomhoff, ullstein bild collection in Berlin, will accompany the exhibition.

Opening of the exhibition:

Saturday, 23.03.2024, 19:00 hrs.

You are cordially invited!

(Text: e.o.plauen Gallery in the Erich Ohser House)


Erich Ohser alias e.o.plauen in the Ullstein Photographic Collection at ullstein bild

In addition to various portraits and scenes of Erich Ohser, the original holdings of the Ullstein photographic collection at ullstein bild include pictures from the time of the Winterhilfswerk in 1936 and other occasions in which the father-and-son figures were used larger than life and with advertising effect. They were taken by the photographers Herbert Hoffmann and Heinz Fremke. Particularly eye-catching is a comprehensive photo series by the author Max Ehlert, which focuses on the illustrator e.o.plauen and his son Christian as a father-and-son constellation in 1936. By this time, the drawings published under the alias e.o.plauen had already achieved great popularity.

Meaningful exhibits on the exhibition cooperation

One exhibit of the exhibition clearly demonstrates its success: for the first time, an excerpt from the Ullstein Chronicle of the Axel Springer Company Archive is thankfully on display here. The handwritten entries from Ullstein Buchverlag document the comparatively enormous print run of 60,000 copies of Erich Ohser's publication Vater und Sohn in 1935 and 1936. The Ullstein newspapers and magazines speak of an even larger sphere of influence. By far the most successful publication, the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, a paper with a circulation of millions, not only published Ohser's drawings, but also ran a cover in 1936 with a photograph from Max Ehlert's series. Extensive original holdings of the Ullstein newspapers and magazines and the later "Deutscher Verlag" are part of Axel Springer Syndication GmbH in Berlin. They are also on display in Plauen in excerpts and partly in the original. The exhibition also provides an insight into the history of Ullstein and the media at the time of Erich Ohser and places his works in the context of the respective publication.

All pictures in our gallery and also in the photo dossier at ullstein bild.

Further information on the exhibition can be found on the Galerie e.o.plauen website.


Dr. Katrin
Senior Manager Asset & Exhibition
+49 30 2591 73164