On Wednesday, June 28, 2023, University of Applied Sciences Schwäbisch Gmünd (HfG) invited interested visitors to a lecture on the life and work of the industrial designer Paula Straus. Paula Straus, born in Stuttgart in 1894, completed her training in Schwäbisch Gmünd. The works of the successful industrial and jewelry designer were exhibited throughout Germany and internationally. In 1943, she was murdered by the Nazis in the Auschwitz concentration camp. A current exhibition in Stuttgart was the occasion for the rediscovery of an important designer with local roots.
A great career, a tragic end
Paula Straus“ career began in Schwäbisch Gmünd. From 1911 to 1916, she trained as a goldsmith at what was then known as the „Königliche Fachhochschule für Edelmetallindustrie“ (today’s University of Applied Sciences, Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd, HfG). She then became one of the first women in Germany to be a master student at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Stuttgart. In 1925, she began working as an industrial designer at renowned Heilbronn silverware factory Peter Bruckmann; here she created silverware in an innovative design language that was completely committed to the modern spirit of the times. At the 1929 World’s Fair in Barcelona, her work was awarded the Grand Prix. At the same time, but also after her dismissal from Bruckmann in 1933, she was successfully active as an independent jewelry designer. This exceptional female career came to a bitter end with National Socialism. In 1939, the National Socialists issued a work ban against Paula Straus, who was Jewish. In 1942, she was deported from Stuttgart to Theresienstadt and killed in Auschwitz in February 1943.
Lecture in Schwäbisch Gmünd/Exhibition in Stuttgart on the Life and Work of Paula Straus
Until September 10, the StadtPalais Stuttgart is showing a special exhibition about Straus“ work. University of Applied Sciences Schwäbisch Gmünd took this as an opportunity to honor Paula Straus“ life and her roots in Schwäbisch Gmünd with a lecture by Dr. Monika Sänger. Years of work by the couple Reinhard and Monika Sänger provided the essential groundwork for the rediscovery of the artist, culminating in the publication of the monograph „Paula Straus – Vom Kunsthandwerk zum Industriedesign“ (Stuttgart, Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt, 2023). Around 75 guests attended the event at HfG at the end of June 2023 and gained an informative insight into the design culture in Schwäbisch Gmünd at the time and into the life and work of Paula Straus.