National Library of Australia

Hans Lindau’s coat hanger

Hans Lindau (1895–1982)Coathanger made in internment at Hay in 1940–1941

wire and timber, with inscription; 29.3 x 45.0cm

Manuscript Collection, MS 5225

National Library of Australia
Coathanger made in internment at Hay in 1940–1941

Berlin-born civilian made this wood and wire coat hanger while confined in an Australian internment camp at Hay, NSW, during World War 2.

Constructed of what Hans Lindau (1895–1982) called ‘materials at hand’, the coat hanger is a symbol of the ingenuity the internees used during their stay in their isolated camps.

Lindau had arrived in Sydney aboard the British transport ship Dunera on 6 September 1940, one of more than 2000 Jewish internees who had been living in Britain at the outbreak of World War 2. Refugees from Hitler’s Germany, they were classed as ‘enemy aliens’ and deported to Australia.

In May 1941, the Dunera internees, many of whom were artists, writers, philosophers, scientists and musicians, were transferred to another internment camp in Tatura, Victoria.

After he was released from Tatura in August 1943, Lindau went to work for a farmer in Sale, Victoria. He was granted Australian citizenship in 1946.