Erik Nitsche: Egon Erwin Kisch
Artist: Erik Nitsche
Egon Erwin Kisch was a well-known progressive journalist living in Germany when he was invited by the Australian branch of the world committee against war and fascism to speak at a conference in Melbourne in 1934. However, the Australian government would not let him into the country. When his ship arrived in Freemantle on November 6, 1934, Australian police searched his cabin and refused to let him disembark. When Kisch could not enter Australia in Melbourne either, he jumped off the ship and broke his leg. The police carried him back on board and it was only in when the ship arrived at Sydney that his lawyers were able to force the authorities to let him see a doctor at the Sydney City Hospital. He then was subjected to a ridiculous immigration procedure including a dictation test in Gaelic. He spoke seven European languages but they choose Gaelic to make sure that he failed. Kisch then filed a court case against the Australian government and won it. After that he gave talks at public rallies in the Sydney Domain and in Melbourne and Adelaide, most of them organized by labor and union organizations. Kisch visited the mines in Newcastle and the prisons in Parramatta, Redfern and Botany Bay, Ballarat and Brisbane, and Newnes in N.S.W. before he finally was forced to leave Australia on March 11, 1935. Later, Kisch wrote a book ("Australian Landfall") on his experiences with the "White Australian Policy" and the government's anti-communist propaganda against any progressive movement at the time.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Germany 60pf Egon Erwin Kisch stamp issued May 2, 1985.
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