Kien, Peter (1919-1944): Papers

Scope and Content

Papers relating to Peter Kien, 1943-1995, including original and copies of manuscripts and transcriptions of Kien's writings, personal documentation and sketches; publicity material relating to the performance of the Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder der Tod dankt ab , for which Peter Kien wrote a libretto; articles about his life and work and transcript of Petra Kiener's radio programme 'Peter Kien nicht vergessen'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Peter Kien was born in January 1919 in Warnsdorf, Czechoslovakia, the son of a textile manufacturer, whose business collapsed during the economic crisis of 1929. He began painting whilst a student at the German Realschule in Brünn and continued his schooling in art at the Prague Academy where he studied under Willi Nowak. The situation in Czechoslovakia got steadily worse particularly for Jews after the annexation of Austria in March 1938. During this time he met Ilse Stransky. They married in September 1940. In December 1941 he was deported to Theresienstadt.

In Theresienstadt he met many more artists and writers whilst working in the graphics department. He became increasingly active as a portrait artist and sketcher of fellow inmates. Above all he immersed himself in the theatrical and musical life of the camp.

In July 1942 he was joined by his wife and in January 1943 by his parents. He wrote poetry and several plays and his libretto for the opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder der Tod dankt ab which had its premiere in Amsterdam in 1975.

He was sent to Aushwitz on the last transport in October 1944 along with his wife and parents where he was murdered.


1365/1 contains Peter Kien's original writings; 1365/2 contains Peter Kien's copy and transcript writings; 1365/3 contains copy personal documentation about Peter Kien and copies of sketches and writings arranged by source of deposit; 1365/4 contains publicity material relating to the opera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder der Tod dankt ab , 1365/5 contains biographical information about Peter Kien; and 1365/6 contains the transcript of Petra Kiener's radio programme Peter Kien nicht vergessen.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Kaethe Fischel

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Custodial History

The collection was begun in the mid 1980s on the initiative of Kåthe Fischel, a cousin of Peter Kien, and consists of a number of separate deposits from different sources all of which apparently came via K?the Fischel.