Heinz Schwerin

Heinz Schwerin, Designer
Heinz Schwerin in his Jerusalem workshop 1936/37
Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau © Jutta Schwerin/Tom Segev

Heinz Schwerin

Bauhaus toys for Palestine
Bornon 4 February 1910 in Katowice, Germay (today Poland)
Diedon 3 February 1948 in Palesinte (exact place unknown)
ExileCzechoslovakia, Switzerland, Hungary, Palestine

After finishing high school and completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, Heinz Schwerin started studying at the Dessau Bauhaus school in summer 1931. He spent two semesters at the workshop for buildings and extensions and was also active as a student representative. It was at the art school where he became acquainted with his future wife Ricarda Meltzer. He never hid his communist affiliations and was an enthusiastic member of the communist group at the Dessau art school, from which he was expelled along with the other members of the group after a scandal and was not allowed to matriculate.

Along with Ricarda Meltzer, Schwerin moved to Frankfurt upon Main to study free and applied art. He was briefly imprisoned for distributing communist pamphlets but was able to escape and fled to Prague with Meltzer. In the Czech capital Schwerin and Meltzer founded the “Hammer und Pinsel” [Hammer and Paintbrush] advertising agency in 1933. Afterwards they emigrated to Switzerland and then onwards to Hungary. On 25 May 1935 Schwerin and Meltzer married in Pécs. In August of the same year, they left for Palestine as refugees.

In Jerusalem they began to produce children's toys in their “Schwerin Wooden Toys” workshop. In 1937 they found themselves the centre of press attention as “Pioneers of the Wooden Toy in Palestine” and their products were exhibited at the 1937 Paris World Exhibition. During this time Heinz Schwerin also constructed furniture for their apartment in Jerusalem.

On 31 January 1948 was injured while serving in the Haganah during the Israeli War of Independence and died a few days later on 3 February.