Tonhalle: Exhibition of Works by German Prisoners of War Interned in Switzerland


This poster advertises an exhibition of artwork by interned German prisoners of war at the Tonhalle in Zurich, Switzerland, in May–June 1918. The location, times of opening, and the entry fee of 20 pfennigs are indicated. Exhibition proceeds were to benefit a Bavarian organization that assisted prisoners of war. The poster features the image of a German soldier who seems to be lost in thought, seated in front of the symbol for the Red Cross. Under arrangements worked out by the Red Cross in late 1914 and implemented starting in early 1915, seriously ill or wounded prisoners from both the Allied and the Central powers were interned in Switzerland. Some of these prisoners, particularly older men with children, were repatriated before the end of the war. While in Switzerland, the prisoners were required to perform labor and their national governments were charged for their food and accommodations. This poster is by Ludwig Hohlwein (1874–1949), a German artist who produced thousands of posters for commercial advertisers as well as works in support of the German war effort. Originally trained as an architect, Hohlwein was known for his flawless and energetic drawing and his creative use of color.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Fritz Maison, Munich


Title in Original Language

Tonhalle: Ausstellung von Arbeiten der in der Schweiz internierten deutschen Kriegsgefangenen

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 124 x 90 centimeters



  1. Hans Kuh, “Hohlwein, Ludwig,” Neue Deutsche Biographie (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1952–2008).
  2. Alain Weill, The Poster: A Worldwide Survey and History (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1985).

Last updated: October 25, 2013