- Category : 1900-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (1,20,33,48)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 2
Joseph Eduard Adolf Spier was born in Zutphen, the Netherlands.
From 1924 to 1939 Jo Spier worked for the newspaper De Telegraaf where he created humorous illustrations and cartoons about everyday life.
During World War II his subject matter became more political and he was arrested for his satirical depiction of Hitler. He was first sent to the camp at Westerbork, then to Villa Bouchina with his wife and three children. For a period of a few months in 1943 they were protected from transport to German concentration camps, supposedly due to the influence of the leader of the pro-German Nationaal Socialistische Beweging, Anton Mussert.
On 21 April 1943 Spier was transferred to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he was held captive with his family until the end of the war.
Theresienstadt was presented by the Nazi's as a model kind of Jewish ghetto, where deported Jews could live a normal life. But in fact the circumstances were poor, prisoners had no rights and could be sent to the deadly termination camps in the East for nothing. So irritating the Nazi war criminals was not done for prisoners. Cooperating with the facade played by the Nazi government was the best one could do to survive.
From the Wikipedia: In the summer of 1944, the Nazi government had perpetrated a hoax against the Danish Red Cross by taking them on a tour of the Theresienstadt concentration camp in the occupied Czechoslovakia. They "beautified" and cleaned the camp prior to arrival and arranged cultural activities to give the appearance of a happy, industrious community. To cover up the endemic overpopulation of the camp, numerous inmates were deported to Auschwitz before the arrival of the Red Cross delegation.
To cover up the endemic overpopulation of the camp, numerous inmates were deported to Auschwitz before the arrival of the Red Cross delegation (sic). So the by the Nazi's created problem of overpopulation, bad health and so on was solved by letting disappear and killing the problematic cases.
During his internment in Theresienstadt, Spier also cooperated with the Germans by assisting with the film Theresienstadt, ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebied (Terezin: A Documentary Film from the Jewish Settlement Area). This black-and-white projected Nazi propaganda film shot in the concentration camp of Theresienstadt in 11 days, starting September 1, 1944. Shortly after German Jewish actor and film director Kurt Gerron (11 May 1897 – 28 October 1944) finished shooting the film, he and other cast members were "evacuated" to Auschwitz, where they were gassed upon arrival. So, Spier had just luck.
Jo Spier moved to the United States in 1951 with his family and continued to work until the end of his life. In 1957 he acquired US citizenship. But he never felt at home. Spier died in Santa Fe, New Mexico on 21 May 1978.
Jo Spier married on April, 23 1925 to Albertine Sophie "Tineke" van Raalte and they had three children, Peter Spier, Thomas Spier and Celine Spier. Peter Spier became a noted illustrator of children's books.