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The Workers' Illustrated Magazine (AIZ)

AIZ cover - Meaning of Hitler Salute / Heartfield
Cover of AIZ magazine, October 16, 1932 with a photomontage by John Heartfield
© 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Heartfield created his most famous photomontages for the popular left-wing periodical Die Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (Workers' Illustrated Magazine or AIZ). Financed informally by the Soviet Communist International or Comintern, the magazine was headed by German Communist press magnate Willi Münzenberg, who aimed to compete with the tremendously popular Berliner-Illustrierte Zeitung (Berlin Illustrated Magazine or BIZ). His tactic was to use the BIZís attractive combination of text and photography to win over a left-wing audience that found the Communist Party's paper Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag) too partisan.

Münzenberg hired John Heartfield as a regular contributor in early 1930. With Heartfield's popular photomontage and graphic design, the AIZ became the fourth highest circulating periodical in the country by 1932. In March 1933, two months after Hitler's appointment as chancellor, the magazine's staff fled to Prague in exile, where they re-established the AIZ as a continual thorn in the dictator's side. The next five years marked Heartfield's greatest period of productivity.

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