Franz Ehrlich (1907-84) was a student at the Bauhaus, an architect, and designer. He operated under the extreme political conditions of the 20th century: as a prisoner at Buchenwald concentration camp, as a modernist working within a Stalinist East German state, and as an assimilated nonconformist in the GDR. His best known works include the Rundfunkhaus on Berlin’s Nalepastraße, the 602 furniture series for the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau, and the entrance gate of Buchenwald.
In 1937/1938, Ehrlich used his typography for the lettering in the wroughtiron entrance gate of Buchenwald concentration camp.
What can we learn from Ehrlich? Above all, that any designer who wants to change society cannot just deal in surfaces, objects, and spaces, but must intervene in structures, change organizational forms, and advance new decision-making patterns.