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  The Stamp Gallery of Czech and Slovak Graphic Art


Karel Seizinger je představitel stavu ryteckého, národnosti německé, ducha českého a srdce pražského.

Karl Seizinger is a representative of the engravers profession, by nationality German, Czech in mind and citizen of Prague in his heart.

Rudolf Fischer

Picture according to a caricature
by Dr. Jan Fischer in FILATELIE 11/1974

Who was Karl Seizinger? What kind of man? How was he judged by his friends and the people who knew him? We fortunately have many descriptions and evaluations to his personality and character, primarily by his Czech friends both from his time in Czechoslovakia and from his only visit there in 1974. Of course, most of the judgements are rather positive, because they mainly come from his friends. Nevertheless it can be seen in these descriptions that Seizinger obviously had no simple character, but often showed a contradictory personality.

Probably his appeareance wasn't too remarkable. His friend Václav Fiala describes him as medium sized, with dark hair, regular face courses and expressive eyes. Other people notice his red cheeks and a double chin. On the one hand he is characterized a rather merry and open minded man, a typical artist, who could be very funny and ironical. He liked to smoke a good cigar and sometimes he was a little bit easy living. So he once lost 20.000 crowns in playing games without any problems. On the other hand he is described as dissociated and always busy. To the Czechs, who wrote about Seizinger, he seemed to be a typical German accordingly with stereotyped characteristics like a sense of order and fixed principles, e.g. honesty, but also a certain kind of pedantry. Among others his Czech friends got this impression, because he - at least in the first years - didn't speak any Czech (which was no problem then in the bi-lingual Prague with many German speaking inhabitants). Mostly he wrote German and when he later spoke Czech, he didn't like to do it and to his friends it seemed to be a "very hard" Czech. Despite his long time stay in Czechoslovakia and his love for this country, he always remained a German by his basic attitudes and opinions and rather different to the Czech people who had to do with him. He had a quite proud nature as well as strong principles. And concerning to occupational affairs, he also could be very inconsiderate, looking for his own advantage. Thus he defended his monopolistic position as stamp engraver for a long time by all means.

Of course his nature changed in the course of his long, eventful and not always lucky life. The last description of Seizinger is from the year before his death (1977), when he met the Czech philatelic journalist Rudolf Fischer during the stamp exhibition AMPHILEX. Fischer describes the old Karl Seizinger with the following words (translated from Czech): "Smiling, always original, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes sentimental and happy ... In a brown suit with a hat, always a cigar in his mouth ... but nevertheless always a little bit tragic, with the burden of lonliness".

In Seizinger's life his family played a significant role - his wife Elisabeth (born March 22, 1894 in Berlin) and his son Heinz, named according to Seizinger's father Heinrich. He particularly was proud of his son. Nevertheless he educated him rather strictly. A Czech article about Seizinger mentions that "like it used to be in German families, a 'slap' may not be missing, which the father occasionally threatened" (translated from Czech). With his wife and son he lived in the Růžová street in Prague nearby the Security Printing House which he worked for. This was the center of his life in Prague. Here he worked, too. His Czechoslovak stamps came into being on a small table in a niche at the window. It is astonishing that he was able to create so much stamps, although he only worked three hours a day. So he had of course a lot of time for other activities. He also seemed to love animals. In his household there was a tame squirrel which was called "Wewerka" - the Czech word ("veverka") for squirrel - and a greyblack cat. There were cooked typical German meals, what his Czech friends often mentioned.

It is particularly tragic that Seizinger also in his personal surrounding had no luck. Of course he first sent his son Heinz to the German high school in Prague. But he obviously had problems and trouble with the school administration. So he later let him attend the Czech high school. And thus Heinz was between all fronts. Still with the German nationality, he had to join the German army at the beginning of WWII. He already fell in the first days of the war during Hitler's attack on Poland. It may remain undecided - and in the long run it also is insignificant -, whether it was - as Czech sources decribe it - that Heinz Seizinger as a "friend of the Czechs" was intentionally sent to the very front line and thus into death. For a long time the mother Elisabeth Seizinger wasn't able to accept this stroke of fate. And finally it may also explain Karl Seizinger's rather reserved attitude to Germany in later years. So his friend Václav Fiala wrote about this time (translated from Czech): "Thanks of his strong character Seizinger bore these strokes of fate with clenched fists and I think that he fulfilled what he promised that he never would enter his homeland before it was liberated of Hitler."

As an artist Seizinger was particularly proud of having been a pupil of the great Czech painter Max Švabinský for three years. In discussion with him one could always hear its high appreciation of the master and how Švabinský impressed him. As an engraver he had a close friendly relationship to Jaroslav Goldschmied, one of his colleagues at the State Printing House. In a certain degree they respected the performance of each other. And finally Švabinský's artistic inspiration in connection with Goldschmied's ability in craft were the basis for Seizinger's successful work.

Title Page * Introduction * Biography * Personality * Hildburghausen * Helsingfors *
Praha I * Praha II * Praha III * Praha IV * Praha V * Praha VI *
Belgrade * Zagreb * to be continued