Grade II-listing for Gladstone Park sculpture by former prisoner of war from Kilburn
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 January 2016
A memorial sculpture in Dollis Hill created by a Jewish prisoner of war has been given Grade II protected status.
The Prisoner of War Memorial in Gladstone Park, by Kilburn-based artist Fred Kormis, was listed by the department for culture, media and sport on Friday.
It is one of 41 post-war sculptures across the UK which will be exhibited in central London next month for the first time.
Alison Hopkins, former Liberal Democrat councillor for Dollis Hill, said: “I’m delighted it’s got Grade II-listing, it’s about time.
“It’s a marvellous memorial, it’s moving, it’s a reminder of that old saying that if you will forget it, it happens again, and we must never forget what happened.”
Mr Kormis, who lived in Greville Place until his death in 1944, was a hostage during the First World War before he escaped to Frankfurt in 1920. He and his wife Rachel fled to England in the 1930s when Hitler came to power, and his major ambition was to create a memorial to commemorate prisoners of war and their struggle.
The resulting artwork is one of the few in this country dedicated to soldiers who were held captive.
The sculpture of five male figures was unveiled in the park in 1969 and explores themes of freedom and captivity, with each figure in a different stage of emotional turmoil. Over the years the statues were vandalised and, in 2003, decapitated, with all but one head later found in nearby undergrowth. As part of the Heritage Lottery Fund restoration of the park, the memorial was restored to its former glory.
The listing was made on the advice of the government’s heritage body, Historic England, Grade II-status is usually reserved for buildings and marks structures of special interest, which should be preserved for future generations.
For the first time Mr Kormis’ sculpture and other newly-listed artworks will be explored in an upcoming Historic England show.
The Out There: Our Post-War Public Art exhibition runs from February 3 until April 10 at Somerset House in Strand.