MapCarte tends to feature the work of adults principally because maps created by children generally do not exhibit a strong design philosophy. But children’s maps can have a certain aesthetic all of their own due to the simplicity of the graphics and often unwieldy use of lines and colours. Then there are the maps made by children that provoke thought, perhaps not designed intentionally to do so but which catapult them into our consciousness.
This map by eleven year old Fritz Freudenheim was drawn in 1938. His family escaped Berlin in the late 1930s and this map documents their journey, their homes and the various locations they went along the way. The title says it all – From the old homeland to the new homeland. Germany is the largest European country on his map as you’d expect. It’s a mental map and a picture of the familiar. They reach Hamburg, the main export for fortunate Jewish emigrants. They board the Jamaique and travel via Belgium, France and Portugal. Africa is a brief stopping point but drawn small with only Morocco labelled. They eventually reach Uruguay, their final destination and South America is shown in bright colours, relatively well defined, yet detached from North America.
Mental maps and, children’s mental maps often bring us cartographic treasures. This map, though a tragic pictorial description of escape from oppression shows how illustrating the plight of one person or family can give us a sense of empathy that perhaps mapping hundreds of thousands using aggregate statistics cannot.
While perhaps unintentional this is a well designed map. The familiar is drawn as important, the unfamiliar smaller and less detailed. The layout works well and the linear story is clear and unambiguous.