What's In Our Name?

What's In Our Name?

The History of the Arnsdorf Name

'Max at 99' Photographed by Zoe Moon Arnott, May 2020

Visitors to our store often ask where does the name Arnsdorf comes from? The person central to the answer is Max Arnott pictured above on his 99th birthday. This image captured by our brand founder and designer Jade Sarita Arnott's sister, photographer Zoe Moon Arnott. This image featured in both The Australian newspaper and The Age so it may be familiar.                              

Max is their grandfather and Zoe documented the occasion with his family including 6 great grandchildren from outside the gates of his nursing home due to the Covid19 lockdown restrictions.

A moving photo of celebration yet sadness due to the distance and the severity of the gates. A reality of 2020. 

Max has had an extraordinary life beginning in Germany where he was born in to a Jewish family in 1921. When Hitler came to power, his parents sent him to England thinking that he would be out of harms way but when war broke out, he was arrested as an 'enemy alien' and shipped to Australia in 1940 on the HMT Dunera. Max was locked up in the Hay Internment / POW Camps in NSW. The HMT Dunera which carried over 2500 detainees on a 56 day voyage was later exposed for its shocking mistreatment of its passengers and the story told in a mini series called The Dunera Boys in 1985 starring Bob Hoskins and Warren Mitchell as well as an exhibition at the National Library in Canberra in 2010.

When the war ended, Max returned briefly to England. As was common practice in those years, Max Arnsdorf anglicised his surname to Arnott and migrated to Australia, settling in Melbourne with his wife Margot.

Max began working in the then thriving Melbourne garment manufacturing industry. He started to sew seersucker bathers at the kitchen table in evenings after working all day as a cutter in a clothing factory. Then he took them around to stores looking for buyers. Max would travel to Sydney staying in a small room, placing his trousers under the mattress ‘to press’ overnight so that he could look smart for the morning meetings. Then he started up his own business renting a room in Flinders Lane and eventually employing over 60 staff making ladies nighties and pyjamas for Australian department stores. Jade decided to name her brand Arnsdorf honouring her grandfather, her family heritage and her family name lost through history.

Jade Sarita Arnott photographed in the Arnsdorf factory by Zoe Moon Arnott

The photo of 'Max at 99' by Zoe Moon Arnott is a finalist in the 2020 Bowness Prize at the Monash Gallery of Art. See more of Zoe's work here.



We are still online.  Get it shipped or Contactless Click and Collect!

Our online store is still running and shipping as normal.   We are despatching orders daily but happy to let you know that we have a Contactless Click and Collect option available if you live in a 5km radius of the store. We are located at 229 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.  Our Click and Collect window is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 12pm.   

(Jerri wears the Helena Coat in Olive )                                                                     


Stay well, from all of us at Arnsdorf X

September 23, 2020

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