Art of the Holocaust

2018-05-19

This will be a blog with vert few words but mostly pictures. Pictures drawn by victims of the Holocaust. The artists are unknown, or at least unknown to me. but the art tells a bleak story of daily life in the concentration camps.

The above picture is of a clergy man holding some sort of church service, in the right bottom corner a bible verse is mentioned. Matthew 24:24

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

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These speak for themselves

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The following pictures are all from the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

 

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Nazi Thievery

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There are so many analysis done about the Nazis and their psyche etc. But if you strip it down to basics all they were was a bunch of vile criminals with a warped ideology and sense of self importance, led by a delusional failed artist.

Even at the end they still worshiped this little man who actually wasn’t even born in Germany.

With torn picture of his feuhrer beside his clenched fist, a dead general of the Volkssturm lies on the floor of city hall, Leipzig, Germany. He committed suicide rather than face U.S. Army troops who captured the city on April 19. 1945.

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Aside from being thugs and murderers they were also thieves. Unfortunately a lot of their stolen goods was never recovered, but below are pictures of stolen goods which the Nazis weren’t able to keep hidden.

Manet s Wintergarden A painting by the french impressionist Edouard Manet, titled Wintergarden , discovered in the vault at Merkers

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Generals Eisenhower and Bradley General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, and General Omar N. Bradley, CG, 12th Army Group, examine a suitcase of silverware, part of German loot stored in a salt mine at Merkers.

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Looted Art Treasures General Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Allied commander, inspects art treasures looted by the Germans and stored away in the Merkers salt mine. Behind GEN Eisenhower are General Omar N. Bradley (left), CG of the 12th Army Group, and (right) LT Gen George S. Patton, Jr

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Troops find loot hidden in church German loot stored in church at Ellingen, Germany found by troops of the U.S. Third Army

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Durer Engraving M. SGT Harold Maus of Scranton, PA is pictured with the Durer engraving, found among other art treasures at Merker

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Rembrant Painting An unknown Rembrant recovered safe in Munich

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The Graces in the Gardens of the Hesperides A Rubens painting The Graces in the Gardens of the Hesperides taken by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg

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Saphor Torahs Chaplain Samuel Blinder examines one of the hundreds of Saphor Torahs (sacred scrolls) part of a cache of Hebrew and Jewish books that were stolen and collected from every occupied country in Europe.

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Van Gogh playing it by ear

 

100104_r19185_p646Pardon the pun in the title but I couldn’t resist.

On December 23  1888, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, cut off the lower part of his left ear with a razor while staying in Arles, France.He later documented the event in a painting titled Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.

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Van Gogh and Gauguin visited Montpellier in December 1888, where they saw works by Courbet and Delacroix in the Musée Fabre.Their relationship began to deteriorate; Van Gogh admired Gauguin and wanted to be treated as his equal, but Gauguin was arrogant and domineering, which frustrated Van Gogh. They often quarrelled; Van Gogh increasingly feared that Gauguin was going to desert him, and the situation, which Van Gogh described as one of “excessive tension”, rapidly headed towards crisis point.

The official version about van Gogh’s legendary act of self-harm usually goes that the disturbed Dutch painter severed his left ear lobe with a razor blade in a fit of lunacy after he had a row with Gauguin one evening shortly before Christmas 1888.

Bleeding heavily, van Gogh then wrapped it in cloth, walked to a nearby bordello and presented the severed ear to a prostitute, who fainted when he handed it to her.

He then went home to sleep in a blood-drenched bed, where he almost bled to death, before police, alerted by the prostitute, found him the next morning.

He was unconscious and immediately taken to the local hospital, where he asked to see his friend Gauguin when he woke up, but Gauguin refused to see him.

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However rumours have it the  Vincent van Gogh may have made up the whole story to protect his friend Gauguin, a keen fencer, who actually lopped it off with a sword during a heated argument.

Some historians say that the real version of events has never surfaced because the two men both kept a “pact of silence” – Gauguin to avoid prosecution.

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Death Camp Diary

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We might have been able to get out of it, but we didn’t want to. Since we’re in it, we’re going. In this case it’s best to leave things as you find them. We’ve been allowed to take all our luggage—a good sign. Maybe they were right and we’re following the men. I’m looking forward to it; perhaps I’ll see Dad by the end of the day.

The above words were from Helga Weiss, (born 1929) is a Czech artist, and a Holocaust survivor. Raised in Prague, on December 4, 1941 she and her parents were interned in the Terezin ghetto.

In October 1944, aged 15, she and her mother were moved to Auschwitz. As new victims arrived, they were sorted… sent to the left for the ovens, right to live longer. The person sorting that day may have been the infamous Josef Mengele.Whoever it was, Helga convinced him she was old enough to live longer, claiming to be 18, and was told to go to the rightShe also successfully claimed that her mother was younger than she really was.

She kept a diary, in words and pictures, and when she and her mother were sent on to Auschwitz in 1944, her uncle hid the diary in a brick wall for safekeeping.Her pictures tell the compelling story of life in the death camps.

Snowman, December 1941: ‘The first picture I made in Terezin. I smuggled it to my father in the men’s barracks and he wrote back: ‘Draw what you see!’

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The Transport of Polish Children, 29 August 1943. Helga Weiss recalls: ‘These children arrived in deplorable condition and were quarantined the whole time in Terezin. They were supposed to be sent to Switzerland but ended up in Auschwitz.

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Waiting Room of the Emergency Clinic, 26 July 1943. ‘Due to the poor living conditions, the waiting room was always full.’

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The Dormitory in the Barracks at Terezin, 1942. ‘There are 21 of us in quite a small room. Mum and I have 1.20 square metres.

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No explanation needed.

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For Her 14th Birthday, November 1943. ‘A picture for my friend Francka. We were born in the same maternity home, shared a bunk and became best friends in Terezin. We imagined what it would be like in 14 years – in 1957 – when we were both mothers and could go for walks in Prague. Francka died in Auschwitz before her 15th birthday.’

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ART IN THE FACE OF THE HOLOCAUST-Part 2

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Degenerate art was a term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany to describe Modern art. Such art was banned on the grounds that it was un-German, Jewish, or Communist in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to sanctions. These included being dismissed from teaching positions, being forbidden to exhibit or to sell their art, and in some cases being forbidden to produce art.

Degenerate Art also was the title of an exhibition, held by the Nazis in Munich in 1937, consisting of modernist artworks chaotically hung and accompanied by text labels deriding the art. Designed to inflame public opinion against modernism, the exhibition subsequently traveled to several other cities in Germany and Austria.

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Of course this also highlighted the stupidity of the Nazi ideology because some of these pieces of art were priceless. The only real degenerate artist was Adolf Hitler himself.

The painting at the top of this blog is ‘The Beach’ by Max Beckmann .Below are some further examples of “degenerate art” and also other art pieces created during the Holocaust.

A painting of Journalist Sylvia von Harden, by Otto Dix. Dated 1926

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Portrait of the Writer Max Hermann-Neisse” by George Grosz (1925).

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Bathers With A Turtle Henri Matisse

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Vincent van Gogh’s work found itself under Nazi scrutiny due to his Expressionist influences. The distorted swirls and cascading colors were too modern, thus making them too degenerate.

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Following are some drawings by Leo Yeni.

In fall 1943, Leo and his family fled north to the mountains near Varese, close to the Swiss border. His family decided that Leo should escape into Switzerland. He was apprehended and interrogated by the Swiss Police at the border and denied entry. With the aid of smugglers, he tried again. He was arrested and detained in a military cell in Lugano as an illegal alien. After reviewing his papers, a Swiss Captain told Leo that he was accepted as a refugee and he was interned in a detention camp. Leo was held in Unterwalden (Bellinzona), Plenterplatz in Zurich, and Lajoux in the Jura Bernoise. Through HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) and the Red Cross, Leo was able to contact a maternal relative, Rene Della Torre in the United States. Leo’s parents had been arrested by Italian Fascist police on December 6, 1943. They were jailed in Varese and then taken to Milan where they were deported by the Germans to Auschwitz concentration camp on January 30, 1944, and killed on February 6.

The war ended in May 1945. Leo resumed his education at L’Ecole d’Art in Switzerland. In July 1946, Leo emigrated from Le Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchatel, Switzerland, to America aboard the Marine Flasher. He settled in New York and his relatives helped him find a job as a designer. Leo had a successful career as a textile designer. He was active in local artists’ organizations and his artwork was frequently exhibited. He later taught painting. He married Rose Baumoel (1917-1992) on January 20, 1947. Rose was a school teacher. The couple had two children. Leo became a naturalized citizen in 1949. Leo, 91, passed away on February 7, 2011.

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Ervin Abadi, a Hungarian Jew from Budapest, was an aspiring young artist when WWII began. He was drafted into the Hungarian labor service in the early 1940s. Abadi managed to escape, but was recaptured and immediately deported to Bergen-Belsen. When the camp was liberated, his condition was such that he required extended hospitalization. During his convalescence, he created dozens of works of holocaust art, including ink drawings, pencil and ink sketches and watercolors.
After recuperating Abadi returned to Budapest, where he published a collection of his watercolors in 1946. After becoming disillusioned with the communist regime in Hungary, he moved to Israel, where he continued to publish in Hungarian and Hebrew. He died in Israel in 1980. Below pictures are dated 1945.

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The annihilation of the artists but not the legacy.

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I am not saying I am a great lover of art but the fact that I am from a nation that has produced some of the greatest artist in history, probably means there is a bit or “artist” DNA in me.

During WWII many Jewish artists were butchered by the Nazi regime. What the Nazi’s didn’t envisage is that you can kill the artist but his legacy will live on, for they put their heart and soul in their work.

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The 2 paintings above were painted by Felix Nussbaum (11 December 1904 – 9 August 1944) was a German-Jewish surrealist painter. Nussbaum’s artwork gives a rare glimpse into the essence of one individual among the victims of the Holocaust.

1944 was the year in which the plans of Nazi Germany had the greatest impact on the Nussbaum family.  In July, Nussbaum and his wife were found hiding in an attic by German armed forces. They were arrested, sent to the Mechelen transit camp and given the numbers XXVI/284 and XXVI/285. On August 2 they arrived at Auschwitz, and a week later Felix was murdered at the age of 39.

In this time period, Nussbaum created two of his best-known works: Self Portrait with Jewish Identity Card (1943), and Triumph of Death

Georges Ascher

Born in Warsaw, Poland (1884 – 1943),Although trained as an architect, Georges Ascher arrived in Paris in 1925 and devoted himself entirely to painting. Later, he moved with his family to the port town of La Ciotat where he mainly painted landscapes, still life compositions, and Jewish themes. Ascher exhibited at the Salon d’Automne of 1933..

In 1943, he was arrested and sent to the concentration camp of Gurs. Most of his work has since disappeared.

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Max Jacob

Born in Quimper (Brittany), France (1876 – 1944)

Poet, writer, art critic, and painter, Max Jacob passed through a religious crisis and converted to Catholicism in 1915. At his baptism, Picasso served as his godfather. In 1917, he published a collection of poems, and in 1921 retired to the Benedictine Abbey at St. Benoit sur L’Oise. In the following years, and particularly from 1926 well into the 1930s, Jacob’s creative output in the visual arts was at its peak. He exhibited regularly at the Percier and the Georges Petit Galleries.

Despite his conversion and entry into a monastery, Jacob was arrested and interned in Drancy, where he died on March 5, 1944.

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Joachim Weingart

Born in Drochobitch (Galicia), Poland (1895 – ?)

Joachim Weingart received a traditional Jewish education as well as a secular education. He studied at the Weimar School of Applied Arts in 1912 and later at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He then moved to Berlin, where he worked with Archipenko for two years. After World War I, Weingart returned to Galicia, worked and exhibited in Lvov, and moved to Paris in 1925. In Paris, Weingart continued painting and exhibited his work in the official salons and in galleries, but he underwent a mental crisis that, no doubt, changed the course of his life and work. He spent two years in a mental hospital, where he created some of his finest works.

In April 1942, Joachim Weingart was interned in the camp of Pithiviers and was deported to Auschwitz on July 7, 1942.

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Jacques Cytrynovitch

Born in Odziwal, Poland (1893 – 1942)

Jacques Cytrynovitch received a traditional Jewish education as well as a vocational education. During World War I, he was interned in a coal mine by the Germans, but he subsequently participated in the November 1918 revolution in Berlin. Following the war, he moved to Paris in response to a long-standing invitation by Naum Arenson, who had met him before the war and encouraged him to come to Paris. Cytrynovitch worked with Arenson and Bourdelle, creating sculptures that were true to nature, with an inclination toward the monumental. He exhibited his work at the Salon d’Automne and in various galleries. Work by Cytrynovitch can be found in private collections and museums, including the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Cytrynovitch was arrested in July 1941 as he was trying to cross the demarcation line into southern France, which was still free. He was deported to Auschwitz, where he died on July 27, 1942.

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Moise (Moshe) Kogan

Born in Orgeiew (or Argeiur), Bessarabia (1879 – ?)

Moise Kogan was educated in the spirit of Jewish tradition, but in 1903 he enrolled in the Art Academy of Munich. In 1910, he moved to Paris, where he was both influenced and appreciated by Maillol. While exhibiting his work at the Salon d’Automne in 1925, Kogan was elected vice president of the sculpture committee, a remarkably unusual appointment for an émigré artist. Kogan also exhibited in other Parisian galleries, as well as in Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Munich, and other German cities. Kogan made terracotta figurines and marble, wood, and limestone sculptures, which were very appealing to art lovers in Paris. He was also a master of woodcut, linocut, and lithography. He was interested in the Bible, Jewish history, and mysticism, as well as cultures of the East. His works can be found in museums and private collections in Europe, America, and Israel.

Kogan was arrested by the Vichy Police and interned in the concentration camp at Drancy. He was deported to a death camp on February 22, 1943.

A memorial exhibition of Kogan’s work was held at the Zak Gallery in Paris in 1947.

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Roman Kramsztyk

Born in Warsaw, Poland (1885 – 1942)

Roman Kramsztyk studied art in Munich from 1904-1908. “For 30 years – from [his] debut in the Warsaw Zachta [the Warsaw Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts] in 1909 up to 1939 – Kramsztyk was one of the most important participants in Polish artistic life. Even though he had been living in Paris since 1911 (with an interlude during the years 1915-1922) and regularly presented his works at Salons (des Indépendants, Automne, and des Tuilleries), he had never broken ties with his homeland.”* Continuing to take part in Polish exhibitions (e.g. the First Exhibition of Polish Expressionists in Krakow, 1917 and the Exhibition of Polish Legions in Lublin, 1917), Kramsztyk “… was co-founder of the ‘Rytm’ Society of Polish Artists – one of the most important artistic groups of the twenty years between the wars.

In 1939 Kramsztyk’s mother died in Warsaw, where the war trapped him. In 1940, he moved into the Warsaw Ghetto and on August 6, 1942 “…he was shot during the so-called Grossaktion, the operation that liquidated the Warsaw Ghetto.

In 1997, the Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw mounted a major retrospective and published a complete catalog of Kramsztyk’s works.

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The last picture is another one by Felix Nussbaum.His painting vividly tell the story of his Holocaust.

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The destruction of innocence.

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A child is born with no state if mind,blind to the ways of mankind.However for the children who lived and died during the Holocaust this innocence was forever stolen and destroyed.

The survivors often lost their friends and families, but they always lost their childhood.Below are some drawings of children of the Holocaust.

Ella Liebermann. 16 years old. Eating and soup distribution. Bedzin’s ghetto. Poland.

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Helga Weissova. 13 years old. ‘Bread transported in a hearse’

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Alfred Kantor. 17 years old

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Pavel Sonnenschein, who died aged 13, painted the inside of a ghetto.

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Vilem Eisner, who was 13 when he died, painted a lesson being held in a dorm room

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This one touched me the most because it serves as a lesson to all of us, even in the bleakest of moments we can still have positive thoughts. It was painted by Ruth Cechova, who died aged 13, she painted her memories of sunbathing.

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Ending with 2 poems of Franta Bass, he was born September 4 1931. The date if his death is unknown.

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I AM A JEW

I am a Jew and will be a Jew forever.
Even if I should die from hunger,
never will I submit.

I will always fight for my people,
on my honor.
I will never be ashamed of them,
I give my word.

I am proud of my people,
how dignified they are.
Even though I am suppressed,
I will always come back to life.

A little Garden.

A little garden

Fragrant and full of roses

The path is narrow

And a little boy walks along it

 

A little boy , a sweet boy

Like that growing blossom

When the blossom comes to bloom

The little boy will be no more.

 

 

Samuel Morgenstern-The Jewish Business man who bought Hitler’s art.

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Samuel Morgenstern, an Austrian businessman and a business partner of the young Hitler in his Vienna period, bought many of the young Hitler’s paintings. According to Morgenstern, Hitler came to him for the first time in the beginning of the 1910s, either in 1911 or in 1912. When Hitler came to Morgenstern’s glazier store for the first time, he offered Morgenstern three of his paintings. Morgenstern kept a database of his clientele, through which it had been possible to locate the buyers of young Hitler’s paintings. It is found that the majority of the buyers were Jewish. An important client of Morgenstern, a prosecuting lawyer by the name of Josef Feingold,another Jewish Business man, bought a series of paintings by Hitler depicting old Vienna.

 

Samuel Morgenstern was born in Budapest in 1875. In 1903 he opened his glazier store with a workshop in the back at 4 Liechtenstein-strasse near downtown Vienna, quite close to Sigmund Freud’s practice and apartment.

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In 1904 he married Emma Pragan, a Jew from Vienna.

In a deposition he made from memory in 1937, Morgenstern stated that Hitler had come to his store for the first time in 1911 or 1912, offering him three paintings, historical views in the style of Rudolf von Alt. Morgenstern had also sold pictures in his frame and glazier store, “since in my experience it is easier to sell frames if they contain pictures.

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After the annexation of Austria in March 1938 as leader of the “Greater German Empire,” Mr. and Mrs.Morgenstern’s destiny made a turn for the worst. In the fall of 1938 their stores, fully stocked warehouse, and workshop were “Aryanized” and taken over by a National Socialist. The “purchase price,” which was set at 620 marks, was never paid. Because Morgenstern also lost his commercial license, he was no longer allowed to work. Thus the couple- sixty-three and fifty-nine years old, respectively-had no income whatever, and what is more: they could not leave the country, because they did not have the money either for the trip or for the obligatory “Reich flight tax,” or for the required visa.

In this desperate situation Samuel Morgenstern saw only one way out: asking the Fuhrer personally for help, just as Dr. Bloch,Bloch was the physician of Adolf Hitler’s family, in Linz did around that time.

Dr. Eduard Bloch in Arztpraxis

Considering that Hitler immediately responded to Bloch’s request, Morgenstern’s hope for the Fuhrer to intervene and save his life was certainly not absurd, as long as the letter reached Hitler.

Morgenstern’s letter went on the following journey: mailed in Vienna on August 11, it arrived in Hider’s secretary’s office at the Obersalzberg in Berchtesgaden on August 12 and was forwarded from there to the “Fuhrer’s Chancellery” in Berlin on August 14, where it was opened on August 15. This is where the marginal note “Jew!” must have been added. In any case, the secretary’s office did not hand the letter to Hider but returned it to Vienna on August 19 however, not to the sender but to the Finance Ministry, where it was filed away and forgotten for the next fifty-six years.

The invasion of Poland began on September 1, 1939, and with it World War II. The Morgensterns waited fruitlessly for help from Hitler, but a short time later their house was taken from them. They had to relocate to a kind of Jewish ghetto in Leopoldstadt. From there, on October 28, 1941, they were deported to the Litzmannstadt ghetto in the Reich district of Wartheland. The deportation order was stamped, in red ink, “To Poland.”

The Morgensterns were among 25,000 Jews deported to Litzmannstadt(AKA Lodz) from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, and Luxembourg.

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Samuel Morgenstern died of exhaustion in the ghetto of Litzmannstadt in August 1943. He was sixty-eight years old. He was buried in the ghetto cemetery. As an eyewitness, Emma’s brother-in-law Wilhelm Abeles, a former glazier in Vienna, was to report later on, his wife was with him until the end.

Emma Morgenstern must have been deported to Auschwitz by August 1944, for on August 30 only a “cleaning-up commando” of six hundred men and a few people in hiding remained in the ghetto. Most new arrivals-above all, old women unable to work-were immediately sent to the gas chamber .

 

 

ART IN THE FACE OF THE HOLOCAUST

The below pictures are from the Ringelblum archive at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. Named after Emanuel Ringelblum who was executed on the 7th of March 1944 at the Pawiak Prison in Warsaw.

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I will not say too much about these paintings, I will let them do the talking.

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Other pieces of art

1942. Esther Lurie used ink on cardboard to draw this scene. She described here new deportees arriving
in the ghetto, carrying bundles of their meager possessions and scrutinized by armed guards.

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Josef Nassy (1904–1976) was a black expatriate artist of Jewish descent. Nassy was living in Belgium when World War II began, and was one of about 2,000 civilians holding American passports who were confined in German internment camps during the war.

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Fear and separation by Ella Liebermann.

By Felix Nussbaum. Born in 1904, he died at Auschwitz in 1944.

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“Kommando”and “Normal life”, by Fernand Van Horen. Van Horen was a Belgian survivor
of Esterwegen and Flossenburg concentration camps.

Children as well as adults documented events of the Holocaust through art. In this child’s drawing, Jews are shown under armed guard, being pushed into a van which will take them to deportation trains.

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An ode to Dick Bruna

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Dick Bruna was one of the Netherlands’ most famous ‘unknown’ artists. While every one in the Netherlands knew him, outside of the country most people would know his creations but would not heard of his name.

Bruna is best known for his children’s books which he authored and illustrated, now numbering over 200. His most notable creation is Miffy (Nijntje in the original Dutch), a small rabbit drawn with heavy graphic lines, simple shapes and primary colors.

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Bruna has also created stories for characters such as Lottie, Farmer John, and Hettie Hedgehog.

At a young age Bruna started drawing, but was also influenced by artists of other art forms. He drew covers for his school newspaper in Walt Disney style. Later he admired Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

The biggest influence was perhaps Matisse. Dick Bruna’s first works were based on collages by the French painter. Bruna has also been noted to have been influenced by the Dutch graphic design movement, De Stijl, in particular the work of architect Gerrit Rietveld.

Unfortunately he died on 16 Feb 2017 at the age of 89. Below is some of his art. Rest in Peace Mr Bruna, thank you for your stories and art.

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Farewell

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