holocaust art

Holocaust Artwork
“He did not sketch for pleasure. He sketched
in testimony to all those who never came back.
The lone witness is often present. The ghostly
face observes with pain the inhuman scenes
that cannot be erased from his photographic
From The book, David Olère--The Eyes
of a Witness
Goal of Today
• The goal of today will be to view the
holocaust from the eyes of people who lived
through it.
• How can art be a useful way of studying the
How Can Survivors Tell Their
• David Olère is well-known as
an artist whose work testifies
to the enormity of the
Holocaust. A survivor of
Auschwitz, his drawings,
paintings, and sculpture have
helped considerably to reveal
the truth about the atrocities
suffered by Jews and other
Nazi victims at this notorious
death camp.
David Olère was born in Warsaw, Poland, on January
• On February 20, 1943, he was arrested by French police
during a round up of Jews at Seine-et-Oise. Olère was
detained at Drancy, then deported to Auschwitz.
• From March 2, 1943, to January 19, 1945, David Olère was
interned at Auschwitz. There he worked as a
Sonderkommando, part of a special labor unit responsible
for emptying the remains from the ovens of the crematory
and for removing the bodies from the gas chambers. The
horrors he witnessed there are incomprehensible to anyone
who did not personally experience the Holocaust.
• The work of David Olère has exceptional documentary
value. No photographs were taken at Auschwitz of what
went on in the gas chambers and crematoria. Only the
memories of Olère, reproduced as art in his drawings and
paintings, give an account of the horrible reality.
• Like many of the young men in early months of the war, Jan
Komski, a Polish Roman Catholic, was arrested on the
Poland/Czechoslovakia border attempting to reach the newly
formed Polish Army in France. He was carrying false identity
papers under an assumed name of Jan Baras. He was first taken
to the prison at Tarnow and then sent to Auschwitz, arriving
there, along with 727 other Polish men, on June 14, 1940.
Jobs for Men in the Women's Camp by
Jan Komski
Horse Stable: A Barracks for Men by
Jan Komski
Roll Call by Jan Komski
by Jan Komski
by Jan
• This man is being released from the camp
hospital. He is considered fit to work.
• Arrival of a Convoy by David Olère .A new convoy arrives in the background as
inmates struggle with a cart carrying away cadavers from a previous convoy.
No Escape, No Choice by Jan Komski's
David Olère Selection
• Pg
David Olère
Unable to
David Olère
Mother and Daughter
through a Machine
Gun Barrel
David Olère Blocks 2 to 5, Birkenau
David Olère "Their
Last Steps."
• What grim building dominates
the landscape?
• What adjectives describe the
physical condition of these
• How has the artist suggested
their loyalty to one another?
David Olère
• The container in the
lower right is labeled
Zyklon B. Although
Olère spent most of
his time doing art for
the SS and
translating BBC
radio broadcasts, he
was, from time to
time, called upon to
help empty the gas
David Olère Gold and Blood
• Pg
The Experimental Injection
David Olère.
David Olère (1902-1985) Leaving
for Work
• Pg 61-62
Hanging by Jan Komski
• by Jan Komski
David Olère Extermination of the Jewish
The Loser by Jan Komski
Panorama of Birkenau
The Identification by Jan Komski
• Women are tattooed soon after arrival.
• Ella LiebermannShiber
Death March
Zyklon "B," prussic acid in the
form of amethyst-colored crystals,
was used in Auschwitz and other
extermination camps to murder by
gassing the victims of the Nazis.
The crystals were dropped
through openings in the ceiling of
the gas chambers. To fool the
victims and to avoid panic, the gas
chambers were disguised with
fake shower heads to look like
regular showers.
Fritz Hirschberger
Fritz Hirschberger
The painting is
suggesting of a parent
sitting in the foreground
with a small rocking
horse, and the horrible
memory of the loss of his
family in a gas chamber,
marked in the image as
"bath house." The artist
suggests that those who
have been through the
Holocaust can never fully
recover from it, especially
the negative memories of
• The image refers to the medical experimentation done on
inmates at various concentration camps. The paradox of the
Nazi era was that an order from Goering in October, 1933,
prohibited experimentation on animals.
by Jan
Corpses, stacked high in the Crematorium I storage chamber, awaited
burial in the adjacent room. The burial was simple - in the fire and
smoke of the furnaces. Prisoners, called Sonderkommando, or special
squad, were forced to work in this place, on pain of death.
Aba Bayefsky
• Belsen Concentration Camp - the Pit, watercolor and charcoal on
Aba Bayefsky
• Remembering
the Holocaust,
oil on canvas,
• http://www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/exhibitions/sur
• http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/activity/912pla
• http://art.holocausteducation.net/explore.asp?langid=1&submenu=10