Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Drawings of Holocaust Survivors

In the latter half of 2013, a young man and art student called Gideon Summerfield developed a project to draw Holocaust Survivors called "From Generation to Generation (L’Dor V’Dor)". Gideon's pen and ink drawings in of the men and women pen and ink from Jewish Care's Shalvata centre are included in an exhibition which opens on Friday (details below).

I think they demonstrate an amazing level of sensitivity both in terms of his project and the actual drawings - even more so when you consider they were completed by a 17 year old.

Portrait of Holocaust Survivor Freddie Knoller
From Generation to Generation
© Gideon Summerfield 
You can see his drawings on YouTube (below) and also macro crops on Facebook where they are accompanied by a narrative about the life of the individual portrayed and the object of their choice which is important to them.

Read more about his project in a couple of articles:

It has been an extraordinary privilege to learn from people now in their 80s and 90s about their experiences as children and teenagers, how they survived the death camps and the Holocaust. For me as an 18 year old, it has been a formative, and at times traumatic, learning experience.”
Gideon Summerfield
More about the exhibition and more Holocaust Art at the end.
Prior to this Gideon had completed a project called 'Sketch a Day' in which he drew somebody who was in the news every day for 366 days.  Age 17 years old, he drew his final drawing sat in the BBC Morning News Studio - where he was also interviewed. Click the 'Sketch a Day' link to visit the relevant page on his website - then click a link in the grid to see a larger image of each portrait of the person for that day.

Gideon is in the first year of a degree in Illustration at Cardiff School of Art and Design.  I predict this won't be the last we hear of him!
What advice would you give to other young aspiring artists?I guess all I can say is what my teachers and other artists have said to me… to keep on drawing every day, even for just one hour a day. And to stay inspired by others.
A selection of the drawings completed by Gideon Summerfield in 2012
- drawings of the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee, and visits to Spain and New York 

Drawings about the Holocaust

The Exhibition

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust ran a competition The Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 Art Competition in the lead up to the Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday 27 January 2014. This is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people killed in the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

People were invited to respond to stories from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides through creating a painting, drawing or piece of digital art. 

An exhibition is being held 24 January - 3 February at the A-Side B-Side Gallery, Hackney Downs Studios, 5 – 9 Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT

Gideon Summerfield and representatives from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust are judging the first ever online art competition for Holocaust Memorial Day, inviting people to explore the 2014 theme of Journeys through creating an original drawing, painting or a piece of digital art.

The winning artworks will be shown at an exhibition in London and at the Holocaust Memorial Day UK event on 27 January 2014.

The largest collection of Holocaust Art is at Yad Vashem’s online Holocaust Resource Centre.
The Art of the Holocaust was produced, for the most part, by Jewish artists who lived under the Nazi occupation during World War II, in the ghettos, in hiding, in the forests and concentration camps.


  1. What a fantastic young man!I wish him all good luck in the future and to continue with his drawings in this brave and mature manner.
    How sensitive and gentle drawings ,and what an impact they have. It must also have been such a privilege for him to meet these survivors!

    How fantastic too to live in a country where you still can do an education in illustration and actually do proper illustration, with a pen instead of a computer.
    Here in Sweden practically all such courses are now gone, in favour of learning to illustrate with a computer. But then Britain is a country where art and doing proper art is appreciated so much, much more than in Sweden. Here we live in a cultural gloom, the only thing that matters is conceptual art.:-(


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