Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Art and the Holocaust

Today is the International Holocaust Memorial Day - just as it is on 27 January every year. The day is also the anniversary of the day that Auschwitz-Birkenau - the largest Nazi death camp - was liberated.

The day is for remembering the 

  • the 6 million Jews, 2 million Roma, 250,000 disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men as well Sinti and Slavs and many others, who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Shoah - and the changed lives of those affected by the Holocaust.
  • the millions of people who were killed or have been affected by the terrible crimes committed during conflicts in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Art and the Holocaust

My blog post today deals with art and the holocaust - and places online where you can find out more about it.

Art from the Holocaust falls into a number of categories

Below I note my previous blog posts on this topic and other ways that art associated with the Holocaust is being remembered today.

Art made by Jewish artists and others affected by the Holocaust

Six years ago, on 27 January 2015, I wrote about Art from Auschwitz - which includes drawings made by inmates of the camp

Pushing chairs
Black watercolours, cardboard, 13 x 20.8 cm, Paris 1945. 

Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

The Imperial War Museum has a page about Artists' Responses to the Holocaust - which includes many images with explanation of who made them and what they are about - including images by British war artists.

The BBC in a (2016) article titled Art from the Holocaust: The stories behind the images covers the artists included in an exhibition at the German Historical Museum in Berlin in 2016.

Visual Arts Cork has an excellent ( as always) section on Holocaust Art (1933-1945) Artistic Images of the Shoah. This takes a slightly different view of categorisation i.e.
Holocaust art may be divided into three basic categories. (1) Propaganda imagery used by the German authorities to promote their ideology and prepare the public to accept and support their genocidal activities. (2) Images (mostly drawings) that record the individual experiences of victims of - or witnesses to - the holocaust. (3) Post-war art created at a later date in remembrance of the Holocaust as a general event, rather than to remember an individual experience. Typically this type of art consists either of official memorials (mostly sculpture), associated with specific places (concentration camps, city ghettos or places of deportation) or events (like the Warsaw Ghetto uprising); or works by individual artists, such as "The Holocaust" (1983, Legion of Honor Park, San Francisco) a white-painted bronze sculpture by George Segal.
If you want an in-depth discussion about holocaust art, this is a good place to start.

Google Arts and Culture in its Spotlight Article Art and the Holocaust reviews:
  • Artists persecuted by the Nazis
  • Artists who documented the atrocities of the Camps
  • Art after the Holocaust
Today ART UK is doing its bit.


Art which commemorates those who survived

Seven years ago, in January 2014, I wrote about Drawings of Holocaust Survivors done in pen and ink by a young man and art student called Gideon Summerfield who had developed a project to draw Holocaust Survivors called "From Generation to Generation (L’Dor V’Dor)". Gideon is a Londoner who was part of the Young Artists programme at the Royal Drawing School between the ages of 12-17. Since then he has graduated from Cardiff School of Art and Design with a First Class Honours Degree in Illustration.

Art previously owned by Jewish families and confiscated by the Nazis

In 2017 I wrote about Adele Block Bauer and 'Woman in Gold'. The Klimt painting was 'nationalised' by the Nazis during the purge of the Jewish community

Google's doodle omission

I'm amazed at how Google failed completely to recognise the International Holocaust Memorial Day. I can't see any Google Doodle for today Indeed I reviewed the archive and Google has NEVER marked the Holocaust Memorial Day. 

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