Through the eyes of a prisoner

This gallery includes paintings of some of the most notorious Jewish artists during World War II. Leo Haas, Arno Nadel, Norbert Troller, Otto Karas, Joseph Spier, and Georg Wolff were all sent to Auschwitz, one of the most prominent symbols of the Holocaust. 

This painting shows a group of marching men wearing stars of David; it portrays the spirit and hard work of Jewish men living in the ghetto and later sent to concentration camps. The artist, Haas Leo, would draw realistic caricatures and sketches of his surroundings in order to document every aspect of his daily life. The shadows and details in the men’s uniform are soft and broad, while their physical features are outlined with very fine lines. The men at the front of the formation defined and that sharpness slowly fades away as your eyes shift to the back of the right corner.
Nadel was not only an expressionist painter, but also a talented composer. This painting embodies both of his passions. He had a deep appreciation for compassion and sympathy for all the human kind, by depicting a nude woman; the focal point becomes her vulnerability. Musical notes are scattered around the frame, embodying the significance music had in his everyday life. Shades and white tone values were used to create depth and definition in her core but not in her facial features.
This portrait represents a the face of a blond woman, instead of focusing on a single angle, Nadel decided to depict four of them in the same painting, each one of them shows all her facial features. He made them unique by playing with the shadows and highlights on her face, while the strokes defining her features are thin and defined, the ones of the shadows and highlights were softer and blurry. The name of his model appears to be interspersed on the canvas, Marion Koe Get.
This drawing was created using ink and watercolor; the author was Norbert Troller. Shadows take up most of the space in the paper, one light source can be seen in the center of the room but it has little effect on the men standing underneath it. Color saturation is missing from their outfit and their background, giving the drawing and gloomy look. Norbert Troller was deported to Terezin, a ghetto were Jews were forced to live in; in 1944 he was sent to Auschwitz.
This painting shows an aged man with black fabric covering most of his head and body. The strokes on this painting seem to be muddier and less defined, the man has a peaceful appearance and the cloth around him appears to be the only thing covering him. Hebrew letters are merged into the background revealing his cultural background.
This drawing portrays a man carrying a sack down on of the Terezin streets; the lines throughout the drawing are sharp and straight, even on the lines forming the foliage, the lines are neither rounded or organic. The shapes and dark values of the ink help create movement. Otto Karas graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague before being deported to Terezin, and later on to Auschwitz, where he passed away.
Georg Wolff only half a year of his life in Terezin before being sent to Auschwitz, where he perished a year later. Using watercolor and pencil he represented a picture of the ghetto that the other artists who were confined there as well, had not. He stayed away from the sharp lines and grey tones. He focused on the architecture and structure of the main plaza, using a wide variety of color values. The town’s intact high walls are covered in warm tones. This watercolor depicts a nostalgic scene of what it once was a cheerful settlement.
This second watercolor by Troller represents another aspect of his experience while living in Terezin; he painted his own perspective of the infirmary when he was a patient. Contrary to the rest of his work, where he used sharp lines and gloomy colors, on this particular I believe it would be safe to assume he got to have some peace, the lines and shapes become organic and soft, and he decided to use lighter tones and dyes. Only one window is exposed but the whole room is filled with some morning light. The focal point of the scene is the hospital’s architecture.
This drawing by Joseph Spier is one of the most realistic representations of Terezin. The size and number of buildings, vegetation and other natural elements create a scene with plenty of depth and realistic features. He focused on the details of the fortress architecture and its fortification with only a few entrances, which made it easy to guard.
This drawing painting depicts two men working on a lumberyard in Terezin. This artwork lacks of color variety, by using different values of shade and the right proportions, the artist was able to represent a three dimensional and realistic scene. The trees are the focal point of the landscape, they lack foliage and their branches look jagged, many of them pushed around by the wind, this element sets a depressed environment and cold weather.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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