Auteur: Jannet Blatter
Throughout the twelve years of the Third Reich, an indomitable group of artists risked their lives to record the crimes of the Nazi regime and the agony of its victims. Working in the ghettos, transit camps, in hiding and in concentration camps, they have left behind a body of material that documents their hope, humanity and cre-ative spirit as well as their suffering. This highly varied body of work ranges from gentle water-colour landscapes and sketches that could have been done at any time and place to anguished scenes of torture; from bitter satirical drawings that helped the victims vent their anger and lessen their pain, to grim pictures that force us to remember it. The artists worked in various media—watercolours, oils, charcoal, pen and ink, wood, pencil. They worked on whatever materials were available—the finest canvas, artist's paper or the backs of work orders and scraps rescued from the barrel. They created in compliance with Nazi orders as well as in secret, at great risk to their lives. The more than 30,000 works that survive represent hundreds of artists. It is an incredible collection, whose power is undeniable and whose overall impression is one of strange beauty.
In Art of the Holocaust more than 350 of these works are reproduced, over 60 in full colour. In addition, the book records the story behind each work, stories of ingenuity, defiance, courage. Though it records suffering, Art of the Holocaust is not a book about suffering; it is a book about the very highest values of humanity. Most important, it is a book about art. For these artists managed to distill from their surroundings the very essence of life itself—to express and affirm their own existences. And what is art but that expression?
Research for Art of the Holocaust has taken place over a period of more than ten years. The authors visited over twelve countries in Europe, North America and Asia, and did research in hundreds of institutions, interviewed hundreds of Holocaust artists and survivors.