This exhibition features a selection of Watson Library’s collection of works by and about artists of the Holocaust. It includes graphic images of concentration camps and depictions of human suffering.
Exhibition note: Library hours vary from regular Museum hours. Before your visit, please consult library hours here.
Featuring more than twenty five publications reproducing art created in the concentration camps and soon after liberation, Artists of the Holocaust testifies to the atrocities, the artists’ indomitable will to document their experiences, and the power of publications to educate and inform.
The exhibition consists of postwar portfolios from the 1940s; personal illustrated narratives from the 1940s through the 1970s; exhibition catalogs; books featuring children’s art created in Theresienstadt; and Tana Kellner’s powerful artists’ book, 71125, Fifty Years of Silence: Eva Kellner’s Story (1992). The exhibition additionally presents work by Holocaust survivors Leo Haas (1901–1983), Esther Lurie (1913– 1998), and Simon Wiesenthal (1908–2005), among others.
Watson Library has actively developed our collection on artists of the Holocaust for the past fifteen years. A landmark 1978 exhibition catalog published by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Spiritual Resistance: Art from Concentration Camps, 1940–1945: a Selection of Drawings and Paintings from the Collection of Kibbutz Lohamei Haghetaot, Israel, served as the foundational guide to enhancing our collection. The list of artists exhibited provided an initial checklist to develop the library’s holdings in this area. Tom Freudenheim, former director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, which was one of the venues, contributed an essay to the catalog, “Art from Concentration Camps” that set an example on how to approach this material. In 2020, the library received an important donation on Judaica and Jewish history from Freudenheim, including numerous publications on art from concentration camps.