Art from the Holocaust: 100 Works from the Yad Vashem Collection

Contained in this austere catalogue are 100 artworks from Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. The works, exhibited at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in 2016, represent 50 artists--a mix of professionals, amateurs and children--who were forced to live in ghettos, labor camps and concentration camps between 1939 and 1945. Half of those artists were killed, as biographical notes chillingly recount.

With descriptions and introductory essays given in German, Hebrew and English, the pieces range from realistic to escapist, representational to allegorical: a watercolor butterfly lighting on hard ink lines of barbed wire against a ghostly background; a pair of women in brightly colored summer dresses seemingly floating, picnic baskets in hand, above a meadow. Meant to humanize the victims of the Holocaust, the severity of the collection seethes with profound anger. Even gentleness is rendered caustic. --Zak Nelson, writer and bookseller
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