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Holocaust Art: Yehuda Bacon and Joseph Bau

  • Date Submitted: 05/11/2010 06:22 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.2 
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Yehuda Bacon and Josef Bau are two artists who survived the same horrific time in history. Although they have different backgrounds and different artistic styles, their artwork has been used to tell the same stories to the world. Both men survived the Holocaust and spent time in concentration camps, and both men lost family and friends at the hands of the Nazis. Through their artwork they both tell their individual stories and illustrate the atrocities that affected the entire world, and provide a personal view of what the individual experienced and took away from the experience.

Yehuda Bacon was born on August 28, 1929 in Moravská Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. At only 13 years of age he and his family were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. While imprisoned in the camp, he stayed in a home for 10 to 15 year old Czech boys where he began to draw. He helped produce an underground magazine for teenagers titled “Vedem” and studied art with Leo Haas, Otto Ungar, and Karel Fleischmann, who were all Jewish artists that were also incarcerated there. On the seventeenth day of December in 1943, Yehuda and his family were deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was allowed, briefly, to stay with his family and continue schooling, but the following July all of the Theresienstadt family camps were dissolved and Yehuda’s father was exterminated in a gas chamber. Yehuda was moved several times from concentration camp to concentration camp where he witnessed countless deaths and endured great physical and emotional torture at the hands of his captors.

It was the tragic loss of his father that inspired one of his most well-known pieces of art. A depiction of his father’s image rising from the smoke of one of the Auschwitz crematoriums was drawn the day of his father’s death.   By illustrating this event and committing it to paper, he was able to memorialize his father’s horrific murder and assure that the day would not be forgotten. Just over a year...


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