A brush with death: an artist in the death camps by Morris Wyszogrod

By Morris Wyszogrod

During this memoir Morris Wyszogrod recounts his studies from the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland to the liberation of the Theresienstadt focus camp in 1945. He describes intimately the time he spent within the Warsaw Ghetto; his paintings as an artist for varied Luftwaffe group of workers on the Warsaw army airport; his reports on the Budzyn focus camp, the place he was once assigned to accessorize the dwelling quarters of the SS and to supply drawings at an orgiastic Oktoberfest; his elimination to Plaszow, the place he used to be positioned to paintings digging up mass graves and burning the our bodies to dispose of the proof of Nazi warfare crimes; his witnessing of the firebombing of Dresden in February 1945; and his next liberation at Theresienstadt by way of the purple military in might 1945. simply as an artist may well check in what he or she sees opposed to a delicate visible and ethical template, so Wyszogrod doubly registered what he observed and felt, either in his drawings and in his thoughts.

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People were running in all directions. Some believed that they could survive better in the countryside where food was more readily available. Men were fleeing because there was an alarm that they, in particular, would suffer if captured by the Germans. The Germans took advantage of this exodus to the villages and outlying areas to strafe the fleeing civilians. Poland had been divided into the German and Russian zones of occupation by the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939. The Bug River, which separated the two zones, was about a six-hour train ride from Warsaw or three days on foot.

He motioned to us to open the door for the traditional arrival of Elijah the Prophet. One of the children usually opened the door for Elijah, but we were all sitting at the table, motionless. " My father's Shfoch Chamoscho was the most powerful curse I ever heard in my life. It was his rage, his hatred, his belief that the enemy could be mortally wounded with his words. He hurled it at the enemy with all his remaining strength, the last breaths of life left to a man dying in agony. At that moment, his curse was also mine.

After a while, they called us over to a field kitchen and poured their leftovers into the pails we had just been using for the clean-up. ) We passed around the few pails and drank the contents. It consisted of soup with some vegetables floating in it. Some of the Jews asked for cigarettes but the soldiers said they had very few themselves and could not give us any. We got half an hour to eat and rest and then were ordered to come back for more work. We were constantly told to work faster. The word they used was tempo, a word I was to hear many times over the next few years.

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