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Halina Olomucki drawing of concentration camp inmate carrying a rock

Object | Accession Number: 1989.330.1 a-b

Drawing of a female prisoner created in Birkenau concentration camp by Halina Olszewski, 24, (later Olomucki) where she was an inmate from July 1943-January 1945. It depicts an emaciated woman in a striped uniform carrying a rock. Concentration camp prisoners were often forced to carry heavy rocks back and forth for hours. After Nazi Germany occupied Poland in September 1939, Halina, her mother Margarit-Hadassa, and siblings were interned in Warsaw Ghetto. Hannah did forced labor, but she felt her real job was to record the misery and suffering of ghetto residents. Halina smuggled drawings to a non-Jewish friend outside the ghetto. In May 1943, she and her mother were sent to Majdanek where her mother was killed on arrival. Halina was selected for labor. In July, she was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau. After she was put on an art detail, she hid pencil stubs and using any paper she could find, secretly drew pictures of camp life. Other prisoners asked her to draw them or their loved ones to preserve their memory and show the world what happened. She hid artwork in the camp, much of it recovered postwar. On January 18, 1945, Halina went by death march to Ravensbrück and Neustadt-Glewe, where she was liberated on May 2, 1945. She returned to Warsaw and found no surviving family members.

Artwork Title
Le travail dans le camp, Birkenau, 1943
Alternate Title
Work in the Camps, Birkenau, 1943
creation:  1943
depiction:  1942
creation: Birkenau (Concentration camp); Birkenau (Germany)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Halina Olomucki, in memory of her parents
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:24:14
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