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Object | Accession Number: 2006.508.1.5

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    Brief Narrative
    Color offset lithographic reproduction of a drawing, Joden als trekdier [Jews as Draft Animals] by Henri Pieck depicting prisoners in Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany in 1945.
    Artwork Title
    Joden als trekdier
    Henri Pieck: 7 Origineele Kleurenlitho's Van Beelden Uit Het Concentratiekamp Buchenwald
    publication/distribution:  1945
    publication: Hague (Netherlands)
    depiction: Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Rose Galek Brunswic
    Artist: Henri Pieck
    Publisher: Uitgeverij Het Centrum
    Henri Christiaan Pieck was born on April 19, 1895, in Den Helder, Netherlands. He had a twin brother Anton. Both brothers would have successful careers as artists. Henri’s talent was recognized early, and he began drawings lessons while a young boy. In 1912, he moved to Amsterdam where he joined the Communist Party in 1914. Pieck became a painter, with a special interest in portraits of dancers and scenes of working class life. He was also a commercial artist and illustrator. By 1920, he was receiving major commissions, such as a series of paintings for the Scala Theater in The Hague. Pieck married Geziena van Gelder in July 1922 and they had a son. The couple divorced in May 1928, and later that month, Pieck married Bernharda van Lier in England. They had two daughters. He divided his time between Geneva, London, and Paris and sometimes worked as a courier for the Dutch Foreign Ministry. By the 1930s, Pieck and his second wife Bernharda were spies for the Soviet Union. His Soviet handler was Ignacs Reiss. Pieck cultivated several contacts in the British Foreign Service, who provided him with code books, correspondence, and other official documents.

    In May 1940, Germany occupied the Netherlands. They installed a civil administration under the control of the SS, staffed chiefly by German and Austrian born Nazis. Pieck was a member of the Communist underground and helped produce the journal De Vonk. He was arrested by the Germans on June 9, 1941, for resistance activities. He was interned in Scheveningen prison and the German police transit camp Amersfoort. In April 1942, Pieck was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. His artistic talent gave him some protection in the camp and he did portraits and other drawings and paintings for the SS guards. Pieck was part of the Dutch section of the International Camp Committee, and they provided him with materials to record the atrocities and dreadful conditions in the camp.

    In early April 1945, as the Allies approached, the Germans began to evacuate the camp. On April 11, the prisoners seized control of the camp, and later that afternoon, US troops entered Buchenwald. Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. Pieck was repatriated to the Netherlands. In 1945-46, a portfolio of the drawings he made in Buchenwald were published. He created drawings of the devastation caused by the war the Netherlands which were also published in the immediate postwar period. He had a postwar career as a commercial artist and designer. Pieck, age 77, died in The Hague on January 12, 1972.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Prints (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    45 cm.
    t.p. ; 7 color lithograph plates (plates: 12.00 x 17.125 inches (44 x 31 centimeters) Only image in landscape orientation.
    Offset color lithograph depicting several prisoners in blue and gray striped concentration camp uniforms and wooden clogs chained together in 2 rows dragging a heavy load, unseen, attached to long wooden poles. They trudge on in the heavy rainwalk along a wide hillside road with large puddles. The artist's signature, HPieck 45, is reproduced in the right corner of the plate. The title caption is below the image on the left.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Pieck, Henri.

    Administrative Notes

    The folio was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 by Rose Galek Brunswic.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-05-26 10:12:40
    This page:

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