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Ironic drawing celebrating VE day by a Hungarian concentration camp survivor

Object | Accession Number: 1987.16.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Cartoonlike drawing of a hand with two fingers, one dripping blood and missing the top half, raised in the V for Victory sign. It was drawn by Ernu Homanye-Grytze on May 8, 1945, VE (Victory in Europe) Day, the day the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. The coloring was added in 1946. Homanye-Grytze was a self taught artist from Hungary with moved to Paris. In September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, and World War II began. In June 1940, the Germans occupied France. Around this time, Homanye-Grytze returned to Hungary. Germany occupied Hungary in March 1944. At the end of the war, Homanye-Grytze, 36, was liberated from a concentration camp.
    Artwork Title
    creation:  1945 May 08-1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Erwin and Virginia Kieckhefer
    Artist: Ernu Homanye-Grytze
    Subject: Ernu Homanye-Grytze
    Ernu Homanye-Grytze was born in 1909 in Hungary. His youth was disrupted by World War I (1914-1918.) His family was constantly on the move and life was desperate. He grew up with little education. He would sketch on odd bits of available paper and showed artistic skill at an early age. Ernu later received some training at various European schools. Ernu eventually opened a studio in Paris. After the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, he returned to Hungary. He was imprisoned in a concentration camp, where he continued to create art with makeshift tools. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. Ernu continued to work as an artist, and expressed the anger and embitterance causeded by his experiences in his work.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Cartoon style drawing in crayon and pencil on unevenly cut light brown paper. It depicts an oversize, pale orange right hand with the 2 center fingers raised in a V for victory salute. The index finger has a jagged red edge and the top is missing; red blood drips down the stump. The thumb is folded over the 2 folded end fingers. The forearm below is very narrow, the same width as the upright center finger. The arm rises from the intersection of a row of 5 blue streaked black outlined gun barrels that cascade down the lower left edge. On the lower right is an outline of a partial globe with a white longitude and latitude grid lines, with Europe colored in green. The hand is outlined in broad strokes of bright blue against a background crudely colored in black. The coloring was added in 1946, several months after the drawing was created. There is a partial sketch of the hand on the back. The drawing was removed from a cardboard mount, 16.750 by 14, with adhered paper on back.
    overall: Height: 14.000 inches (35.56 cm) | Width: 12.750 inches (32.385 cm)
    overall : paper, crayon, graphite

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1987 by Erwin W. Kieckhefer.
    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:
    2022-07-28 18:21:00
    This page:

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