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Etching by Walter Spitzer of concentration camp inmates hauling a cart of corpses, with one not yet dead

Object | Accession Number: 2008.340.5

Intaglio etched print created by Walter Spitzer based upon his experiences as an inmate in Blechhammer and Buchenwald concentration camps from 1943-1945. Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Walter fled with his family from Cieszyn (Województwo Śląskie). In 1940, his brother, Harry, was taken away by German soldiers and his father, Samuel, died after surgery. In June 1943, he and his mother, Gretta, were deported to Blechhammer labor camp where they were separated. Walter was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, then Buchenwald, where the 17 year-old Spitzer began documenting camp life. He promised a fellow inmate to tell with his pencils all that he saw in the camps. Walter's family did not survive the war and he settled in France. He became a professional artist, creating an eloquent artistic record of the Shoah. Spitzer did the original drawings for this print set in 1945, following his liberation by US troops while on a death march. This print is part of a set of nine, number 6 of 30, created postwar. Many of the drawings feature inmates referred to as Muselmann by the other prisoners, who avoided them. These are prisoners who are near death due to exhaustion, illness, starvation, or hopelessness. This print depicts a group of prisoners hauling a wagon filled with corpses, with one skeletal figure standing up in the cart reaching out in a pleadnig manner to the other inmates.

Artwork Title
TO THE KREMATORIUM EVEN HALF ALIVE
Date
1943 June-1945 April  (depiction)
1955  (creation)
Geography
depiction : Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
creation : Paris (France)
Language
English
Classification
Art
Category
Prints
Object Type
Etching (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Walter Spitzer
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Record last modified: 2018-03-19 10:22:37
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn37598