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Pencil drawing of people crowded inside a barrack in Gurs created by a German inmate

Object | Accession Number: 1988.4.2

Pencil drawing of several figures living in a cramped Gurs barrack drawn by Gert Wollheim while a prisoner in Gurs internment camp in late 1940. It shows raggedy clothing hanging from the rafters, with people and beds inches apart, portraying the lack of privacy and squalor. The French established Gurs, the largest internment camp in France, in April 1939 to hold political refugees. In early 1940, about 4000 German Jewish refugees were interned as enemy aliens. Wolheim, who fled Nazi Germany for Paris in 1933, was arrested by the French in spring 1940 as an enemy alien. France surrendered to Germany in June 1940. Northern France was controlled by the Germans and southern France, where Gurs was located, by a collaborationist French government set up in Vichy. Wollheim's work was shown in the Nazi Degenerate Art exhibit and he was active in leftist, radical politics. In November 1941, he was sent to Gurs. Camp conditions were primitive; it was overcrowded and water, food, and clothing were scarce. Wollheim was transferred to Septfonds on January 1, 1941. He escaped and went into hiding until the region was liberated in August 1944. He left for New York in 1947.

Artwork Title
Alternate Title
Barracks Interior
Series Title
Gurs Internment Camp, November 1940-January 1941
creation:  1940 November 01-1940 December 31
creation: Gurs (Concentration camp); Gurs (France)
depiction: Gurs (Concentration camp); Gurs (France)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2023-05-30 16:35:23
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