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Etching by Walter Spitzer of a skeletal concentration camp inmate gazing at the empty food bowl of another

Object | Accession Number: 1991.138.3

Intaglio etched print created in 1955 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 2 of 30. 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 man seated at a table, sleeping with a peaceful expression on his face, next to his empty food bowl, while a skeletal inmate standing nearby looks on with longing and despair.

Artwork Title
Demain - A Seras Montour?
Alternate Title
Tomorrow my turn?
creation:  1955
depiction:  1943 June-1945 April
depiction: Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
creation: Paris (France)
Object Type
Etching (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ani Mander
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:21:33
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