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Karl Schwesig manuscript

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1988.5.21

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    Karl Schwesig manuscript

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    Karl Schwesig's manuscript is not formally titled but has been referred to as "Pyrenäenbericht." It is divided into five sections: untitled (39 pages), "Noé" (8 pages), "Zwischensatz [Noé]" (10 pages), "Nexon" (14 pages), and "Fort Romainville, Kaserne" (11 pages). The manuscript relates his internment as a political prisoner in Holocaust-era concentration camps in France including Noé, Gurs, Saint-Cyprien, Nexon, as well as the Fort de Romainville prison in Paris and the Ulmer Höhe prison in Düsseldorf. It describes the scenery in the Pyrenees, camp conditions, food, his health, the treatment he received, fellow prisoners, daily life, and extraordinary events. The manuscript is accompanied by a map tracing Schwesig's Holocaust era itinerary from Düsseldorf, through Belgium and France, and back to Düsseldorf.
    creation:  1948
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    Collection Creator
    Karl Schwesig
    Karl Schwesig was born on June 19, 1898, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. His father was a miner. From 1916 to 1918, Schwesig served in the German Army during the First World War (1914-1918). In 1918, Schwesig began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf. In 1921, he left the conservative academy and joined the Junge Rhineland artist group. In 1924, Schwesig cofounded the satirical magazine Die Peitsche (The Whip). The right wing Nazi Party was growing rapidly in popularity duirng the 1920s and Schwesig was an outspoken anti-Nazi. He joined the Communist Party in the late 1920’s.

    Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933 and the country was soon ruled by a Nazi dictatorship. On July 11, 1933, Schwesig was arrested for his anti-Nazi commentary. He was detained by the SA and interrogated for the names of colleagues who also resisted the Nazis. He was sent to Ulmer Höhe prison in Dusseldorf. In 1934, he was convicted of treason and served his sentence in Bendahl prison in Wuppertal. After his release on November 18, 1934, Schwesig was granted political asylum in Belgium and lived in Antwerp. In 1937, his German citizenship was revoked and his property in Germany was confiscated by the Nazi regime.

    On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded Belgium. Schwesig was arrested and deported to St. Cyprien internment camp in Vichy France. In October, he was moved to Gurs internment camp after St. Cyprien was destroyed by flooding. In February 1941, he was transferred to Noé internment camp. In March 1943, he was sent to Nexon internment camp and classified as a politcal prisoner. In June, Schwesig was sent to Fort Romainville prison in Paris and in July to Ulmer Höhe prison in Dusseldorf. Throughout his imprisonment, Schwesig drew images of daily life in the camps. Schwesig was liberated in Ulmer Höhe after American forces captured Dusseldorf on April 17, 1945. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7. Schwesig stayed in Dusseldorf. He died, age 57, in 1955.

    Physical Details

    German German
    2 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Karl Schwesig manuscript is arranged as a single series: I. Karl Schwesig manuscript, approximately 1948

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The donor, source institution, or a third party has asserted copyright over some or all of these material(s). The Museum does not own the copyright for the material and does not have authority to authorize use. For permission, please contact the rights holder(s).

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Dusseldorf (Germany)

    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum acquired the Karl Schwesig manuscript from Galerie Remmert und Barth in 1988.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-07-05 08:16:45
    This page:

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