Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Autobiographical charcoal drawing by David Friedman of despairing and hungry Jews in the Łódź Ghetto

Object | Accession Number: 1988.182.1

Charcoal drawing created by David Friedman (before 1960, Friedmann) in 1963, depicting a scene in the Łódź Ghetto, where he was incarcerated from October 1941 until his deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in late August 1944. It depicts people with Star of David badges begging on the street. Artist's caption: "Despairing and hungry people on streets in Łódźer Ghetto was one of the frequent sights to be seen. Official statistics: From 110,798 inmates between 1940-1944, 43, 441 perished. In May 1941, 20,000 Jews were officially registered for TB. But there were many other diseases too."
David Friedmann was a successful painter and graphic artist who lived in Berlin from 1911-1938. He was renowned for his portraits drawn from life and became a leading press artist of the 1920’s. In 1933, his prewar career abruptly ended with the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship. In December 1938, he escaped to Prague with his wife, Mathilde, and infant daughter, Mirjam Helene. In October 1941, they were deported to the Jewish Ghetto in Łódź, Poland. In late August 1944, the family was separated and sent to Auschwitz death camp, where his wife and child were murdered. He was sent to the subcamp Gleiwitz I, because musicians were sought for a camp orchestra, but Friedmann’s life was saved because of his painting and quick-sketching portrait abilities. The camp was evacuated due to approaching Soviet forces. The inmates were forced on a death march to Blechhammer, where Friedmann was liberated by the Red Army in January 1945. He journeyed to Poland and stayed in Krakow until the war ended in early May 1945. He then returned to Prague and painted the scenes that haunted his memory to show the world and give voice to those who could not be heard. In January 1946, he had his first exhibition of his Holocaust artwork. Friedmann and his second wife, Hildegard, a fellow concentration camp survivor, fled the Stalinist Communists for Israel in 1949. They had a daughter also named Miriam, and the family moved to the United States in 1954.

Artwork Title
Hunger in Lodzer Ghetto
Alternate Title
Despairing and hungry Jews in Lodzer ghetto
Series Title
Because They Were Jews!
creation:  1963 December
depiction:  1941 October-1944 August
depiction: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
creation: St. Louis (Mo.)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Miriam Friedman Morris
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:48:50
This page: