Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Pen and ink drawing by David Friedmann of Jews hauling waste in the Ghetto given postwar to a fellow former resident

Object | Accession Number: 1993.126.1

Pen and ink drawing created by David Friedmann (from 1960, Friedman) in 1942, when he was incarcerated in the Łódź Ghetto in German-occupied Poland. The work depicts a trio of men called fecalists whose job was to haul away bodily waste. The Ghetto had no running water or sewers. Friedmann gave the drawing to Menachem Rubinstein with a personalized label in July 1950 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The men befriended each other when both were forced to live in the sealed Ghetto, set up by the Germans in February 1940. Rubinstein's three year old son, Dawid, died there in 1943. His wife, Hadasa, also perished. Rubinstein was imprisoned to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Gleiwitz I, and Blechhammer and freed during a death march on January 25, 1945. He returned to Łódź after the war ended in May 1945. In 1946, he left for France, and then emigrated to Israel.
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
1942 Ghetto Łódź
depiction:  1942
creation:  1942
received:  1950 June 16
received: Tel Aviv (Israel)
depiction: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
creation: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Nina Lalin
Record last modified: 2022-12-13 15:58:27
This page: