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Autobiographical charcoal drawing by David Friedman of a starving man eating from a ghetto garbage can

Object | Accession Number: 1998.79.1

Charcoal drawing created by David Friedman (before 1960, Friedmann) in 1964, 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 a man kneeling in front of a garbage can and eating. The artist's caption: "People are looking for some food in backyards, but if you were caught from German detectives, you were shot pitilessly. With my binocular from Prague, I saw more than others. For a 1/2 lb potato peelings I had to pay $1.00 in fresh condition."
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 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
Looking for some food in backyards was forbidden!
Alternate Title
Hunger in Lodzer Ghetto
Series Title
Because They Were Jews!
creation:  1964
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, In Memory of David and Hildegard Friedman
Record last modified: 2022-12-13 15:13:43
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