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Stage design for the Łódź ghetto theater created by an inmate

Object | Accession Number: 2005.456.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Theater set design created by 18 year old Pinchas Szwarc (Shaar) during his imprisonment in the Jewish ghetto in Łódź, Poland. He enjoyed the work, as "artistic activity and expression, as well as a means of maintaining the face of a "normal" humna benig." Shows were presented from 1940-1941. In February 1940, the Germans, who had occupied Poland in September 1939, established a ghetto for the Jews in Łódź, now named Litzmannstadt, and required the residents to perform forced labor. Pinchas, like other family members, first worked in a factory. When his artistic talents were discovered, he was employed producing signs and charts for the Statistical Office. In 1944, the Germans destroyed the ghetto and deported the inhabitants to concentration camps. Pinchas, with his father and brothers, was sent to Sachsenhausen, where they were slave laborers until the camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in 1945. The family returned to Łódź in May 1945. Pinchas could not bear to remain in the place where so much destruction had occurred and he left for Germany, and then settled in France.
    Artwork Title
    Stage Set Design with Menorah and Synagogue Doors
    creation:  1940-1941
    creation: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Judith M. Shaar
    Subject: Pinchas S. Shaar
    Artist: Pinchas S. Shaar
    Artist Pinchas Shaar (1923‐1996) was born Pinchas Szwarc in 1923 in Łódź to carpenter and lumberyard owner Jakub Szwarc (1892‐?) and Chaja Fajga Szwarc (nee Zychlinska, 1892‐?). He had two brothers, Josef and Lajb, and a sister, Ester Ita. When Germany invaded Poland, Pinchas escaped with his brothers and headed east to Soviet occupied Poland, but the three returned to the Łódź ghetto to protect their family. Pinchas worked in a factory, for the health department, and for the statistical office. When the Germans liquidated the ghetto in 1944, Pinchas, his brothers, and his father were selected for transport to Koenigs Wusterhausen, a sub camp of Sachenshausen. Pinchas was then sent to either the Kelterborn & Stenvers factory or the Stenvers labor camp. The camp was liberated by Soviet forces in 1945, and Pinchas and his family were reunited and returned to Łódź in May. They learned that his sister and her child had been killed in a concentration camp. Pinchas chose to leave Poland and was hospitalized at a sanatorium in Gauting, Germany, where he credits a nurse with reviving his interest in art and in life by bringing him art supplies. Pinchas left the sanatorium for Munich and then for Paris in 1947, where he continued to develop his artistic vision. He joined his family in Israel in 1953 and then moved to New York in 1975.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Multi-colored drawing in pastel and paint on rectangular, black paper attached to light brown tissue-like paper backing. In the image on the left is an arched doorway in blue and pink pastel, with 4 stairs below. A pedestal sits to the left with a gold Menorah on top. A light gray shadow extends from the doorway towards the foreground. On the right is a raised platform with a brick facade with a lit lantern hanging to the left of decorated double doors. Above and in the center of each door is a white Star of David; on the bottom of each is a white fleur-de-lis. In the front of the door is a step, which wraps around the corner. A white wavy line decorates the bottom border.
    overall: Height: 16.000 inches (40.64 cm) | Width: 20.125 inches (51.118 cm)
    pictorial area: Height: 9.875 inches (25.083 cm) | Width: 12.875 inches (32.703 cm)
    overall : paper, construction paper, pastels, paint, graphite, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Judith M. Shaar, the widow of Pinchas Shaar.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:28:57
    This page:

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