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Plate 53, Herbert Sandberg series, Der Weg: young boy in prison uniform with helping hands

Object | Accession Number: 1988.12.53

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    Plate 53, Herbert Sandberg series, Der Weg: young boy in prison uniform with helping hands

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    prion
    Artwork Title
    Das Buchenwaldkind
    Alternate Title
    Buchenwald Child
    Series Title
    Der Weg 70 Aquatinta-Radierungen
    Date
    creation:  1958
    Geography
    creation: Berlin (Germany : East)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    Markings
    front, bottom left, cursive, ink : Das Bůchenwaldkind [The Buchenwald child]
    Signature
    front, bottom right, ink : H Sandberg 58
    Contributor
    Artist: Herbert Sandberg
    Subject: Herbert Sandberg
    Biography
    Herbert Sandberg was born on April 14, 1908, in Posen, Germany, (later Poznan, Poland) to an Orthodox Jewish couple, Eva and Salomon Sandberg. His father Salomon was a leather merchant. Shortly after his birth, the family move to Hindenberg, also in the Silesian/ Prussian region of Germany (later Zabrze, Poland). When Herbert was a teenager, they moved to Breslau, (later Wroclaw, Poland) where he attended high school. After graduation, he briefly attended trade school, and worked in a bank, but then pursued an art education, which led to a break with his father who did not approve. Between 1925 and 1928, Herbert attended a local Arts and Crafts School in Breslau, and studied with Otto Müller at Breslau's Academy of Fine Arts. He also began working as an illustrator and newspaper cartoonist. In 1927, Herbert began his association with Bertolt Brecht after he was hired by the Breslau Volksbühnenzeitschrift, a theatre magazine, to draw a portrait of Brecht in his Berlin studio. In 1928, Herbert's father immigrated to Palestine, where his wife and daughters joined him in 1930. In 1928, Herbert moved to Berlin where he worked for major newspapers, such as Berliner Tageblatt. He joined the Revolutionary German Artists' Association (ASSO). In 1930, he became a member of the Communist Party, for which he created and distributed leaflets, posters, and other graphic materials. In January 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. After the Reichstag Fire in February, civil rights were suspended. Germany became a police state and those who opposed the government were persecuted. In 1934, Sandberg was arrested for distributing anti-Nazi literature and imprisoned in Berlin-Plotzensee Prison. He was convicted of treason and sent to Brandenburg-Gorden Prison.

    On July 21, 1938, Sandberg was transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp. He was prisoner number 3491 and identified as both a Jewish prisoner and a political prisoner. He was removed from a 1943 deportation transport to Auschwitz because of his training as a stone mason. Wilhelm Hammer, a teacher incarcerated at the camp, had persuaded the German SS authorities to allow him to establish a formal training program to teach prisoners stone masonry. The SS operated several business enterprises at the camp, including a stone quarry. Sandberg never admitted to being an artist, but he was registered as a skilled stone mason and was kept at Buchenwald to assist this program. In 1944, Sandberg fell ill and was hospitalized. While in the infirmary, he created his first artworks since his imprisonment. The cycle, called Eine Freundschaft [This Picture Diary], was smuggled out of the camp.

    Buchenwald was liberated on June 12, 1945, by American forces. Sandberg returned to Berlin, which in 1949 became part of the newly established Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), known as East Germany, Sandberg retrieved his prison artwork which was incorporated into a work published in 1949 in Berlin, East Germany. In 1959, Sandberg was commissioned by the Buchenwald Committee for the Buchenwald Museum to take the original fragile drawings from Buchenwald concentration camp as well as newly created works and create a limited edition aquatint etching folio. The series, Der Weg [The Path], was completed between 1958 and 1965, in an edition of 25-30, after which the plates were destroyed. An inexpensive book of the prints was published in 1966. Sandberg, 73, died on March 18, 1991, in Berlin.

    Physical Details

    Language
    German
    Classification
    Art
    Category
    Prints
    Physical Description
    Aquatint etching on wove paper of a young, frail boy wearing a white shirt and striped prisoner’s paints with suspenders. He looks up and left with upturned eyebrows and a sad, anxious expression. He stands with his legs apart, right hand raised, left crossed over his chest. Four disembodied hands reach out of the black background offering objects to the boy: a cup, a sandwich, a striped hat, and a small jacket. This plate is number 53 in a cycle of 70, Der Weg.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 13.750 inches (34.925 cm) | Width: 21.500 inches (54.61 cm)
    pictorial area: Height: 7.750 inches (19.685 cm) | Width: 9.625 inches (24.448 cm)
    Materials
    overall : wove paper, ink
    Inscription
    front, bottom left corner, ink : 53

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The aquatint was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1988.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:29:33
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn521239

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