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Double sided pencil sketch of men inside the barracks drawn by Ossip Lubitch in Drancy internment camp

Object | Accession Number: 2004.386.9

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    Brief Narrative
    Double sided pencil drawing of a group of men and an indvidual portrait created by Ossip Lubitch while he was imprisoned from July-August 1944 in Drancy internment camp. He dug ditches during the day and sketched scenes of camp life in the barracks after work. Ossip was a professional artist, originally from Russia, who had moved to Paris in the early 1920s. The city was occupied by Nazi Germany after the June 1940 French-German armistice. Jews were ordered to register with the police, but Ossip did not comply. In July 1944, he was denounced by his neighbors as a friend to Jews. He was arrested, and sent to Drancy. One day in August, the German guards fled because Allied forces were in the region. Ossip walked back to Paris which was liberated by US troops on August 25.
    Artwork Title
    Two men seated
    creation:  1944 July-1944 August
    depiction:  1944 July-1944 August
    creation: Drancy (Concentration camp); Drancy (France)
    depiction: Drancy (Concentration camp); Drancy (France)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    front, cursive, lower right corner, pencil: Lubitch
    Artist: Ossip Lubitch
    Subject: Ossip Lubitch
    Ossip Lubitch was born in Grodno, Russia (Hrodna, Belarus) in 1896. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Odessa from 1915-1919. He moved to Berlin, Germany, in 1920 and joined a group of Russian artists, including Pavel Tchelitchew and Lazare Meerson, designing film and stage sets. In 1923, he obtained a contract to decorate a cabaret in the Montmartre district of Paris. He set up a studio in Montparnasse and immersed himself in the study of the masters, such as Rembrandt, Goya, and Degas, and focused on the art of drawing. Ossip became known as a member of the School of Paris. In 1925, he was accepted into the Salon des Tuileries by Antoine Bourdelle. Cirque, an album of ten aquatints and etchings was published with a prefatory poem by Georges Roualt.

    In May 1940, France was invaded by Nazi Germany. France capitulated in June and the northern region, including Paris, was under German occupation. Jews were ordered to register with the German authorities, but Ossip did not comply. In July 1944, he was denounced by his neighbors because they wanted the studio space. They did not report him as a Jew, but as a friend of Jews. He was arrested and held all day in a jail where he could hear other prisoners being tortured as their interrogators sang a nursery rhyme: Il court, il court, le petit furet (He run, he runs, the ferret.) He told the police that he was a Jew and was sent to Drancy internment camp. He had stuffed some paper and a pencil in his pant pockets before he was taken from his studio and he began sketching the daily life of internees at the camp. He worked digging ditches during the day and sketched at night in the barracks.

    Ossip walked out of Drancy in mid-August 1944 when the German soldiers guarding the camp fled due to the approach of Allied Forces. Ossip returned to his studio in Paris which the concierge had prevented anyone from entering. Paris was liberated on August 25. Not long after that, he married a young painter named Suzanne Bouldoire, born 1926. They had a daughter in 1950. Ossip, 94, died in 1990.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Pencil drawing (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    White paper with pencil drawings on both sides. On the front is an image of 2 seated men, 1 on a bed and the other at a table. On the reverse is a study of a man without a shirt leaning forward, viewed from behind. The artist's signature is in the front lower right corner.
    overall: Height: 5.375 inches (13.653 cm) | Width: 8.250 inches (20.955 cm)
    overall : paper, graphite

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    Drancy (Internament camp)

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004.
    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:
    2023-06-21 11:46:03
    This page:

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