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Drawing of Freddy Johnson by Josef Nassy

Object | Accession Number: 1991.245.176

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    Drawing of Freddy Johnson by Josef Nassy


    Brief Narrative
    The drawing was created by Josef Nassy and depicts Freddy Johnson, an African-American jazz musician, playing piano while both men were held in Tittmoning internment camp in Germany, between 1942 and 1944.
    creation:  1942 January-1944 February
    creation: Ilag VII (Concentration camp); Tittmoning (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Severin Wunderman Family
    lower right, "Nassy"
    Artist: Josef Nassy
    Subject: Josef Nassy
    Josef Nassy was born in 1904 in Paramaribo, Suriname (the Dutch Guiana.) He was the seventh of nine children. His father Adolf was a prosperous businessman and member of Parliament. He was a descendant of Jews who fled Spain during the Inquisition, and spoke Yiddish, but was not religious. Josef was also of African descent. In 1919, Josef joined his father, in New York. He had taken art classes since a child, and now attended the Pratt Institute. He received a degree in industrial electrical engineering and worked in London and Paris installing movie theatre sound systems. In 1938, he attended the Academie des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Belgium, to study painting. Nassy was earning a living as a portrait artist when World War II began. In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Belgium. Josef was arrested in April 1942 as an enemy national, as he had an American passport. Nassy was held in Beverloo transit camp in Leopoldsburg, Belgium, before being transferred to Laufen internment camp and its subcamp Tittmoning. While imprisoned, Nassy was supplied with art materials by the International YMCA. He created more than 200 paintings and drawings chronicling the people and the appearance of the camp, with works featuring the barbed wire, watch towers, and prison bars. The United States Army liberated Laufen internment camp on May 5, 1945. Nassy passed away in 1976.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Drawing (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Image of a man, Freddy Johnson, playing piano with another man observing at right.
    overall: Height: 8.460 inches (21.488 cm) | Width: 10.980 inches (27.889 cm)
    overall : wove paper, graphite

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1991 by the Severin Wunderman Family.
    Record last modified:
    2024-03-15 16:04:59
    This page:

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