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Charcoal and watercolor sketch of six Orthodox Jewish males

Object | Accession Number: 2013.443.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Watercolor sketch called Pozsony, Hungarian for Bratislava, Slovakia, of 6 Orthodox Jewish males created by Magda Frank, a professional sculpture, at an unknown date. Magda, 30, a native of Kolozsvar, Hungary (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania) was in Budapest attending art school when it was occupied by Nazi Germany in March 1944. Magda was relocated to a yellow star building and, in November, confined to the Jewish ghetto. In early 1945, Budapest was liberated by Soviet forces. In 1950, Magda emigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to join her only surviving relative, a brother Stefan.
    Artwork Title
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    front, lower left corner, charcoal : FRANK / MAGDA
    Artist: Magda Frank
    Subject: Magda Frank
    Magdalena (Magda) Fischer was born on July 20, 1914, in Kolozsvar, Hungary (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania), to a Jewish couple, Rudolf and Gisella Widder Fischer. Magda had two brothers: Bela, born in 1920, and Stefan, born on December 18, 1922. Her father Rudolf was born in 1896 in Betlen, Transylvania (Beclean, Romania). He was a furniture manufacturer. Magda’s mother Gisella was born in 1892 in Miskolc, Hungary. In 1920, Kolozsvar and the surrounding region of Transylvania became part of Romania as a result of the treaty that formally ended World War I (1914-1918). Magda moved to Budapest, Hungary, to attend art school. In 1938, Magda married Ladislao Frank in Budapest.

    Hungary was governed by a fascist regime, allied with Nazi Germany, with anti-Semitic laws modeled on the Nuremberg Laws. In 1940, Magda’s hometown Kolozsvar, along with the rest of northern Transylvania, was returned to Hungary. In March 1944, Germany invaded Hungary and severely restricted Jewish life and began systematic deportations. In June, Magda was confined in a Judenhaus, a building designated for Jews and marked with a yellow Star of David. In November, Magda was forced into the closed ghetto. On January 18, 1945, Magda, in the Pest section, was liberated by Soviet forces. The Soviets liberated the rest of the city on February 13. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7.

    Magda continued her education in Budapest at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts from 1945 to 1946 and the College of Arts from 1947 to 1948. In 1948, Magda was divorced because Ladislao forced her to choose between him and her art. Magda left Budapest and spent five months in Vienna, Austria, and one week in Linz displaced persons camp. She went to Zurich, then to Paris. Magda studied at the Academie Julian in 1949. On January 30, 1950, Magda sailed from Marseille, France, to Argentina on the SS Campana. She went to Buenos Aires to join her brother Stefan, her only surviving relative. Stefan was arrested in Kolozsvar in August 1943 and was a forced laborer in Nagybanya, Hungary. He was liberated by Soviet forces on a forced march in November 1944. Magda’s parents Rudolf and Gisella were forced into the Kolozsvar ghetto in May 1944. They were sent to Auschwitz in June and killed. Her brother Bela was killed at a forced labor camp in Bor, Yugoslavia. Magda lived in Buenos Aires and Paris, working as a sculptor. She exhibited sculptures in France, Budapest, and Buenos Aires. In 1964, Magda created a sculpture in the memory of her brother Bela. In 1995, Magda returned to Buenos Aires to live with her brother Stefan, who had changed his name to Esteban. She opened a house museum displaying her sculptures in Saavedra, Buenos Aires. Magda’s brother Esteban died in 2008. Magda, age 95, died on June 23, 2010, in Buenos Aires.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Charcoal sketch in a nearly abstract style with watercolor wash on paper depicting 6 Orthodox Jewish men outlined in thick black strokes with indistinct facial features, standing in a staggered row. They are bearded and wear long coats and wide brimmed hats or skullcaps, called kippahs. The first man carries a long scroll, likely a Torah scroll, upon his right shoulder. The other men carry sacks in their right hands and 2 men wear yellow Star of David patches. A partial building is sketched in the back left corner. The work is washed with blue, pink, purple, green, gray, and yellow watercolor. It is signed and inscribed with a title.
    overall: Height: 7.750 inches (19.685 cm) | Width: 10.500 inches (26.67 cm)
    overall : paper, charcoal, watercolor
    front, upper right corner, charcoal : POZSONY [Hungarian name for Bratislava]

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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The watercolor drawing was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013.
    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:
    2023-07-10 11:14:53
    This page:

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