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Allegorical, autobiographical drawing of a train transport to Auschwitz created by Alfred Glück in Hasenhecke DP camp

Object | Accession Number: 1993.59.6

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    Allegorical, autobiographical drawing of a train transport to Auschwitz created by Alfred Glück in Hasenhecke DP camp

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Charcoal drawing created by Alfred Glück in 1945-46 in the Hackensecke displaced persons camp in Germany. While at the Bergen Belsen DP camp, Alfred was encouraged by a Czech officer working for UNRRA to make drawings depicting the things he had witnessed during the war. In 1939, eighteen year old Alfred had left Vienna after the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in March 1938. He went to Germany to receive agricultural training at a Hechalutz hachshara in preparation for emigration to Palestine. In 1940, he was sent with other group members to Denmark to work as an agricultural laborer on Danish farms. In 1943, he joined a Hechalutz cell, Der Neue Weg, which had a plan to emigrate illegally to Palestine. The young men stowed away on freight railcars leaving Denmark for Turkey. Alfred was caught by the Germans on the Swiss-German border and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Jaworno subcamp. In early 1945, he underwent two death marches, first to Buchenwald, and then to Bissengen, where he was freed by French soldiers. He settled briefly in Hamburg, then went to the UNRRA displaced persons camp in Bergen Belsen. In 1946, Alfred emigrated to Palestine. The drawing was given to Mordecai E. Schwartz, a former US Army soldier, who served as the Area Director for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) from 1945-1948, when UNRRA was deactivated.
    Date
    creation:  after 1945 May-1946
    Geography
    creation: Hasenhecke (Displaced persons camp); Kassel (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Mordecai E. Schwartz
    Signature
    front, lower right corner, charcoal : Alfred Glück / 123201
    Contributor
    Artist: Alfred Glück
    Subject: Alfred Glück
    Subject: Mordecai E. Schwartz
    Biography
    Alfred Glück was born in 1921 in Vienna, Austria, to a Jewish family. Following the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in March 1938, Alfred left for a hachsharah of Hachsharah of Hechalutz in Guringshoff, Germany, to obtain agricultural training in preparation for his eventual emigration to Palestine. In 1940, the organization sent him to Denmark under a special agreement with the Danish government allowing young German Jews to come as agricultural workers to work for Danish farmers. In 1943, Alfred joined a small group of Hechalutz, Der Neue Weg, which planned to illegally travel to Palestine by way of Turkey. The plan called for the youngsters to hide under train cars transporting goods from Denmark to Turkey. Alfred was captured by the Germans on the border between Switzerland and Germany. He was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp and assigned to subcamp Jaworzno. In 1945, the inmates are forced on a death march to Buchenwald, where Alfred meets a group of Danish police officers incarcerated there. They shared the extra food rations they receive at camp as well as the care packages they get from the Danish government. Alfred underwent another death march to Bissingen, where he was liberated by a group of French soldiers. After liberation, Alfred settled in Hamburg, where he made a living painting portraits. He then moved to Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp administered by the United Nations Refugee and Relief Organization (UNRRA). While there, he met a Czech officer employed by UNRRA who encouraged him to draw what he remembered from the camps after she spotted his artistic talent. She brought him an album and drawing materials. The album was left with the officer after Alfred departed for Palestine via Belgium and Marseilles in 1946, and was eventually donated to Yad Vashem. Alfred, age 86, died in Israel in 2007.
    Mordecai E. Schwartz had a college degree in business adminstration and was fluent in six languages when he enlisted in the United States Army in 1942. After the war ended in May 1945, he was stationed in Munich, Germany, and was recruited by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). He requested and was granted a European discharge from the US Army and became the Area Director for UNRRA in the US Zone in Germany from 1945 to 1948. Upon the deactivation of UNRRA in 1948, he was transferred and made Area Director for the International Refugee Organization (IRO), supervising twenty-eight displaced persons camps in Germany. The displaced persons camps were set up to house and feed, and to provide medical service, and legal protection for survivors of the concentration and slave labor camps, and to offer them the chance to reestablish their lives postwar. When IRO was deactivated in 1951, Mordecai was recruited by US Air Force Intelligence in Munich and served in their worldwide operations until his retirement with highest honors.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Art
    Category
    Drawings
    Object Type
    War in art (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Charcoal drawing with an image of a skeleton superimposed and running alongside a train of cattle cars. The last car is padlocked and marked "Paris-/Auschwitz." Two faces peer out the single, rear. right window. The artist's signature is inscribed in charcoal in the lower right corner.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 10.000 inches (25.4 cm) | Width: 14.250 inches (36.195 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, charcoal, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The charcoal drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993 by Mordecai Schwartz.
    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:
    2023-08-23 10:27:00
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn8301

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