Auschwitz anniversary: The survivor who brought the Holocaust to life


Auschwitz anniversary: The survivor who brought the Holocaust to life

.Thomas Geve’s picture entitled “We are ‘Organising'”, showing prisoners using poles to try to gather food from hard-to-reach places in Auschwitz

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In the Spring of 1945 a teenager called Thomas Geve had a remarkable story to tell.

He had survived for two years in the death camps at the heart of the Nazi Holocaust – Auschwitz first, then the westward forced march as the Germans retreated from the Russian advance, and finally Buchenwald.

His mother died in Auschwitz but his father, who had been separated from the family in the chaotic months as Europe slid into war in 1939, had survived in England.

So Thomas – newly liberated – took a box of coloured pencil stumps and began to draw.

He created 82 simple pictures that told the story of what life and death in the camps had been like.

Thomas Geve (b. 1929), Disinfection, Buchenwald DP camp, 1945, Pencil, coloured pencil and watercolour on paper, 10X15 cm, Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem, Gift of the artist Thomas Geve survived two years in Auschwitz. Here he depicts how prisoners were disinfected in the camp.
Thomas Geve (b. 1929), We are Thoroughly Inspected, Buchenwald DP camp, 1945, Pencil, coloured pencil and watercolour on paper, 10X15 cm, Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem, Gift of the artist In this picture, prisoners in Auschwitz are shown undergoing inspection by camp guards.
Thomas Geve (Stefan Cohn) (b. 1929), We Are Free, Buchenwald DP camp, 1945, Pencil, coloured pencil and watercolour on paper, 10X15 cm, Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem, Gift of the artistAfter Auschwitz, Thomas was interned in Buchenwald until its liberation by US soldiers, as depicted here

The style is simple and childish – like a kind of dystopian LS Lowry – but the pictures were created while the hellish life of the camps was still fresh in his mind.

With his mother killed, Thomas wanted to tell his father about life in the camps; we will never know what it must have been like for his father to know that his teenage son had lived through the nightmare of the Holocaust when he himself had not.

Thomas knew and understood a world of gas chambers and crematoria, of brutal SS officers and Jewish “kapos” recruited to serve under them, a world of roll calls that stretched on for hours in the freezing mud, of prisoners beaten or starved or gassed to death, of people abandoning all hope before finally losing the will to live….

 

read morehttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30947758#

 

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