Why did John Lennon submit Hitler as one of his selections to appear on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Album? It may have been the same reason that TIME MAGAZINE picked Hitler as the MAN OF THE YEAR in 1938 and that is they thought Hitler’s presence should not be ignored. 

Francis Schaeffer holding up Sgt. Pepper’s Album.


The Beatles Dont Let Me Down Rooftop Concert 1969

The Beatles documentary || A Long and Winding Road || Episode 1

A square quartered into four head shots of young men with moptop haircuts. All four wear white shirts and dark coats.

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr in 1966

The Beatles documentary || A Long and Winding Road || Episode 3

Revolver album cover

The Beatles Get Back Rooftop Concert, 1969 360p

Hitler’s Photos, and Letter from John Lennon at Auction

Peace or war, Hitler or Christ is the choice we all face. John Lennon & Yoko Ono


Hitler pictured below

Why did John Lennon submit the name Adolf Hitler as one of his selections to appear on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album? 3000 years ago King Solomon may have given us a hint at why Lennon was willing to put Hitler on the cover. The simple reason was that Hitler was the most powerful man of the 20th century and Lennon thought Hitler’s presence should not be ignored. This is the same reason that Hitler was chosen by TIME MAGAZINE in 1938 as the MAN OF THE YEAR. As German Chancellor, Hitler oversaw the unification of Germany with Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938, after the Anschluss and Munich Agreement respectively. Solomon noted that evil people like Hitler have always used power to hurt those that were powerless to do anything about it.

Ecclesiastes 4 1-3 Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead instead of the living who are still alive. But luckier than the dead or the living is the person who has never even been, who has never seen the bad business that takes place on this earth.

John Lennon recognized that Hitler had lived by the motto MIGHT MAKES RIGHT, but Lennon did not have an understanding of the Biblical Fall in Genesis 3 and the fact that the world was not always this way until sin entered in.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Francis Schaeffer asserted in the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 7:

There is one man who well understood the logical conclusion of the deification of nature, Marquis de Sade. “If nature is all then ‘what is’ is right and nothing more can be said….As nature has made us (the men) the strongest we can do with her (the woman) whatever we please.” The inevitable result was his cruelty to women. Thus there was no basis for either morals or law.
Let me dwell for a moment on the Dutch Reformation Painters who so rejoice fully painted the simple things of life. They knew that nature was created by a personal and a good God, but they also knew because of the fall, man’s revolt against God, that nature as it is now is abnormal. That is a very different thing than taking nature as it is now and making it the measure of goodness because when this is done there is no difference between cruelty and non-cruelty.

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small

John Lennon was an atheist and he embraced the humanist worldview. However, atheists do not believe in an afterlife. So what do they say happens to people such as Hitler after death? Do they get off without being punished fully for their actions? It seems to me that without an enforcement factor people can do what they want in this life and get away with it. This is a big glaring weakness in the Humanist Manifestos that have been published so far. All three of them do not recognize the existence of God who is our final judge. (I am not claiming that this is evidence that points to an afterlife, but this post will demonstrate that atheists many times have not thought through the full ramifications of their philosophy of life.)

I had the unique opportunity to discuss this very issue with Robert Lester Mondale and his wife Rosemary  on April 14, 1996 at his cabin in Fredricktown, Missouri , and my visit was very enjoyable and informative. Mr. Mondale had the distinction of being the only person to sign all three of the Humanist Manifestos in 1933, 1973 and 2003. I asked him which signers of Humanist Manifesto Number One did he know well and he said that Raymond B. Bragg, and Edwin H. Wilson  and him were known as “the three young radicals of the group.”  Harold P. Marley used to have a cabin near his and they used to take long walks together, but Marley’s wife got a job in Hot Springs, Arkansas and they moved down there.

Roy Wood Sellars was a popular professor of philosophy that he knew. I asked if he knew John Dewey and he said he did not, but Dewey did contact him one time to ask him some questions about an article he had written, but Mondale could not recall anything else about that. 

Mondale told me some stories about his neighbors and we got to talking about some of his church members when he was an Unitarian pastor. Once during the 1930’s he was told by one of his wealthier Jewish members that he shouldn’t continue to be critical of the Nazis. This member had just come back from Germany and according to him Hitler had done a great job of getting the economy moving and things were good.

Of course, just a few years later after World War II was over Mondale discovered on a second hand basis what exactly had happened over there when he visited with a Lutheran pastor friend who had just returned from Germany. This Lutheran preacher was one of the first to be allowed in after the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945, and he told Mondale what level of devastation and destruction of  innocent lives went on inside these camps. As Mondale listened to his friend he could feel his own face turning pale.

I asked, “If those Nazis escaped to Brazil or Argentina and lived out their lives in peace would they face judgment after they died?”

Mondale responded, “I don’t think there is anything after death.”

I told Mr. Mondale that there is sense in me that says  justice will be given eventually and God will judge those Nazis even if they evade punishment here on earth. I did point out that in Ecclesiastes 4:1 Solomon did note that without God in the picture  the scales may not be balanced in this life and power could reign, but at the same time the Bible teaches that all  must face the ultimate Judge.

Then I asked him if he got to watch the O.J. Simpson trial and he said that he did and he thought that the prosecution had plenty of evidence too. Again I asked Mr. Mondale the same question concerning O.J. and he responded, “I don’t think there is a God that will intervene and I don’t believe in the afterlife.”

Adrian Rogers shared this story below:

I was in Israel, I was a guest, there, of the Israeli government. They gave me the best guide that they had in Israel. And, that man in Israel—I’ll not call his name, because, thank God, I believe he listens to this program; and, I’m grateful he does, because I’m still trying to witness to him—but this man—a brilliant man, the curator of the Rockefeller Museum there—became a friend. We sat up, one night, late, talking. I said, “Sir, do you believe in God?” He said, “No, I do not.” I said, “Why don’t you believe—why don’t you believe—in God?” He said, “The Holocaust. What kind of a God would allow that to happen?” That deals with the message I preached this morning.

Because of the Holocaust. I said, “Then Hitler has caused you not to believe in God?” He said, “Yes, I detest Hitler.” I said, “Well, you’re on the same side as Hitler. Hitler didn’t believe in God, as such; you don’t believe in God. Hitler believed in evolution; you believe in evolution. Evolution is the survival of the fittest; you believe in the survival of the fittest. And, Hitler had his gas ovens, because he thought that the Aryan race was superior to your people, sir. You’ve become very much like the thing that you fight.” It’s only a short step from believing in evolution to the gas ovens, or whatever.

Dan Guinn posted on his blog at concerning the Nazis and evolution: As Schaeffer points out, “…these ideas helped produce an even more far-reaching yet logical conclusion: the Nazi movement in Germany. Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945), leader of the Gestapo, stated that the law of nature must take its course in the survival of the fittest. The result was the gas chambers. Hitler stated numerous times that Christianity and its notion of charity should be “replaced by the ethic of strength over weakness.” Surely many factors were involved in the rise of National Socialism in Germany. For example, the Christian consensus had largely been lost by the undermining from a rationalistic philosophy and a romantic pantheism on the secular side, and a liberal theology (which was an adoption of rationalism in theological terminology) in the universities and many of the churches. Thus biblical Christianity was no longer giving the consensus for German society. After World War I came political and economic chaos and a flood of moral permissiveness in Germany. Thus, many factors created the situation. But in that setting the theory of the survival of the fittest sanctioned what occurred. ” 

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , was on this very subject of the Nazis that Lester Mondale and I discussed on that day in 1996 at Mondale’s cabin in Missouri.  In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah’s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie and continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life. CAN A MATERIALIST OR A HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN AN AFTERLIFE GIVE JUDAH ONE REASON WHY HE SHOULDN’T HAVE HIS MISTRESS KILLED?

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

On the April 13, 2014 episode of THE GOOD WIFE called “The Materialist,” Alicia in a custody case asks the father Professor Mercer some questions about his own academic publications. She reads from his book that he is a “materialist and he believes that “free-will is just an illusion,” and we are all just products of the physical world and that includes our thoughts and emotions and there is no basis for calling anything right or wrong. Sounds like to me the good professor would agree wholeheartedly with the humanist Abigail Ann Martin’s assertion concerning Hitler’s morality too! Jean-Paul Sartre noted, “No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point.”

Christians agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.

Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality, and  the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.

Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)

Josef Mengele tortured and murdered many Jews and then lived the rest of his long life out in South America in peace. Will he ever face judgment for his actions?

The ironic thing is that at the end of our visit I that pointed out to Mr. Mondale that Paul Kurtz had said  in light of the horrible events in World War II that Kurtz witnessed himself in the death camps (Kurtz entered a death camp as an U.S. Soldier to liberate it) that it was obvious that Humanist Manifesto I was way too optimistic and it was necessary to come up with another one.  I thought that might encourage  Mr. Mondale to comment further on our earlier conversion concerning evil deeds, but he just said, “That doesn’t surprise me that Kurtz would say something like that.”

I noticed in Wikipedia:

The second Humanist Manifesto was written in 1973 by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, and was intended to update the previous one. It begins with a statement that the excesses of Nazism and world war had made the first seem “far too optimistic”, and indicated a more hardheaded and realistic approach in its seventeen-point statement, which was much longer and more elaborate than the previous version. Nevertheless, much of the unbridled optimism of the first remained, with hopes stated that war would become obsolete and poverty would be eliminated.

Rev Robert L “Lester” Mondale (1904 – 2003)

(Also surviving Lester Mondale are his three brothers: Walter Mondale, former vice president of the United States, Pete Mondale, and Morton Mondale.)

Hitler Did Not Make The Final Cut On The Beatles “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” Album Cover

The cover of The Beatles ”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” features John Lennon,Paul McCartney, George Harrison and RIngo Starr in front of a collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people and some of their hero’s.  Most of the suggestions came from LennonMcCartney and Harrison.  Harrison opted for a number of Indian gurus to reflect his spiritual leanings while Lennon’s list, thought to be half-joking, included JesusHitler and Gandhi.
Sir Peter Blake who designed the set said,

“Hitler and Jesus were the controversial ones, and after what John said about Jesus we decided not to go ahead with him – but we did make up the image of Hitler. If you look at photographs of the out-takes, you can see the Hitler image in the studio. With the crowd behind there was an element of chance about who you can and cannot see, and we weren’t quite sure who would be covered in the final shot. Hitler was in fact covered up behind the band.”

Here is a photo of the Hitler cut-out on the stage before it was wisely removed and pushed over to the side…


Where’s Adolf? The mystery of Sgt Pepper is solved

Lennon’s choice for album sleeve led to one of rock’s greatest cover-ups

The scene has become one of the world’s most imitated, iconic and widely owned artworks. Since its creation 40 years ago next month, the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album has sparked debate about the cultural heroes who were picked or excluded for the final cut.

For generations it has been accepted that John Lennon’s wish to place Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi on the cover was ruled out because of the upset their inclusion would cause. But now the artist who created it, Sir Peter Blake, has revealed for the first time that Hitler did make the final line-up for the sleeve, but was simply obscured by the Fab Four.

Sir Peter told The Independent On Sunday: “Yes he is on there – you just can’t see him.”

The record, bought by around 32 million people since it was released in “the summer of love”, features a crowd of some of the most famous faces of the previous century, including Stan Laurel, Bob Dylan and Marlon Brando.

Each of the band members chose their favourites, with George Harrison opting for a number of Indian gurus to reflect his spiritual leanings, and Ringo Starr happy to go along with the others’ choices.

Lennon’s list, thought to be half-joking, included Jesus, Hitler and Gandhi. However, following his infamous comment the previous year, 1966, that the band was “bigger than Jesus”, it was thought best not to even commission a cardboard cut-out of Christ for the collage. Gandhi was included but edited from the final image, and Hitler has long been thought to have been pushed to the edge of the studio on the grounds of taste.

But Sir Peter said: “Hitler and Jesus were the controversial ones, and after what John said about Jesus we decided not to go ahead with him – but we did make up the image of Hitler. If you look at photographs of the out-takes, you can see the Hitler image in the studio. With the crowd behind there was an element of chance about who you can and cannot see, and we weren’t quite sure who would be covered in the final shot. Hitler was in fact covered up behind the band.”

Sir Peter has just healed a rift with the Beatles’ company Apple that had threatened a planned retrospective of all the record covers he has designed. They include albums by Paul Weller, Eric Clapton and Oasis.

Initially, Apple had refused to allow him to reproduce the Sgt Pepper image – he signed away the copyright when he was paid £200 for his work on the sleeve – but the firm has now relented. “I think they simply changed their minds. It does seem we are on a happier footing now,” Sir Peter said.

September 19, 2011

By Elvis Costello

My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .

Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.



the beatles 100 greatest songs
Tom Hanley/Redferns

Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: April 14 and 16, 1966
Released: May 30, 1966
7 weeks; no. 23 (B side)

“Rain” is a Lennon song about nothing much — “People moaning because . . . they don’t like the weather,” he said. But the song, released months before Revolver as the B side to “Paperback Writer,” was the Beatles’ first public attempt to capture the LSD experience on record. They did it by infusing the track with tantalizing sounds — melting-chant harmonies, the brusque, leadlike flair of McCartney’s bass, Starr’s disorienting drum fills — and the promise of a realm beyond the usual senses. “I can show you,” Lennon sings, “can you hear me?” — as if he’s already got a head start. The most surreal effect was an accident: While stoned, Lennon threaded a rough mix the wrong way on his home tape recorder. He was thrilled with the backward vocals he heard — so thrilled he demanded the sound be used on the song’s fade-out. “From that point on,” engineer Geoff Emerick wrote, “almost every overdub we did on Revolver had to be tried backwards as well as forwards.”

Appears On: Past Masters


‘Love Me Do’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Writers: McCartney-Lennon
Recorded: September 11, 1962
Released: April 27, 1964
14 weeks; No. 1

The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do,” was also one of the first songs Lennon and McCartney wrote together. They were just teenagers in 1958, scribbling songs in a school notebook, dreaming of stardom, always writing “Another Lennon-McCartney Original” at the top of the page. “Love Me Do” became their debut U.K. single in October 1962, with “P.S. I Love You” as the B side. It hit the charts and reached Number 17 — not bad for a band of scruffy Liverpool lads. But when released in the U.S. with Beatlemania in full effect, it hit Number One.

The Beatles first cut the song during their audition for George Martin, with drummer Pete Best. Martin made them redo it with replacement Ringo Starr and again with a hired session drummer, when Martin demoted Starr to tambourine. “He’s never forgiven me for it,” Martin said, laughing. “I do apologize to him publicly.” But it was Martin’s idea to have Lennon add a harmonica solo. As Mc­Cartney recalled, “John expected to be in jail one day and he’d be the guy who played the harmonica.”

Appears On: Past Masters and Please Please Me

Artist featured today is Peter Kien


F.P.Kien. Portrait of František Jiroudek, circa 1937-1939

Peter Kien

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Peter Kien (born Varnsdorf, Czechoslovakia, 1 January 1919, died Auschwitz, October 1944) was a Jewish artist and poet active at the Theresienstadt concentration camp.[1][2] He died at the age of twenty-five.

His education[edit]

The name of Franz Peter Kien, a prominent figure among many outstanding artists imprisoned in the Terezín (Theresienstadt) ghetto during World War II, is usually associated with the opera The Emperor of Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann. In addition to the libretto of that opera, Kien left significant artwork, poetry, and plays.

Kien spent his first 10 years in Varnsdorf, an industrial town near the Czech-German border. During the financial crisis his family moved to Brno. In 1936, Kien graduated with honors from a German high school. The certificate contains special notes on his remarkable skills in writing and drawing. The same year, Kien enrolled in Prof. Willy Novak’s class at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and in the graphic design school Officina Pragensis under Prof. Hugo Steiner-Prag.

In 1939, after the racist laws were enforced, Kien was expelled from the Academy, but continued to work at the Officina Pragensis under Prof. Jaroslav Švab). He started to teach art at the Vinohrady synagogue. Married to Ilse Stranska in 1940, he tried to emigrate with his family.

In December 1941, Kien was deported to Terezin. Over a thousand drawings, sketches, designs and paintings originate from his pre-Terezin years. Consigned to the drafting room of the Technical Department in Terezin, Kien produced numerous portraits, landscapes, drawings and genre sketches. His artwork radiates light, hope and warmth. By contrast, his writings of this period are mostly tragic and hopeless.

In Terezin, Kien’s social satirical play Marionettes, staged by Gustav Schorsch. was performed 25 times. Gideon Klein set Kien’s poetic cycle Plague to music. His other plays written in the ghetto include Medea, Bad dream and On the Border. They found their way to the Wiener Library in London, but were never published and never performed.

On October 16, 1944, Kien was deported to Auschwitz with his parents and his wife in the final transport in October 1944. He died from disease soon after his arrival. None of the others survived.

His works[edit]

Between his arrival to Terezin in 1941 and his deportation to Auschwitz, Kien was officially the director of the Technical Drawing Office of the Jewish Self Administration. Using stolen paper, he sketched many depictions of living conditions in the Terezin ghetto. These works are among the most important works documenting that Terezin was a concentration camp rather than the model Jewish settlement the Nazis portrayed to outsiders. His works accurately reflect that its inhabitants were confined in inhuman conditions and treated severely.

Kien also wrote the libretto to Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis, a one-act chamber opera that was composed in and rehearsed in Terezin between 1943 and 1944 but never performed there. It was first performed in 1975 in Amsterdamand was recorded for Decca in Leipzig in 1990.[3] An English Touring Opera production was performed at the Royal Opera House in London and toured England in 2012.[3]


by Santiago Raigorodsky

Santiago Raigorodsky was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 1944, where he lived until 1975, when he moved to Brazil. There, he continued his artistic activity as a painter, working in many cities but especially in Rio de Janeiro and Curitiva. In 1982, he moved to Israel, in Kfar Saba, where he continued his artistic and also teaching activity. He currently lives in Barcelona. He is also the director of “Fine Arts – Jewish Artists” of the cultural association Tarbut Sefarad and author of countless art reviews and presentations of exhibitions of Jewish art.

Some time ago, I had the opportunity to see, in the La Pedrera building in Barcelona, a magnificent exhibition by Zoran Music, entitled “From Dachau to Venice”, that moved me deeply because of various reasons. I should confess my ignorance of Zoran Music’s existence, his works and personal history. I could see the abundance of the same motifs in many of his artworks, regardless of their excellence. As you would expect, many of his artworks were marked by the time he had spent incarcerated in the Dachau concentration camp. Terrible characters and scenes fill up his artworks and must have populated his life and remained engraved in his mind, as we can also learn from his writings. But Zoran Music, after passing through this terrible experience, was fortunate. He managed to stay alive and he lived to tell us of it, carrying on with his paintings. He chose to live in Venice, the place where he died a few years ago.

Nevertheless, the vision of his works brought to my mind several visits that I had made, in the past, to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem and also the Lohamei Hagetaot Museum, located in the kibbutz with the same name (Fighters of the Ghetto). This is the reason why I felt the need to write this article, also motivated by some talks with several colleagues on the impossibility to know all the painting, all the painters. What we can see and know is, indisputably, only the tip of a huge iceberg.

How many painters, even important ones, did not have the chance to be engraved in art history, how many painters, like this one, saw their life and work reaped apart by the most terrible plague that happened to humanity, which is the lack of humanity itself. Nazism was an enormous tragedy for the whole world and the terrible and tragic consequences of this black episode in history, meant, undoubtedly, the greatest draw back in the history of civilization. Millions of lives were lost, among which the lives of black people, of gypsies, homosexuals, of the mentally challenged, the physically discapacitated and also millions of Jewish lives, only for being so.

Felix Nussbaum: Skeletten 1944

With these few lines, I would like to rescue from oblivion several names of Jewish painters, who, in this case, were murdered in concentration camps.

Trio – Félix Nussbaum (1944)

We should go back to mid-1930’s of the last century, when the influence of Nazism in Europe first began to be noted. Paris, at that time, was the epicenter of the European artistic activity and the place where many painters, some of them Jewish, lived. In 1937, after the Nazis’ ascent to power, they organized, in a gallery of Munich, what they called a show of “degenerate art” that included some 650 works of avant-garde art by artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Chagall, Kokoschka, Klee, Feininger, Arp and many more. The majority of these paintings were subsequently sold in international auctions so as to finance the Nazi regime.

Even before that, in 1933, being Goebbels minister of illustration and propaganda, he gained control over all the written press, the radical media and especially over all cultural manifestations of any kind. Propaganda, lack of freedom and brutal repression constituted the best tools to affirm the total control of the Nazi regime. The libraries were cleaned of all that was considered “harmful” to the regime, avant-garde art, expressionism was declared “degenerate art” and they imposed a type of art derived from Greek-Roman classicism that exalted myths and Arian heroism above all. Thousands of scientists, intellectuals and artists, Jewish and non-Jewish had to exile themselves, trying to escape from the claws of Nazism. But many of them did not manage to save themselves. During those years, countless artworks were destroyed and many others got stolen by the Nazi high-ranks officials, many of them with a refined education and good aesthetical knowledge.

Nowadays, many European governments and international institutions are engaged in the attempt of restituting a great amount of the artworks stolen by the Nazis to their true owners. In a perfectly documented book, entitled “The Lost Museum” (Destino Publishing House, November 2004), the portoriquan investigator Hector Feliciano told, during a visit to Madrid: ”Hitler and Goering, as soon as they had captured Paris, set up a unity of artistic plunder, a team of 60 people with license to confiscate, catalogue artworks and photograph paintings, transport them in the best conditions, including restoration if necessary, and they did not even despise the degenerate art, prohibited in Germany. The Nazis stole 203 private collections, in which, aside from 100.000 artworks, many of them masterpieces, there were also half a million of furniture pieces and a million books”.

The history of crimes and deprivations of the Nazi regime is appalling and all of them are very well supported by tons of testimonials and documents proving it, despite all the negationists who try to bury or delegitimize the horrifying truth of those facts. The tragedy of so many human beings, among them, of so many artists, is only an episode of this terrible moment in history.

Peter Kien, Selfportrait, Theresienstadt Museum

A lesser known case is Theresienstadt. There, in the Checz city now called Terezin, some 60 km North of Prague, stood the concentration camp of Theresienstadt. In November 1941,

Adolphe (Aizik) Féder - 1943, Self-portait with Star of David

the Nazis built a walled ghetto where a great number of Jews were concentrated. Apart from the non-Jewish prisoners, they also imprisoned there Jews from Checoslovaquia, Germany, Austria, Holland, Denmark, Luxemburg, Hungary and many other countries. The twisted and evil mind of the Nazis inaugurated in Theresienstadt what was supposed to hide a huge operation of extermination of the Jews. Theresienstadt was meant to look like a “model Jewish colony” and they even recorded there a movie of propagandistic purposes, in an effort to show the world how well the regime treated the Jews. They explained that the Jews came to Theresienstadt voluntarily. The movie was called. “The Fürer offers a city to the Jews.” In June 1944, in the dying days of the regime, the Nazis allowed the visit of a delegation of the International Red Cross, for which, during a brief period, the life conditions improved. They installed cafés, nurseries, schools, even a bank, and certain cultural activity was allowed: conferences and study groups, a library and even opera and theatre.

Schleifer Savely, Still Life - 1941, Lohamei Haghetaot Museum

In fact, the Nazis had gathered there a great number of writers, intellectuals and artists and forced them to work in the technical and graphical department in order to exploit their knowledge for their own good and hide the reality of the regime. Many of the painters imprisoned and abused there and in other concentration camps, like Auschwitz, were able to face the hard and cruel reality thanks to the possibility of expressing themselves through art.

In some occasions, there were the Nazi officials themselves who, aware of their talent, asked them to make their and their families’ portraits. They worked on the sly, risking their lives.

Many of the works created in the concentration camp reached us in a variety of ways. In reality, the Nazis began to search for these works in order to destroy them and make sure that the truth could never be revealed, because the paintings and drawings testified of the reality of the camps. The artists, knowing of the search, used to hide their works in many parts of the ghetto. Fritta, one of them, hid his artwork in a metallic box underneath the earth, Ungar in a niche he dug in a wall, Haas in an attic.

Terezin 1942: Children's Deportation -- a drypoint etching by Leo Haas.

Leo Haas, Auschwitz

In Theresienstadt, a forth of the deportees (around 30.000) died (bear in mind that it was not an extermination camp), due to the harsh conditions, hunger and diseases. Towards the end of the war, some 88.000 persons were moved from there to Auschwitz and other extermination camps, where they were murdered.

Even at Auschwitz, between 1940 and 1945 thousands of artworks were created, and some 1500 of them are kept in the camp

Malva Schalek - 1942, Beit Lohamei Haghetaot

museum, in Poland. Numerous testimonials of the appalling reality of the concentration camps were documented in countless sketches and paintings made by Jewish painters. Many of them died in the gas chambers.

In an exhibition organized in Berlin, in 2005, the great amount of artworks of artists who had been prisoners of Auschwitz showed scenes depicting the realities of the life there. The recurring motifs were self-portraits and portraits of prisoners in the striped uniforms or with the distinctive Star of David, and also scenes for practical purposes, like how to avoid the louse propagation in the ghetto, or for instance, lines of people waiting to be deported (unaware that the final destination would be death), aspects of the streets of the ghetto, ill people, dying or dead.

However, they also painted landscapes of the surroundings, idealized by the mind of the artist, and even some paintings with a tone of humor, caricature characters or skies and mountains or funny scenes and writings. Such was the case of the Checz Peter Kien, whose works are exhibited in the Theresienstadt Museum.

Jacques Gotko – 1942, View of Front Stalag 1

In 1978, the Swiss collector Oscar Ghez del Castelnuovo donated 137 artworks to the University of Haifa, which had been created by 18

Deportation - 1942 - Julius Cohn (Turner)

painters who died in the Holocaust. This collection was a tribute to those artists and is part of the important archives that document the activity of those painters who belonged to what was called the Jewish School of Paris. This collection was exhibited in 2007, in the Hecht Museum of the University of Haifa. Naúm Arenson, from Latvia, Georges Ascher, born in Warsaw, Abraham Berline from Ukraine, Jacques Cytrynovich from Poland, Chaim Epstein from Poland, Shaul Feinsilber from Ukraine, Aizik Federfrom Ukraine, Jacques Gotko from Ukraine, Nathan Greunsweig from Poland, Karl Haber, also Polish , Joseph Hecht from Poland, Max Jacobfrom Great Britain, the Checz George Kars, Moshe Kogan from Bessarabia, Nathalie Kraemerfrom France, Roman Kramsztyk from Poland, Joachim Weingart and León Weissber from Galitzia, these are the names of the 18 artists who were part of that exhibition. They were all murdered by the Nazis between 1942 – 1944, in various extermination camps. Of course, I cannot note down all the names of the painters who were killed during those terrible years, however I would like to write a few more: Peter Kien, who died in Auschwitz, has hundreds of drawings and watercolors in the Terezin Museum, Félix Nussbaum, Charlotte Salomón, Otto Ungar, Bedrich Fritta, Ferdinand Bloch, Malva Schalek, Jacobo Macznik, Samuel Granovsky, David Brainin, Amalie Seckbach, Julius Cohn, Karel Fleischmann, Savely Schleifer, Szymos Szerman, Jerzy Fuks and so many more who would fill up never-ending lists. Artists from all over Europe, from Germany, Ukraine, France, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and other countries were arrested by the Nazi troops, put away in concentration camps where most of them were exterminated with brutal haste.

Moonscape by Petr Ginz

A particular case was that of Petr Ginz, a 14-year old boy who was taken away from his parents and imprisoned in the Terezin concentration camp. Petr was a very talented child and he had already written 8 novels, many articles and made lots of drawings. In Terezin, Petr founded the clandestine magazine Vedem that included essays, poems, short stories and science articles. Petr spent, as testimonials show, his days of hunger and suffering painting and writing, creating images of a free world in which men could sail on the seas and fly to the moon. Petr Ginz, at 16 years old, two years after his imprisonment, was deported to Auschwitz where he died in the gas chamber. His dreams were preserved in 120 drawings that remained hidden in Theresienstadt. After the war, a surviving child took them from their hiding place and gave them to Ginz’s parents who were more fortunate than their son. When they arrived in Israel, they donated these drawings to the Yad Vashem where they were exhibited. Ginz’s parents also managed to rescue some of his writings, in the form of a diary, which remained undiscovered until February 1st 2003.

On that day, the Columbia space shuttle exploded, a tragedy which claimed the lives of its crew of 7 people, among them

The Diary of Petr Ginz

the Israeli Ilan Ramon. Before the flight, Ramon had contacted the Yad Vashem Museum and asked to take with him an object related to the Holocaust, in order to render tribute to its victims, among whom was his own mother. He was given a drawing, Moonscape, by Petr Ginz, in which the Earth was shown as if seen from the Moon. The televisions broadcasted this drawing in the weeks following the tragedy.

Jiri Ruzicka, a resident of Prague, remembered having seen similar drawings in some old boxes. This is how many of Petr’s drawings and writings were discovered, which were afterwards published under the title “The Diary of Petr Ginz, 1941-1942”. As dramatic as Anna Frank’s diary, Petr’s reflects the harsh conditions imposed by the Nazi regime.

Fortunately, many artists were able to survive the Nazi horror and also give their own testimonials of what they lived through during those terrible years that remained forever engraved in their minds, bodies and souls. I would like to name some of them, as a tribute to their lives and their faith in art, which helped them to some extent to survive:Leo Haas, Otto Ungar, Charlote Buresova, Ester Lurie, Halina Olomucki, Karl Schwesig, Howard Oransky, Diana Kurz and many more who continued, without fatigue, to express their feelings through art.

Even if many of the painters and their drawings and paintings that I have mentioned here have more of a testimonial value, because of the poor conditions in which they worked, there are also many others of excellent artistic value.

Petr Ginz and his sister

Before the tragic accident of the Columbia space shuttle, Ilan Ramon said during a conference: “I feel that my journey fulfills the dream of Petr Ginz 58 years on. A dream that is ultimate proof of the greatness of the soul of a boy imprisoned within the ghetto walls, the walls of which could not conquer his spirit.”

Nowadays, we can admire in numerous places drawings and paintings of many of the painters murdered by the Nazis, whose spirit of freedom and life still prevails among us”.

Bibliography:,2144,3324693,00.html (Cornelia Rabitz/eu) (Araceli Viceconte, Berlín) (Alicia y Salvador Benmergui),2144,1594375,00.html (Sonja Friedman – La Palabra Israelita) (Dra. Pnina Rosenberg)

Revista Raíces Nº 69 – Alberto Saúl – “Artistas judíos fallecido durante el holocausto”

“El museo desaparecido”- Héctor Feliciano, Ed. Destino

“Diario de Praga (1941-1942) – Petr Ginz – Edit. El Acantilado

Janet Blater y Sibil Milton_Art of the Holocaust, Pan Books, Londres 1982

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