Buchenwald DP camp, 1945
Pencil, colored pencil and watercolor on paper
10 x 15 cm
Gift of the artist
Born in Züllchow as Stefan Cohn. In 1939, he moved with his family to Berlin. His father immigrated to England but Stefan and his mother were unable to join him. After the closure of the Jewish schools, he was forced to work in the Jewish cemetery at Weissensee. His mother was put to work making alterations in German Army uniforms. In June 1943, he and his mother were transported to Auschwitz, where they were separated, and his mother was murdered. Stefan was assigned to a bricklaying commando. With the approach of the Red Army in January 1945, he was evacuated on a death march to Gross-Rosen and then to Buchenwald. In April he was liberated by the American Army. Upon his liberation, he drew 79 works depicting his personal annals during the war. He was transferred to an orphanage in Switzerland, and then to England, where he reunited with his father. He immigrated to Israel in 1950, and after army service as an engineer officer, studied and worked as a construction engineer. He published his memoirs in the book Youth in Chains.
These paintings are part of the series Stefan painted immediately upon liberation, in order to be able to relate his wartime annals to his father.
"This is how I then saw Weimar as a fifteen-year-old. I was impressed by the different games children played in the streets. Only after 50 years did I visit the town again, for an exhibition of my miniature pictures at the Buchenwald memorial site." (Thomas Geve)