Bergen-Belsen DP Camp, 1945
Charcoal on paper
25.5 x 36.5 cm
Gift of Dr. Bohuslav Kratochvíl, courtesy of Dr. Kurt Passer, London
Israel Alfred Glück was born in Vienna. As a member of a religious Zionist-pioneering group, Glück was sent to Germany in 1938, to receive agricultural training, and in 1939 was sent to Denmark to continue his training. In 1943, Glück and a few of his friends formed an underground group and decided to escape to Mandatory Palestine. They were caught on the German side of the German-Swiss border, and Glück was sent to Auschwitz, prisoner number: 123201. He was sent to Jaworzno for forced labor. In January of 1945, he was sent on a death march to Blechhammer and Gross-Rosen and was transferred by train to Buchenwald, where he was liberated. After wandering throughout Europe, he reached the Bergen-Belsen DP camp. In 1946, he immigrated to the Land of Israel on board the illegal immigration ship “Tel-Hai”. Glück served in the Alexandroni Division during the War of Independence. He was an industrial designer, and a pioneer in this field.
At the Bergen-Belsen DP camp, a Czech UNRRA officer, Erika Fischova, noticed Glück’s artistic talent and, at her request, he prepared an album of drawings recording the experience of concentration and extermination camp inmates. When he immigrated, he left the album behind.
In 1990, an Australian newspaper ran an article for Holocaust Memorial Day with a drawing from that album. Following the publication, Glück set out to hunt down the album and learned that it had been donated to Yad Vashem in 1976, after having been taken to London by the UNRRA officer Fischova.
This page depicts the moment of liberation at Buchenwald: a soldier riding on an American tank is shown as the savior and is eagerly received by the prisoners, yet most of them are unable to even stand in order to welcome him. The artist signs the drawing with his name, accompanied by his prisoner number from Auschwitz.