Zinovii Tolkatchev. "The Liberators Have Arrived"

Zinovii Tolkatchev
(1903-1977)

The Liberators Have Arrived

Auschwitz, 1945
Pencil and watercolor on paper
29.7 x 21 cm
Gift of Anel Tolkatcheva and Ilya Tolkatchev, Kiev



Zinovii Tolkatchev. "The Savior"

Zinovii Tolkatchev
(1903-1977)

The Savior

Auschwitz, 1945
Pencil on paper
29.5 x 21 cm
Gift of Anel Tolkatcheva and Ilya Tolkatchev, Kiev

Zinovii Tolkatchev Born in the town of Shchedrin in Belarus. He was active in the Communist youth movement and later in the party. In 1928, Tolkatchev studied art in Kiev and in 1929 held an exhibition on the death of Lenin.  In the thirties, he illustrated books, including works by Gorky and Sholem Aleichem, and exhibited the series, “The Shtetl”. From 1941-1945, he served as an official artist in the Red Army. In the summer of 1944 he was attached to the Soviet forces at the front after the liberation of Majdanek, and afterwards to the forces liberating Auschwitz. In these camps he painted and drew series of artwork depicting the horrific scenes he witnessed in these camps. These series were exhibited throughout Poland at the close of the war. Died in Kiev.

These drawings depict the moment of liberation from the point of view of the liberator: the excitement and happiness of the prisoners receiving the Red Army soldiers as saviors, yet on the other hand the exposure to the dimensions of the disaster. The enlisted nature of the artist is evident in his dramatic depiction of the scenes and figures. On 28 February 1945, the Soviets held an official ceremonial funeral for 470 victims.