Watercolor on paper
22 x 30.2 cm
Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem
Gift of Ms. Gita Lehman, Israel
Leo Breuer was born to a Catholic mother and a Jewish father. He was conscripted into the German Army during World War I and was taken prisoner by the Russians. Upon his return to Germany in 1919, he studied at the Art Academies of Cologne and Kassel. Breuer exhibited in various exhibitions in Germany, painted theater backdrops, and taught art. In 1934 he immigrated to The Hague and then moved from there to Brussels, where he continued to paint and exhibit. In May 1940 he was arrested and sent to the Saint Cyprien camp in southern France, where he contracted typhus. After his recovery he was transferred to the Gurs camp. There Breuer was a member of the Catholic Relief Organization and captured scenes of the reality of camp life in drawings. He was released in late 1941 with another fifty-seven prisoners and found refuge at the La Roche reception center in Chansaye, where political prisoners and Jews were hidden. He lived under a false identity until liberation. After the war, he settled in Paris and later in his birthplace, Bonn, where he continued to paint.