Felix Nussbaum. "Camp Synagogue, 1941"

Camp Synagogue, 1941

Four men wrapped in prayer shawls stand praying near a desolate shack. The make- shift synagogue at Saint Cyprien concentration camp, was located in the French Pyrenees where Nussbaum was held as a prisoner. To the right, a man stands alone. The lone man may be Nussbaum himself, who was ambivalent about his Jewish identity, like many young men of his time. Arrested for being Jewish, Nussbaum moved back hesitantly to his Jewish heritage. A gray gloomy sky fills the background, and a black cloud blocks the sun for the Morning Prayer, while ravens hover overhead. In the foreground are scattered a shoe, an empty tin can, a bone, and some barbed wire, all of which are symbols of the harsh conditions at the camp. The painting was executed in Brussels, after a drawing done in St. Cyprien, shortly following Nussbaum's successful escape from the camp.

Gift of Dr. Paul and Mrs. Hilda Freund, Jerusalem.

Felix Nussbaum

Camp Synagogue, 1941

Oil on wood
49,8 x 64,8 cm
Yad Vashem Art Collection