Stolpersteine for Charlotte Salomon and Felix Nussbaum added to collection of Yad Vashem’s Museum of Holocaust Art
“Yad Vashem forms the utterly authoritative, heart-breaking, inspiring center of the world’s commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. The works in Yad Vashem’s Museum of Holocaust Art uplift us with the power of creativity shown by artists facing persecution and death – and devastate us with their testimony of what was lost. These artists were among the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.”
“Many of these murdered artists are among the 75,000 victims of the Nazis that have been commemorated through the placement of Stolpersteine by Gunter Demnig. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to the Museum of Holocaust Art for the inclusion of the Stolpersteine for Charlotte Salomon and Felix Nussbaum in their permanent collection.”
“I also wish to express my deepest gratitude to our dear friend Gunter Demnig, for having provided us with such evocative and powerful ways of commemorating our murdered family and friends. Recent developments have made frighteningly apparent the importance of the work of Gunter and his dedicated team.”
Terry Swartzberg, chairperson of the Initiative Stolpersteine für München e.V.
On Yad Vashem’s Museum of Holocaust Art
The Museum of Holocaust Art, inaugurated in 2005, is located in Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, on its Square of Hope. The Museum’s rotating permanent exhibition displays some 120 works of art. Most of these works were created during the Holocaust itself, or before the war by artists later murdered during the Shoah.
On the Stolpersteine
75,000 Stolpersteine in 1,600 cities in 26 countries – placed by 1,600 local organizations, each staffed by volunteers. It adds up to the largest, most inclusive and democratic project of commemoration that the world has ever seen.
Each Stolperstein (“stumbling block”) commemorates a victim of the Shoah – Jew, Sinti or Roma, homosexual, persons persecuted for religious or political views or due to supposed disability (“euthanasia”).
Each Stolperstein is placed in the sidewalk in front of the building in which the victim lived before being dragged off by the Nazis to be murdered.
Each is commissioned by persons who have dedicated themselves to commemorating their family members, friends, neighbors.
Each Stolperstein is manufactured by hand and installed in the sidewalk by Gunter Demnig, the Cologne-based artist who launched this movement in 1994.
The Stolpersteine thus constitute “the palpable atlas of Jewish life and suffering” – in the words of Galit Noga-Bonai, professor of religious art at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.
On Felix Nussbaum
Felix was born on December 11, 1904, in the northern Germany city of Osnabrück. He rose to become one of the leading members of the Neue Sachlichkeit school of art. After anti-Semitic arsonists destroyed in 1932 much of his work, Felix fled Germany. His last four years were spent in hiding in Belgium. It was during this time – and under sheer unimaginable conditions of privation – that Felix produced many of his greatest works.
Felix and his wife – the gifted artist Felka Platek – were denounced to the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz on August 2, 1944. They died shortly prior to the camp’s liberation.
Stolpersteine were placed for Felix and his parents in Osnabrück, and for Felix and Felka in Brussels.
On Charlotte Salomon
Charlotte was born on April 16, 1917 in Berlin. Regarded in the late 1930’s as being a young artist of high promise, she fled Nazi Germany in 1939 for France. After being seized and released by the Gestapo, Charlotte and her husband Alexander Nagler went into hiding in France.
It was during her time in exil and hiding that Charlotte – driven by the need to respond to the traumas of her childhood and the horrors she was experiencing – created one of the world’s most evocative bodies of art: “Leben? Oder Theater?” (“Life? Or Theater?”). Designed to be a “musical” divided into acts and scenes, this probing look at her life is comprised of 769 of the 1325 gouaches painted by Charlotte during a single 18-month period. These paintings are accompanied by elucidatory texts and references to the score.
On September 24, 1943, Charlotte and Alexander were denounced to the Gestapo. Five months pregnant, Charlotte was murdered in Auschwitz, at which she arrived on October 7, 1943.
The Stolperstein for Charlotte was placed in Berlin.