An exceptional collection of paintings by former prisoner Edith Hofmann now in possession of the Memorial
The Collections of the Auschwitz Memorial has been enriched with a unique collection of 19 post-war paintings created by Edith Hofmann, a former prisoner of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. They depict the tragic fate of the prisoners of the camp.
Edith Hofmann was born in 1927 in Prague. In 1941, she and her family were deported to the Litzmannstadt Ghetto. From there, in 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz II-Birkenau. After a few weeks, she was transferred to the Gross-Rosen sub-camp, Christianstadt. During the Death March, she was evacuated to the Bergen-Belsen camp and liberated by the British Army after a month.
After the war, Edith returned to Prague, where she sought to find the surviving members of her family. Unfortunately, none of them survived the Holocaust. With the help of the Red Cross, Edith travelled to Northern Ireland where her sister, who had already emigrated before the war, lived. The sisters met in 1946. After moving to England and completing her studies, Edith became an English teacher. After moving to England and completing her studies, Edith became an English teacher.
In the 1970s Edith Hofmann began to study art. Finally, she started to exhibit her paintings in various places. She died in 2018, at the age of 91. – Art for my mother was a way to fight the trauma she suffered after the war," said the daughter of the former prisoner Amanada Steart, who handed over the works to the Memorial.
Edith never returned to the Auschwitz. However, she wanted her paintings to be donated to the Museum Collections after her death. – I know this is where my mother's paintings will be forever safe," said Amanda when handing over the paintings.
– Each of the 19 paintings by Edith Hoffmann relates directly to her camp experiences. They depict the events of camp life: arrival at the camp, punishment, death on wires, death marches, but also situations related to Edith's personal experiences, portraits of people she remembered. The bright colours and heavily deformed characters evoke fear and anxiety. They are a metaphor of the pain and suffering that the author had to endure. In combination with the accompanying poems, they are an extremely personal testimony of a woman who went through the hell of concentration camps," said Agnieszka Sieradzka of the Collections of the Memorial.
– My mother wanted to pass on the paintings to future generations so that things like Auschwitz would never happen again so that people would not have any prejudices because towards a different faith or race," stressed Amanda Steart.