Evidence and Resistance Dr. David Gussak Associate Prof., Art Education/Art Therapy

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Holocaust Underground Art:

Evidence and Resistance

Dr. David Gussak

Associate Prof., Art Education/Art Therapy

Presentation Outline


“…painting is designed as a mediator between us and the world around it and it is not necessarily an aesthetic operation, but a way of acquiring power and giving concrete form to our fears, hopes, and wishes.”--Picasso


Participants will be able to demonstrate:

  1. Understanding of why art was done/purpose of the art

  2. Understanding of impact and importance of art

  3. How to really “look” at the art

(Please Note: The Power Point presentation is simply a slide show of selected works to illustrate and support the lecture discussions.)

I. A brief discussion about art and art therapy

A) Art psychotherapy

B) vs. art as therapy

C) Therapeutic benefits of

1. art materials

2. the topic/directives chosen

II. Why was art done (Evidence and Resistance)?

  1. Self-empowerment

  2. To take control of situation when their was no control

  3. To concretize the ambiguous (explain)

  4. “Escape”

  5. Create a visual, long-living record

  6. Act of creating defined humanness when treated otherwise

  7. Validated existence

  8. Immortality in the face of extinction

  9. Brief discussion of importance of portraiture

      1. Identity

      2. Capture humanity

      3. Reflection

III. Brief discussion of the importance of the art

  1. How do we use the art to explore and understand the Holocaust

  2. How do we use the art when teaching the Holocaust

  3. How to use the art as record and reference

IV. How to really “look” at the art

  1. Understand/speculate about the messages given in the images

  2. Understand how the supplies are used to convey these messages

V. Brief discussion on the difference(s) between:

  1. Art done at Terezin (Theresienstadt)/ Auschwitz/in hiding/other

  2. degenerative art vs. acceptable art

  3. art of the children/adults/witnesses/victims

VI. Review use of weblinks at the end of the Power Point presentation

Additional References of Interest:
Blatter, J., & Milton, S. (1981). Art of the Holocaust. New York: The Rutledge Press.
Czarnecki, J.P. (1989). Last traces: The lost art of Auschwitz. New York: Atheneum.
Dutlinger, A.D. (2001). Art, music and eduction as strategies for survival: Theresienstadt, 1941-45. New York: Herodias.
Green, G. (1978). The artists of Terezin. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc.
Mickenberg, D., Granof, C. & Hayes, P. (2003). The last expression: Art and Auschwitz. Evenston, IL: The Northwestern University Press.
Milton, S. (ed/trans.) (1989). The art of jewish children—Germany 1936-1941: Innocence and persecution. New York: Allied Books Limited.
Osvaldova, H., & Nakladatelstvi, O. (2002). Art against death: Permanent exhibitions of the Terezin Memorial in the former Magdeburg Barracks. Terezin, Czech Republic: Pamatnik Terezin.
Rubin, S.G. (2000). Fireflies in the dark: The story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the children of Terezin. New York: Holiday House.
Toll, N. (1998). When memory speaks: The Holocaust in art. West Port, Conn: Praeger Publishers.
Troller, N. (1991). Theresienstadt: Hitler’s gift to the jews. Chaperl Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.
Volavkova, H. (ed.) (1993). …I never saw another butterfly… Children’s drawings and poems from Terezin Concentration Camp 1942-1944.(2nd.ed.) New York: Schocken Books

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