Artistically depicting the Holocaust is one of the most powerful ways of examining the Nazi period. Works by survivors and eyewitnesses are not only disturbing documents of the age, but the artistic creativity that went into them was frequently also a survival strategy, helping the artists to continue living with their traumatic experiences.
The artist Adolf Frankl, born in Bratislava in 1903, deported to Auschwitz in 1944, rendered his memories in paintings, drawings and graphic works, trying to come to terms with his trauma. His works exhibited at the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism depict persecution, violence and death. Despite the gravity of their subject matter, the pictures are characterised by vibrant colours. For Frankl, this “coloured woven material” was the only possibility to “make the harrowing thoughts clamouring behind my eyes understandable for others”.
Besides the cycle Visions from the Inferno – Art against Oblivion, Frankl produced scores of drawings and caricatures between 1945 and 1982. The selection shown at the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism focused on Frankl’s work that deals with his time in the Auschwitz concentration camp.