A Brush with Death: An Artist in the Death Campsby Morris Wyszogrod
Pub. Date: 06/17/1999
Publisher: State University of New York Press
In this memoir Morris Wyszogrod recounts his experiences from the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland to the liberation of the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1945. He describes in detail the time he spent in the Warsaw Ghetto; his work as an artist for various Luftwaffe personnel at the Warsaw military airport; his experiences at the BudzynŒ concentration camp, where he was assigned to decorate the living quarters of the SS and to produce drawings at an orgiastic Oktoberfest; his removal to PÂaszoŒw, where he was put to work digging up mass graves and burning the bodies to eliminate the evidence of Nazi war crimes; his witnessing of the firebombing of Dresden in February 1945; and his subsequent liberation at Theresienstadt by the Red Army in May 1945. Just as an artist may register what she or he sees against a sensitive visual and moral template, so Wyszogrod doubly registered what he saw and felt, both in his drawings and in his memories.
- State University of New York Press
- Publication date:
- SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture Series
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.61(d)
Table of ContentsNo table of contents available for this publication.
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This review is hardly unbiased. The author, Morris Wyszogrod, a commerical artist by trade is my cousin, and quite truly, a hero of mine. Whenever I visit my Cousin Morris' apartment, I am greeted as soon as I step off the elevator with genuine warmth and enthusiasm. His smile, unbreaking, and his conversation, always scintilating, I am amazed at his sincerity and good nature despite what he has witnessed and experienced as a Holocaust survivor. His warmth and love for his fellow man is evident throughout his memoir. Morris provides a vivid look at pre-war Poland and the lives that were stolen from our families. And similar to the warmth and caring with which he greets his guests today, he treats each character in his memoir with similar respect and reverence. His memory is outstanding as he remembers the many personalities and every day people of his Warsaw youth, and later in the death camps. His descriptions are detailed and he succeeds in bringing out the special qualities of each character. This is so important because more often than not, the people he describes with such affection will soon be dead at the hands of the Nazis. Much of Holocaust literature refers to the millions who were massacred. Morris didn't know the millions, but he pays beautiful homage to the hundreds with whom he shared a piece of life. From homage to carnage, Morris' story takes us into the Nazi occupation and his incarceration in several death camps. Similar to his skills in painting a picture of his pre-war youth, he is equally and shockingly vivid in his memories of the death camps. Certainly the raw material for his story is there and he presents the brutality, anguish and sheer inhumanity as only a man of his artistic talents is capable of doing. And in the midst of the brutality, there are the friendships, the shared moments, and the appreciation for his fellow prisoners that are necessary for the reader to grasp onto so that he or she may continue with the chilling chronicle of Morris' survival. A Brush With Death has warmth, beauty and brutality. It is one of the many stories of the Holocaust experience, and one which I am confident will provide a unique perspective ot the most horrific period in recorded history.