Harrowing paintings by Holocaust survivor showing hell handed over to Auschwitz Museum

The striking images depict the harrowing fate of fellow prisoners from the artist’s own experience. Marcin Inglot

A collection of 19 paintings made after the war by Auschwitz survivor Edith Hofmann have gone to the Auschwitz Museum collection.

The striking images depict the harrowing fate of fellow prisoners from the artist’s own experience.

“The bright colours and wildly deformed characters provoke anxiety and fear,” Agnieszka Sieradzka of the museum’s art collection department said.Łukasz Lipiński

Agnieszka Sieradzka of the museum’s art collection department, said the works present life in the camp, punishments, deaths during escape attempts, marches of death and recollections and portraits of people the artist remembered.

“The bright colours and wildly deformed characters provoke anxiety and fear,” Sieradzka said of Hofmann’s work.

Artist Edith Hoffman never returned to the Auschwitz memorial site but wanted her paintings to go to the museum after her death.Marcin Inglot

“They are a metaphor for the pain and suffering through which the artist must have gone.

“In conjunction with the poems that accompany them, the pictures represent the extremely personal witness account of a woman who went through the hell of the concentration camps.”

Edith Hofmann was born in 1927 in Prague. In 1941, she and her family were deported to the Litzmannstadt Ghetto in Łodz before being to deported first to Auschwitz II-Birkenau and then the Gross-Rosen sub-camp, Christianstadt.Auschwitz Museum

Edith Hofmann was born in 1927 in Prague.

In 1941, she was deported along wither family to the Litzmannstadt ghetto in Łódź and from there in 1944 to the Auschwitz II-Birkenau death camp.

After several weeks, she was transferred to Christianstadt, a sub-camp of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.

Over 1 million people died in Auschwitz from mass extermination, starvation and disease.Public domain

During the March of Death she was evacuated to Bergen-Belsen, where a month later she was liberated by the British Army.

She started studying art in the 1970s and showed her work in a variety of places.

The 19 paintings all depict the tragic fate of the prisoners of the camp.Łukasz Lipiński

“For my mother, art was a way of tackling the trauma (…),”said Hofmann’s daughter, Amanda Steart, who gave the works to the museum collection.

Edith never returned to the Auschwitz memorial site but wanted her paintings to go to the museum after her death.