Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Sketches from Auschwitz’

 

Monday was the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. From Radio Free Europe:

Unique images of Auschwitz were sketched by a Soviet Jewish artist who arrived with the Red Army in the hours after the camp was liberated. The images were quickly exhibited across Poland, but the artist, Zinovy Tolkachyov, was accused of “Zionism” by Soviet media and unable to work for 20 years.

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There are 14 comments.

  1. Kay of MT Member

    Thank you Doug.

    • #1
    • January 27, 2020, at 6:29 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I don’t know which is stranger: that it took until 1965 to get them published in the Soviet Union, or that they then allowed publication.

    • #2
    • January 27, 2020, at 6:36 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Al French Moderator

    The local classical station today played Tanec (Dance) for String Trio (1943-44) by Hans Krasa, a Czech composer, written while he was in a Nazi concentration camp, and played by the Black Oak Ensemble. Shortly after it was written, Krasa was moves to Auschwitz and killed.

    How such light and beautiful music could come from the horrors of such a place is beyond me.

     

    • #3
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:09 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  4. Kay of MT Member

    Tanec (Dance) for String Trio (1943-44) by Hans Krasa

    • #4
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:15 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. Kay of MT Member

    Well, I tried to out smart the computer as it wouldn’t let me copy the url and paste it. So I typed in the url and then I got two of them.

    • #5
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:23 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. The Reticulator Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    I don’t know which is stranger: that it took until 1965 to get them published in the Soviet Union, or that they then allowed publication.

    The USSR could be really strange about relations with Jewish issues. It’s hard for some of us outsiders to understand.

    The film Commissar by Alexandr Askoldov was produced in 1967 and immediately banned. It takes place during the Russian Civil War. In it, the female commissar, a brutal type, gets pregnant and is put with a Jewish family in a small village until the baby is born. She softens up a bit and becomes motherly until her duties call her back into the war. There is a scene in which the Jewish man of the house, played by Rolan Bykov, forsees an extermination camp with smoking chimneys in the future. Some sources say that if he would have changed that one scene, the ban could have been removed. But he refused. (His Wikipedia article tells it a little differently.) So he was kicked out of the Communist Party and banned from making any more films. Bykov and Nonna Mordukova (the female lead) pleaded for nothing worse to be done to him.

    During Glasnost, some foreign filmmakers asked Gorbachev why this film (which they knew had been secretly kept from destruction) was not released along with so many others that had been suppressed until then. When the authorities looked into it, instead of releasing the film they kicked Askolodov out of the party again (he had been reinstated somewhere along the line) but in response to further pressure the film was finally reconstituted and released just before the USSR ended. Maybe 12-13 years ago I heard about it, and put in a request for Netflix to get it for its repertoire, which they did. It is now on YouTube with English subtitles. It’s a good one. 

    The “extras” on the Netflix CD had Askoldov explaining in an interview that he was inspired somewhat by what happened to him as a small child. The NKVD had come and taken his parents away (never to be seen again) leaving him alone in the apartment. Rather than waiting for the NKVD guys to come back, the little Alexandr somehow had enough sense to get himself out of the locked apartment and then went to a Jewish family he knew, who took him in and cared for him. 

    Mordukova thought Askoldov should have given ground about the troublesome scene, because the ban deprived us of any more films from him. But she did plead on his behalf, while a number of other famous and supposedly courageous film directors did not. (One name she mentioned was Sergei Bundarchuk.)

    I see that Askoldov died two years ago. Mordukova and Bykov are no longer with us, either.

    Several years ago I was on a Russian movie web site that had a section that paid tribute to Bykov. I noticed that Commissar was not listed among his films. He had a lot of other good roles, too, but this one really should have been included. (This web site was not kino-teatr.ru, which is my usual go-to site for information about Russian films. It’s sort of the Russian IMDB, and does list that role in his filmography.) 

    From watching the film it’s really hard to understand why it produced the reaction it did among the Soviet censors. 

    • #6
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:55 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Percival (View Comment):

    I don’t know which is stranger: that it took until 1965 to get them published in the Soviet Union, or that they then allowed publication.

    Or that they were not destroyed by Stalin’s men. Perhaps they were held first as evidence against the artist, and then kept as useful down the road.

    • #7
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:40 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    There is a scene in which the Jewish man of the house, played by Rolan Bykov, forsees an extermination camp with smoking chimneys in the future.

    I remembered this part wrong. (I just now re-watched it for the first time in many years.) It’s not the Bykov character who foresees the Jews going to an extermination camp.

    • #8
    • January 27, 2020, at 10:28 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    There is a scene in which the Jewish man of the house, played by Rolan Bykov, forsees an extermination camp with smoking chimneys in the future.

    I remembered this part wrong. (I just now re-watched it for the first time in many years.) It’s not the Bykov character who foresees the Jews going to an extermination camp.

    I’ll look it up. Thanks.

    • #9
    • January 28, 2020, at 1:09 AM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Stad Thatcher

    I’m remineded of the concentraion camp liberation scene from Band of Brothers. IIRC, one of the scouts came back to the CO and said something like, “You have to see this.” The CO replied, “What is it?” The scout said it couldn’t be described, that it had to be seen in person.

    It’s been a long time since I watched the Miniseries, but I remember the scene as gutwrenching. I believe when Ike found out about the camps, he ordered the military to round up as many German citizens as they could find and make them tour the camps. His reasoning was a worry someone in the future would deny it ever happened.

    • #10
    • January 28, 2020, at 6:38 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    I believe when Ike found out about the camps, he ordered the military to round up as many German citizens as they could find and make them tour the camps. His reasoning was a worry someone in the future would deny it ever happened.

    This is from an article about Ike from The Tablet. Interesting to read the entire article.

    On April 12, 1945, however, with the Wehrmacht in full retreat and Allied forces pouring into Germany, Eisenhower visited the recently liberated Ohrdruf-Nord concentration camp near Gotha with generals Omar Bradley and George Patton. In an effort to eliminate witnesses to their crimes, the SS guards had murdered 4,000 prisoners before fleeing. The surviving prisoners were emaciated skeletons, and bodies were piled everywhere, some having been set ablaze in makeshift funeral pyres. The stench was indescribable, and even Patton, no shrinking violent when it came to the carnage of battle, excused himself and vomited against the side of a building. Eisenhower called the atrocities “beyond the American mind to comprehend,” and ordered every American unit not on the frontlines to see Ohrdruf. The next day he visited Buchenwald and sent a cable to George Marshall urging the Army chief of staff to come to Germany to see for himself. “I made the visit deliberately,” he told his boss, “in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’”

    • #11
    • January 28, 2020, at 6:53 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I always feel gratitude for those who post on the Holocaust, especially non-Jews. Thanks, Doug. At the same time, seeing those drawings is so painful.

    • #12
    • January 28, 2020, at 7:05 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. The Reticulator Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    There is a scene in which the Jewish man of the house, played by Rolan Bykov, forsees an extermination camp with smoking chimneys in the future.

    I remembered this part wrong. (I just now re-watched it for the first time in many years.) It’s not the Bykov character who foresees the Jews going to an extermination camp.

    I’ll look it up. Thanks.

    Here it is on YouTube. I really like the B&W camera work, as I do for several other Russian films of the 60s. They did have color movies, even in the 40s, but they still did a lot of B&W work in the 60s, partly because of the expense of color film.

     

    • #13
    • January 28, 2020, at 7:39 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. Front Seat Cat Member

    So many thoughts:

    1. The new generations need to be taught this ugly past, and see the pictures, hear the stories. We have museums and memorials to preserve what needs to be taught and talked about. It’s not enough. This level of evil has no words. The old generations are passing. If the stories and history was being taught, then why are there still open attacks on Jews, and Jewish products, and Jewish cemeteries and Temples? Because human nature never changes. Where else is it taking place?
    2. It is ironic that Trump is unveiling a peace plan, while fighting for his presidency, as is Netanyahu. It feels historical, like a marker is being placed down. It’s gotten little attention, astonishing! 
    3. I will never understand evil of this magnitude. It doesn’t mean we ignore it. It is real, and we know it could repeat. As a Christian, many lives and families were also destroyed by this evil. The deaths of Christians at the hands of evil continue today, ignored my mainstream media. Churches and Synagogues destroyed, threats. Evil and evil people fear both Jews and Christians, why? I don’t mean to bring politics in to it, but what Democratic candidate is standing up for the Jews and Christians?
    • #14
    • January 29, 2020, at 2:19 PM PST
    • 2 likes