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August 23, 1985 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-08-23

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Friday, August 23, 1985 17


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in 1939 when Nussbaum's par-

ents, fleeing Germany, decided
to join him in Brussels. Felka
had no intention of harboring
the old couple in their two room
flat, and she betrayed Felix by
sending anonymous letters to
the authorities which kept the
elder Nussbaums from entering
Belgium. Instead, they went to
Amsterdam, where Felix's
brother had fled in 1937. All of
them died in Auschwitz in 1944
within a few months of each
When Germany invaded Bel-
gium in 1940, Nussbaum was
taken into custody as a German
national — a cruel irony — and
interned at St. Cyprien in
southern France. He escaped
and slipped back into Brussels.
From that time forward, he and
Felka had no alternative but to
live furtively, aided by friends,
in attics and cellars. Though is
despair increased, he kept on
painting. It was his one hold on
sanity. During 1943 and 1944,
he painted his most powerful
pictures. Without ever knowing
it, he raised the art of the
Holocaust to new heights.
Though these' last paintings,
entitled "Organ Grinder," "Self
Portrait With Jewish Identity
Card" and "The Skeletons Play
For A Dance,' are filled with
grim reality and resignation,
they are brilliantly executed
manifestos of defiance. The
"Skeletons" . was completed in
April, 1944. Three months later
the Nazis — who had been
searching for Nussbaum for a
long time — caught up with
him. He and Felka were gassed
on August 3, 1944, the same day
they arrived at Auschwitz.
Where the Nazis left a legacy
of death and infamy, Felix
Nussbaum bequeathed to post-
erity a legacy of hope, of cour-
age, of beauty and of the
triumph of the human spirit.

For The


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NCJW Praises
House Action

New York -- The National
Council of Jewish Women
(NCJW) praised the House of
Representatives this month for
passing legislation which would
authorize sanctions against
South Africa for its apartheid
"The recent actions taken by
the white South African Gov-
ernment in further restricting
the rights of the black majority
have exacerbated an untenable
situation," according to Barbara
Mandel, NCJW president.
"NCJW applauds the U.S.
House of Representatives for
acting swiftly and appropriately
in reflecting Amarices cams
„ We how dm /Wats 1111 act

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