Scrapbookpages Blog

July 11, 2014

Paintings by Holocaust survivor Irving Kamrat will be animated by his granddaughter

Painting by Irving Kamrat

Painting by Irving Kamrat (Click on photo to enlarge)

The photo above was copied from a news article which you can read in full here.

This quote is from the article:

There’s a painting of a boy in a brown suit peering at a swastika painted on a wall. And then there are paintings of houses, people taking walks, forests and trees, lots of trees. In other words, the paintings of Irving Kamrat, 98, depict scenes of his youth. The Polish native grew up in a shtetl, and was deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp after the Nazis invaded Poland.

Irving Kamrat was deported to Buchenwald after the Nazis invaded Poland, which would have been in 1939.  Why Buchenwald?  Buchenwald was a camp for “political prisoners,” including “resistance fighters” which means that Irving Kamrat was arrested as an illegal combatant at the start of World War II.  Kamrat’s life was saved because he was a “resistance fighter.”  If he had not been fighting as an illegal combatant, at the start of World War II, he would have eventually been sent to Auschwitz, and probably gassed to death.

According to the article, Nasya Kamrat, his 34-year-old granddaughter, “who runs an animated film company in Brooklyn, has started a project: bringing survivors’ stories to life using animation based on her grandfather’s art, and featuring interviews as background narration. Together with her team, she is currently fundraising to produce “Unspeakable: An Animated Holocaust Documentary”, a short film that is scheduled to come out in November.”

Blue Hitler: Filmmaker Nasya Kamrat describes the style of her grandfather’s paintings as “European folk art.”

Irving Kamrat
Blue Hitler: Filmmaker Nasya Kamrat describes the style of her grandfather’s paintings as “European folk art.”

According to the article, Nasya’s film will center around the stories of her grandfather, and a “woman, Yvonne Engelman, who was deported from Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz at the age of 16 in 1944, and taken to the gas chambers. Just as they were entering the fake showers, they were thrown out again by the Nazi camp guards.”

Why was Yvonne thrown out of the gas chamber by a Nazi camp guard?  Because she was 16 years old, for God’s sakes.  Dr. Mengele wasn’t doing his job again, and he waved a 16 year-old to the line for the gas chamber, when everyone knows that Jews under over the age of 15 were not to be gassed.

I have saved the article’s best quote for last:

In the beginning, Nasya Kamrat recounts, her goal was to memorialize her grandfather’s story. Irving Kamrat’s life was saved by a German guard: Towards the end of the war, the Nazis were killing people by playing a “game” in which Jews had to count off, and were killed if they got the “wrong” number. One day, Irving was picked and taken to a room where he was supposed to be killed by hanging. The German guard, who[m] he had gotten to know well, hid him in a bin filled with laundry from previously killed inmates, and snuck (sic) him out of the room. The camp was liberated shortly thereafter.

What the article doesn’t tell you is that her grandfather was saved from the most ignominious death of all at Buchenwald:  hanging from a hook in the mortuary.  I wrote about this on my website at
Maybe Irving Kamrat could do one more painting which shows how the prisoners at Buchenwald were killed by hanging from hooks at Buchenwald, as shown in the exhibit below. This exhibit was put up after Buchenwald was liberated, so that American soldiers could see how the Jews were executed by being hung from hooks on the wall.  Buchenwald had no gas chamber, so something horrible had to be devised for future generations to write about.
A recreation of the hanging of prisoners on hooks at Buchenwald

A recreation of the hanging of prisoners on hooks at Buchenwald

Israeli teens taking selfies at Auschwitz…

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:26 am
My 1998 photo of the entrance into the Auschwitz I camp

My 1998 photo of the entrance into the Auschwitz I camp

When I visited Auschwitz for the first time in 1998, I had an old-fashioned camera, which used film. Photoshop did not yet exist, so what you see is what you get.

I also had, with me, one of the first digital cameras ever made.  I took photos with my 35 mm film camera, and then pulled out my digital camera, which amazed my tour guide, who had never heard of such a thing.  I explained to her that, in case my photos on film didn’t “turn out,” I needed back-up photos on my new digital camera, which recorded photos on small computer disks.  I had a disk reader for my Macintosh computer which I could then use to transfer the photos to my computer.

Imagine if I had taken a “selfie” with my digital camera at that time.  My guide would never have recovered, even to this day.

Now, I have learned the shocking news that some Israeli teens are taking “selfies” at Auschwitz-Birkenau where their great-grandparents were murdered in gas chambers.  You can read all about it here.

This shocking quote is from the article, cited in the link above:

Two months ago, the Israeli Ministry of Education approved a new Holocaust education program that will introduce the sensitive subject as early as kindergarten. The plan has received a lot of criticism from parents, who see it as traumatizing for the children and part of a “brainwashing” by the current government. In one of the posts on the page, a picture of Israel’s education minister reading a book to the children is seen, and the caption reads: “Along came big, bad Hitler…”

About a year ago, I wrote a blog post, in which I mentioned that my grandson was told about the Holocaust in kindergarten in America:

If American students can learn about the Holocaust in kindergarten, why can’t Israeli students?

There is nothing wrong with taking “selfies.”  My grandchildren take photos of their food before eating it.  They have never been to Auschwitz, but if they did go, they would probably take a “selfie” with the Arbeit macht Frei sign in the background.