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