‘Unable to Work.’
David Olère (1902-85) was transported to Auschwitz on March 2, 1943. He was forty-one years of age. Olère was an artist who had studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, before moving to Gdansk then Berlin and finally Paris, where he worked as a set designer on movies. His traveling and working across Europe had given Olère a great fluency with languages. This was to save his life when he arrived at Auschwitz.
As most of the SS guards at the camp had no interest in speaking anything but German, Olère was required to work as a translator. He was assigned to work as a Sonderkommando—one of the death camp prisoners who was used to dispose of the bodies of the thousands upon thousands of gas chamber victims at Auschwitz. Olère saw at first hand the German soldiers’ brutal and horrific actions.
His talents as an artist were also used by the SS guards. Olère was made write and illustrate letters home to soldiers’ families and produce drawings of the guards at their work. Olère used what little free time he had to start documenting the truth about Auschwitz. He felt utterly compelled to document the lives of all those who did not survive.
Olère’s drawings proved to be crucial evidence as to how the Nazis callously exterminated the Jews at Auschwitz.
‘Arrival of a Convoy.’
‘The Food of the Dead for the Living.’
‘Priest and Rabbi.’
More of Olère’s drawings and paintings, after the jump….