The Art of the Holocaust

Skylar Perkins 7


One of the greatest thefts of art in history, The Nazi Plunder. During and after World War Two Adolf Hitler wanted other nations artwork to reach his goals of money. Much of the cultural heritage of the Jewish people was destroyed during the greater part of the Holocaust time period, or captured, by the Nazis for their own personal pleasure, during the late 1930s.
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About Jewish Art

Art was very important to the Jewish culture. Jews valued literature of study of humor, storytelling, and poetry. Jewish artists have depicted people in both sculpture and paintings, but traditionally their artwork was limited to only being able to draw objects used for worship or to illustrate texts. Nazis would destroy any art that they considered “un-German”, including burning books. In 1935, Jewish writers, musicians, and art dealers were forbidden from working.

About Hitler's Art Habits

Before World War Two Adolf Hitler was an artist in practice, he was denied from the Academy for Art Studies in Vienna twice. Art was one of the many things he took very seriously. 750,000 was the number of artwork estimated that he stole, completely demolishing the art industry. “The years between 1933 and 1945 are a black hole in the art community, with thousands of pieces of art changing hands and going missing.” “Hitler banned, hid, or destroyed modern art because he believed it was corrupt.” He had a special list of artists and artwork called "Degenerate Artists."


Dean, Martin, ed. "Cultural Looting: The Seizure of Archives and Libraries by Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, 1940–1945." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

Johnson, Bryan. "Top 10 Famous Pieces of Art Stolen by the Nazis." TopTenz, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

Wood, Angela Gluck. Holocaust: The Events and Their Impact on Real People. New York, NY: DK, 2007. Print.

Other Facts To Know

  1. Charlotte Buresova, a prisoner who worked in the artists' workshop, was "hired" or told to paint a picture of The Virgin Mary. She was told by the German officer to not finish it so she wouldn't get deported. He was very impressed with her art skills, and that is what kept her alive.
  2. Portraits were the most common artwork during the Holocaust time period. "portraits comprise one quarter of all paintings and drawings produced in the camps."
  3. "During World War II, Jews produced art in concentration camps, or while in hiding. Unlike artistic production undertaken by outsiders in the name of propaganda, or to confirm the events after the killing had ended, art created by victims under Nazi domination may be viewed as a form of documentation, witnessing, and spiritual resistance that plays a very important historical role as evidence from the victim’s perspective."

  4. Artwork labeled as "Degenerate" was legally banned from entering Germany so it would be illegally sold.

  5. "In 1985, European countries began to release inventory lists of works of art "that were confiscated from Jews by the Nazis during World War II, and announced the details of a process for returning the works to their owners and rightful heirs."


Rosenberg, Pnina. "Sharing StoriesInspiring Change." Art during the Holocaust. Jewish Women's Archive, Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>.

Feinstein, Stephen Charles. "Holocaust: Art and the Holocaust." YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe 13 December 2010. 4 February 2016 <>.

"Holocaust Restitution: Recovering Stolen Art." Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Virtual Library, Sept. 2014. Web. 4 Feb. 2016. <>.


Nazi plundering of Europe part 1 of 4


Art is only one out of many important topics during the Holocaust time era, but it cannot be forgotten. For some, Art was a whole different crisis itself along with The major problem of the capturing of Jewish people. The stolen artwork crisis forever made a dent in the art industry and culture.