ANDRÉ DURAND Twenty-First Century Paintings
CHRIST AT AUSCHWITZ
Dimensions: 127 x 127
Oil on linen
The Nazis established Auschwitz in April 1940 under the direction of Reichsfuhrer SS, Heinrich Himmler. Estimates of deaths at the camp complex range from the accepted figure of 1.5 million to as many as 4 million. Camp Commandant Rudolf Hoess admitted to a minimum figure of 2.5 million deaths at Auschwitz.
Jews comprised the largest number of victims, and Auschwitz has become the prime symbol of the Holocaust. However, it is important to remember that large numbers of Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, gypsies, Christians and homosexuals also died at Auschwitz.
At one point—and only one—in his book, Night, Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, links Calvary and the camps. He tells of an old Rabbi, Akiba Dumer.“Akiba Dumer left us, a victim of the selection. Lately, he had wandered among us, his eyes glazed, telling everyone of his weakness: “I can’t go on . . . It’s all over . . .” It was impossible to raise his morale. He didn’t listen to what we told him. He could only repeat that all was over for him. . . . Suddenly his eyes would become blank, nothing but two open wounds, two pits of terror.
Then Wiesel makes this provocative comment:_ “Poor Akiba Dumer, if he could have gone on believing in God, if he could have seen a proof of God in this Calvary, he would not have been taken by the selection_”
Elie Wiesel, Night [New York: Bantam Books, 1982, orig. 1960],