Loading the Jews in open box cars

Place Europe: Poland
Accession Number ART90346
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 16.1 x 24 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description pencil on paper
Maker Slawik, Bernard
Place made Poland: Lwow
Date made c 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


A survivor of the Holocaust, Bernard Slawik escaped from Janowska concentration camp in Lvov, in occupied Poland, a transit point for Jews being taken to the gas chambers of Belzec, near Lublin. The transportation of Jews from ghettos in eastern Polish towns to Belzec extermination camp or the Janowska camp was a daily event. Janowska was originally a labour camp, but by mid-1943 it was becoming an extermination camp in its own right. Jewish prisoners were transported in open freight cars or box cars, guarded by soldiers carrying sub-machine guns. Many tried to jump from the cars. Some were shot and killed immediately, while others escaped but with broken bones. Slawik made drawings of both the camp and ghetto in which he had lived in Lvov. After he came to Australia, he compulsively reworked these images, so that they would bear witness to the Holocaust.