Human Laundry, Belsen: April 1945

Human Laundry, Belsen: April 1945
Doris Zinkeisen
Human Laundry, Belsen: April 1945

oil
78.7 x 99cm
IWM ART LD 5468

The “human laundry” consisted of about twenty beds in a stable where German nurses and captured soldiers cut the hair of the inmates, bathed them, and applied anti-louse powder before their transfer to an improvised hospital run by the Red Cross. “Laundry” aptly described the pitifully flimsy condition of the victims. The tension in the composition lies in the enforced dealings between the emaciated and feeble former inmates and the overtly healthy medical staff treating them.