1st Edition

Through an Artist's Eyes The Dehumanization and Racialization of Jews and Political Dissidents During the Third Reich

By Willa Johnson Copyright 2021
    246 Pages 15 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 15 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers visual, social-historical analyses of paintings and drawings of the renowned German Communist artist Karl Schwesig. It follows the course of Schwesig’s internments, but is dedicated primarily to the plight of foreign Jewish persons and Christians (of Jewish descent) who were interned at Camps Saint-Cyprien, Gurs, and Noé in the French free zone. The artworks created by Schwesig provide the themes investigated in each chapter. The works describe the dehumanizing treatment that contributed to and characterized the racialization of foreign Jewish and “mixed-race” persons in France’s free zone and the attempted elimination of political dissidents. The volume includes color plates.

    List of Figures




    Chapter One. “I Fought National Cannibalism with . . . Art”: Karl Schwesig, the Ethos of Düsseldorf, and the Weight of Stigmatization, 1933-1939
    Chapter Two. “The Inferno or Hell of [Camp] Saint-Cyprien,” 1939-1940

    Chapter Three. “Many of These Unfortunate People Are Intellectuals”: Art, Culture, Illness and Death at Camp Gurs

    Chapter Four. “They Are All Special Cases of Ill and Old People Who Need Better Care Than the Ordinary Intern”:  Opening Our Eyes to Camp Noé

    Chapter Five. “Cruelty . . . That Dehumanizes Its Victims Before It Destroys Them”: The Violence of Racialization


    Willa M. Johnson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Mississippi. She has been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem’s Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem, and the 2012–13 Cummings Foundation Fellow at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC.