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250 × 190 × 32 mm
400 pages
230 illustrations, 200 in colour
11 Jun 2018
  • £35.00

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Judenmord Art and the Holocaust in Post-war Germany Kathrin Hoffman-Curtius

In remembering the murder of the Jews during the period of National Socialism in Germany, the contribution made by artists in the first twenty years after the end of the war has been largely ignored. But how did artists deal with their own experiences and relate these to what they saw, heard and read about the Holocaust? What images of the Jews were presented to the Germans after the end of the brutal regime? And did works of art in Germany contribute to a re-education process, new ways of thinking in both East and West Germany, and the culture of memory?

Judenmord is the first collection of works of art specifically by German artists from the end of the war to the end of the 1960s that comment on the Holocaust. It presents paintings, drawings and etchings that bring to light the persecution of the Jews, and examines how artists reacted to injustice in a social situation where the majority stayed silent. Featuring an unfamiliar array of works, by artists such as Otto Pankok, Lea Grundig, Ludwig Meidner, Werner Tübke, Wolf Vostell, Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter, and including those by former camp inmates, this is essential reading for all those interested in the history of art and the Holocaust.

‘A fascinating work by Kathrin Hoffman-Curtius, first published in German and now made available in English. The author brings to light the little-known works of German art made in the 20 years after the Second World War, which address the Holocaust. Hoffman-Curtius handles both West and East Germany, explaining the denial of German guilt that stifled both countries.’ — The Art Newspaper

‘Artists and theorists have declared in uncounted statements that it is impossible to represent Auschwitz and that autonomic art is not at all assigned to depict facts. Isn’t it a justification? Kathrin Hoffmann-Curtius’ book therefore has to be considered as a ‘despite-book’, reading art history against the grain, against denial and claimed impossibility of depiction.’ — Eduard Beaucamp, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

‘Kathrin Hoffman-Cutius’ excellent and informative new book Judenmord enters directly into this field of debate by expanding the art-historical frame of reference as well as exposing a more complex artistic response to genocide than scholars have previously assumed . . . We have long waited for a more comprehensive source that lays out the history of post-war German art in relation to the Holocaust. This book achieves that very goal. It is a satisfying contribution that helps us decentre the market-driven narrative (and one must say chiefly driven from the United States) of what constitutes worthy subjects of art in post-war art history . . . The dynamic between social silence and individual artistic response guides the text as a whole, making for a clear and unified work.’ — Paul B. Jaskot, Art History

‘a revelation . . . Hoffmann-Curtius trains her perceptive eye on images that take the “Judenmord” – her preferred term for the mass murder of Jews that she leaves untranslated – as their subject. Imbibing the lessons of earlier encyclopedic studies that attempted to contain the chaos of images and narratives into a collective experience, Hoffmann-Curtius treats the images that constituted the postwar culture industry in which the mass murder of Jews was brought into collective consciousness in Germany one at a time . . . With its nonhierarchical and wide-ranging image bank, Judenmord is primarily a study of the multidetermined psychology of perception, representation, reception, and memory of genocide . . . [a] startling and sensitive volume.’ — H-Judaic Reviews

‘This is the first discursive presentation of German art, from the immediate postwar years to the present, dealing with the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust. Hoffmann-Curtius examines the meaning, form, and sources of images along with their creators’ intent and the occasions on which the work was presented . . . all of it testifies to German awareness of the horror of genocidal annihilation of the Jewish people under Hitler and his henchmen. The hitherto largely ignored contribution by German artists includes graphic paintings and etchings depicting the sufferings of the Jews during WW II . . . A raw reminder of history, Judenmord makes the reader a visceral participant in the horror of the Holocaust. The discussion is supported by meticulous documentation, notes, and 232 images (206 in color) . . . Recommended.’ — D. Hutchins, Choice

‘This is a remarkable volume, filled with color plates and engaging historical and visual cross references, which aims to tell a story of twenty years of postwar artistic representation of the Shoah . . . Hoffmann-Curtius’s study brings into searing clarity and context the significance of many early German examples of artists depicting Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.’ — Holocaust and Genocide Studies

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Kathrin Hoffmann-Curtius is an independent art historian based in Berlin.