Tibor Spitz

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Tibor Spitz
Born1929 (age 8990)

Tibor Spitz (born 1929) is a Slovak-born artist and a Holocaust survivor. After escaping from communist Czechoslovakia to the West he lived and worked in Canada and the United States. He currently resides in Kingston, New York.

Slovakia Republic in Central Europe

Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the west, and the Czech Republic to the northwest. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5.4 million and consists mostly of Slovaks. The capital and largest city is Bratislava, and the second-largest city is Košice. The official language is Slovak.

The Holocaust Genocide of the European Jews by Nazi Germany and other groups

The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the World War II genocide of the European Jews. Between 1941 and 1945, across German-occupied Europe, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews, around two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population. The murders were carried out in pogroms and mass shootings; by a policy of extermination through labour in concentration camps; and in gas chambers and gas vans in German extermination camps, chiefly Auschwitz, Bełżec, Chełmno, Majdanek, Sobibór, and Treblinka in occupied Poland.

Czechoslovakia 1918–1992 country in Central Europe, predecessor of the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

Contents

Biography

In 1929, Tibor Spitz was born in a small town called Dolný Kubín in the high mountains of northern Slovakia, that time part of Czechoslovakia. [1] His father was a cantor for the Jewish community and mother was a teacher. He survived Holocaust at age 15, studied chemistry in Prague and in 1968 escaped to the West to live in Canada and later in the United States. After his career as a scientist, he became a professional artist and lecturer on Holocaust.

Dolný Kubín Town in Slovakia

Dolný Kubín is a town in northern Slovakia in the Žilina Region. It is the historical capital of the Orava region.

Prague Capital city of the Czech Republic

Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the northwest of the Czech Republic on the Vltava river, Prague is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.

Western world Countries that identify themselves with an originally European shared culture

The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various nations depending on the context, most often including at least parts of Europe, Australasia, and the Americas, with the status of Latin America disputed by some. There are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world.

Tibor Spitz was born in a Slovak part of Czechoslovakia that kept changing from democracy to a fascist Nazi regime followed by the Soviet style communism. Because of his Jewish origin, between the ages 10 to 15 he was not allowed to attend public schools and for three years he was doomed to be either murdered on the spot or deported to a death camp in nearby Poland. He was 12 when almost all his deported relatives vanished without a trace in Nazi Death & Labor camps. After merely surviving the Nazi era he wanted to study art as did his older brother. However, the already established communist regime arranged for him to study chemistry. After graduations he worked as an engineer, Ph.D. scientist and glass technology expert in Czechoslovak glass industry Research and development institutions. In 1968 he was returning to complete his two years assignment in Cuban glass industry when he and his wife Noemi (during an airplane refueling stop in Canada) escaped to the West. Nine years later they moved from Canada to the United States. 30 years in glass industry had followed 14 years working as a scientist developing hi-tech magnetic recording heads for computers and VCRs.

Communism socialist political movement and ideology

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

Extermination camp Nazi death camps established during World War II to primarily murder Jews

Nazi Germany built extermination camps during the Holocaust in World War II, to systematically murder millions of Jews. Others were murdered at the death camps as well, including Poles, Soviet POWs, and Roma. The victims of death camps were primarily killed by gassing, either in permanent installations constructed for this specific purpose, or by means of gas vans. Some Nazi camps, such as Auschwitz and Majdanek, served a dual purpose before the end of the war in 1945: extermination by poison gas, but also through extreme work under starvation conditions.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Suppressed memories of his tragic childhood required an outlet only art could fully provide. Communist country where he lived for two decades would not tolerate it, while political freedoms in the West fully supported his free artistic expressions. Next to his scientific and technical profession Tibor Spitz became simultaneously an active artist as well. The unusually creative artistic environment in both Kingston and nearby Woodstock, New York gradually turned him into a professional artist. As his interest in art continued growing, besides painting he has been also sculpting, making ceramics, wood carvings and wood burnings. When he discovered that impressionists have not fully exhausted all their artistic possibilities, his painting techniques gradually gravitated toward pointillism and neo-impressionism. Besides initial hounding faces and figurative scenes associated with Holocaust, Judaism and Jewish mystical teachings Kabbalah, he also added fishing scenes, musicians, horses, still-life and landscapes. College courses as well as directions from his mentor Meyer Lieberman were great help in developing his artistic skills.

Woodstock, New York Town in New York, United States

Woodstock is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 5,884 at the 2010 census, down from 6,241 at the 2000 census. Woodstock is in the northern part of the county, northwest of Kingston, and lies within the borders of the Catskill Park.

Pointillism technique of painting with small, distinct dots

Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.

Neo-impressionism art movement

Neo-Impressionism is a term coined by French art critic Félix Fénéon in 1886 to describe an art movement founded by Georges Seurat. Seurat's most renowned masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, marked the beginning of this movement when it first made its appearance at an exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. Around this time, the peak of France's modern era emerged and many painters were in search of new methods. Followers of Neo-Impressionism, in particular, were drawn to modern urban scenes as well as landscapes and seashores. Science-based interpretation of lines and colors influenced Neo-Impressionists' characterization of their own contemporary art. The Pointillist and Divisionist techniques are often mentioned in this context, because it was the dominant technique in the beginning of the Neo-impressionist movement.

His art was exhibited in many solo and group shows. Galleries, museums, schools, colleges as well as cultural, scientific, religious and public institutions were interested in both his presentations and exhibitions. During last decades, solo exhibitions of his art were held numerous times in New York State, New Jersey, Canada, in his native Slovakia, in Prague, Art Society of Kingston, HCT, Gallery SEVEN21 and many others.

In 1997 an American art historian Matthew Baigell included his biography and reproduction of his painting in his book "Jewish-American artists and the Holocaust". In 2008 a Canadian drama director V. Toth used his paintings in her book "Shalom" issued in both Canada. His achievements were described in dozens of media reports published in several countries. A documentary movie titled "TIBOR SPITZ - Portraits of successful Slovaks abroad" (2015) was shown in both Slovakia, Canada and on Slovak Television.

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References

  1. Matthew Baigwell. Jewish-American artists and the holocaust. Rutgers University Press. ISBN   0813524040 . Retrieved April 2, 2013.

2. Valeria Tothova: SHALOM. Kanadska zakladna pre umenie a divadlo. Toronto, Canada, 2008 (book)

3. V. & D. Toth: TIBOR SPITZ - Portrety uspesnych Slovakov. Documentary film. Toronske Slovenske Divadlo, 2015 (documentary film)