|Born||1929 (age 89–90)|
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, 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, 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, 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.
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.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 is a town in northern Slovakia in the Žilina Region. It is the historical capital of the Orava region.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 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 is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.
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.
The Kindertransport was an organised rescue effort that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. The United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi Germany, Nazi-occupied Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, and the Free City of Danzig. The children were placed in British foster homes, hostels, schools and farms. Often they were the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust. Most importantly, the programme was supported, publicised and encouraged by the British Government, which waived some immigration requirements.
Felix Nussbaum was a German-Jewish surrealist painter. Nussbaum’s artwork gives a rare glimpse into the essence of one individual among the victims of the Holocaust.
There is a wide range of ways in which people have represented the Holocaust in popular culture.
Rudolf "Rudi" Vrba was a Slovak-Jewish biochemist who, as a teenager in 1942, was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. He became known for having escaped from the camp in April 1944, at the height of the Holocaust, and for having co-written a detailed report about the mass murder that was taking place there. Distribution of the report by George Mantello in Switzerland is credited with having halted the mass deportation of Hungary's Jews to Auschwitz in July 1944, saving more than 200,000 lives. After the war Vrba trained as a biochemist, working mostly in England and Canada.
Jews in Bohemia, today's Czech Republic, are predominantly Ashkenazi Jews, and the current Jewish population is only a fraction of the pre-Holocaust Jewish population. As of 2005, there were approximately 4,000 Jews living in the Czech Republic. There is evidence that Jews have lived in Moravia and Bohemia since as early as the 10th century.
Paradise Camp is a 1986 documentary film about Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, written and directed by Australians Paul Rea and Frank Heimans, respectively. Czechoslovakian Jews were first told that Theresienstadt was a community established for their safety. They quickly recognized it as a ghetto and concentration camp.
Ferdinand Ďurčanský was a Slovak nationalist leader who for a time served with as a minister in the government of the Axis-aligned Slovak State in 1939 and 1940. He was known for spreading virulent antisemitic propaganda, although he left the government before the Holocaust in Slovakia was fully implemented. After the war, he joined the Gehlen Organization.
Karel Reiner was a Czech composer and pianist, persecuted by Nazis as a Jew and by communists as a formalist, but he was member of communist party to 1968. He was the only classical composer to survive the concentration camp in Theresienstadt.
Art and Remembrance: The Legacy of Felix Nussbaum is a 1993 documentary directed by Barbara Pfeffer, which explores the life of Jewish artist, Felix Nussbaum.
František Reichentál, also known as Frank/Ferenc, Reichenthal/Reichen-tal, was a Jewish Eastern European modern artist. He is known for paintings depicting his experiences of childhood poverty, captivity as a prisoner of war in Russia, escape from the Nazis, and finally fleeing from the Communists to start over in the United States.
Max van Dam was a Dutch artist born in Winterswijk. He died in the Sobibor extermination camp.
Greta Loebl Schreyer, born Greta Loebl, was an Austrian-American, Jewish jewelry designer and painter. She survived the Holocaust and died in New York City.
Karol Hochberg was a collaborator during the Holocaust, who led the "Department for Special Affairs" within the Ústredňa Židov, the Judenrat in Bratislava which was created by the Nazis to direct the Jewish community of Slovakia.
Karel František Koch was a Czech doctor known for rescuing Jews in Bratislava during the Holocaust. After the Communist takeover, he was jailed, but managed to escape the country shortly after the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and settled in Canada.
Peter Bielik is a Slovak historian, who withdrew his candidacy for director of the National Memory Institute due to controversy over his remarks blaming Jewish Holocaust survivors for the September 1945 Topoľčany pogrom.
In August 1942, Jozef Tiso, president of the Slovak State and a Catholic priest, gave a speech in Holič, Slovakia, in which he defended the deportation of Jews from Slovakia. Referring to Jews as "parasites" and "the eternal enemy", Tiso claimed that their deportation was both economically necessary and congruent with Christian moral principles. The speech has been recognized as a key part of Tiso's moral legacy, emblematic of his complicity in the Holocaust.
Tibor Kováč (1905–1952) was an activist in the illegal Working Group resistance organization during the Holocaust in Slovakia; he also worked for the welfare department of the Ústredňa Židov (ÚŽ), the Judenrat in the Slovak State.
Presidential exemptions were granted by President of the Slovak State Jozef Tiso to individual Jews, exempting them from systematic persecution through anti-Jewish legislation introduced by Tiso's Jewish Code,, during the Holocaust. The exemptions were exchanged for arbitrary monetary fees. From an estimated 20,000 requests, 600 documented exemptions covering 1,000 people were granted, but only after 1942, when deportations to Auschwitz death camp had already stopped. Following the German invasion of 1944, when deportations resumed, all exemptions were nullified.
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)