Yad Vashem to give Bush artistic gift

Bush to receive replicas of biblical illustrations by Holocaust survivors.

yad vasem bush gift (photo credit: Courtesy)
yad vasem bush gift
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A replica of a collection of Biblical illustrations created by a Holocaust victim while hiding from the Nazis during World War II will be presented to US President George W. Bush during his visit to Yad Vashem next week. The symbolic gift, which was created by the artist Carol Deutsch, includes 99 prints depicting various biblical scenes in living color which were stored inside a hand-crafted wooden box adorned with a Star of David and a seven-branched menorah with Hebrew and English inscriptions. Deutsch, who was a disciple of the well-known Belgium painter James Ensor, created the biblical illustrations while in hiding in Belgium between 1941-1942, after failing to obtain immigration visas for his family to the United States following the German invasion of Belgium in May 1940. Denounced by an informant, Deutsch and his wife were arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and deported to Auschwitz, where his wife was gassed to death. Deutsch perished in Buchenwald in December 1944. He was 50 years old. Before the artist was seized by the Nazis, he left the Biblical illustrations to his two-year-old daughter, Ingrid, who survived the Holocaust after being hidden with her grandmother with a Catholic family in southeast Belgium. The original prints, which were uncovered in their looted flat intact after the war, are on display at Yad Vashem's Museum of Holocaust Art. Bush will tour Yad Vashem on Friday on the last day of his three-day visit to Israel. Ahead of the presidential visit, museum officials decided to make 500 replicas of the Biblical illustrations, and the box they came in, with the first replica to be presented to Bush by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. "The illustrations have a universal message that art and beauty can and will survive even under the most trying of circumstances," said Debbie Deutsch-Berman, Deutsch's grand-niece who moved to Israel from New York City and who works at Yad Vashem. "They are a testament to the human spirit, and are his lasting legacy," she concluded.