Ben Uri collection

Pages from the Diary of David Rubinowicz

Artist information

Name Shmuel Dresner (1928-)

Born Warsaw, Poland

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Shmuel Dresner was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1928. He was twelve years old when he and his family were forced into the Jewish Ghetto. After attempting to escape, he was caught and held as a slave labourer at Buchenwald, and then at Theresienstadt. At the end of the Second World war, with the aid of the Central British Fund for German Jewry and the agreement of the British government, Dresner came to England as a refugee in 1945. He settled in Windermere and spend four years in a medical sanatorium, where he first began to paint, partly as a form of therapy.

In 1949 he enrolled at London’s Heatherley School of Fine Art, before studying at the Central School of Art in 1953. In 1956 he moved to Paris and attended the André Lhote Academy, all the while searching for a visual ‘language’ in which to respond to his experiences. Dresner exhibited extensively between 1955-1981 including a number of solo exhibitions. His work features in numerous private and public collections in Great Britain, the United States, Germany and Israel.

Object Details

Date 2005

Object type collage

Medium collage

Unframed 27 x 33 cm

Framed 35 x 42.5 cm

Signed lower left 'S.D. 2005'

Acquisition presented by the artist, 2015

Accession number 2015-01

Display status not on display

In this work, the artist avoids direct depiction of trauma, but using torn and burnt pages directly references the Burning of the Books authorised by the Nazis in Berlin on 10 May 1933. The subject of this work, David Rubinowicz, was born in Poland in 1927 and began writing a diary around 1940, documenting his experience of persecution as a Jew. His last entry comments on the joy of his reunion with his father, who had been sent to a labour camp. Three and a half months later, Rubinowicz was himself transported to the camp at Treblinka where he perished.


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© Shmuel Dresner