Exhibit of 'Forbidden Art' made in concentration camp goes on display in Philadelphia

Justin Udo
November 11, 2019 - 2:41 pm
Photo of the  'Forbidden Art' exhibit that is now on display at the National Liberty Museum.

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia is playing host to a unique exhibit that takes a special look at the Holocaust, and it's made up of art that was once banned. 

There are a number of different punishments prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp could have faced if they were found out to have created art, but that didn't stop them.

"Some of the art is very colorful, beautiful drawing, and others were created by prisoners who maybe used a piece of cement bag, and a piece of charcoal," said Gwen Borowsky, CEO of the National Liberty Museum.

Now, more than a dozen pictures of those art pieces help make up the new Forbidden Art exhibit at the museum.

"It's not photographs or drawings of gruesome atrocities, it's actually is the opposite. The art shows resistance and how the human spirit was fighting hatred and bigotry and the persecution," said Joseph Finkelstein, the son of Auschwitz survivors. 

Finkelstein wants these works to bring up issues that he says need to be addressed.

"This is a very important way to bring to Philadelphia the topic of what it is that causes and what it is that could prevent hatred, bigotry, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, racism," he said. 

Borowsky adds the exhibit is an opportunity to educate and awe.

"They are each encased in their own exhibit that is built of wood to mimic the look of the barracks with a description of the artist," she said. 

Finkelstein says the art shows the fight of the human spirit. 

"When you come to see this exhibit it's not going to give you answers. It's going to give you questions, and you need to pursue those questions," Finkelstein added. 

The exhibit is on display through April.