University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
chgs@umn.edu
612-624-0256


CHGS

Jerome Witkin

Jerome Witkin was born in the United States and educated at Skowhegn School of Painting and Sculpture, Cooper Union, The Berlin Academy and The University of Pennsylvania. He is recognized as one of the most formidable contemporary figurative painters and a master of realism. The Holocaust and contemporary violence have been subjects of great interest to him and appear in several of his works over his lengthy career.

Artist Statement

"The Nazis had so-called 'brownhouses,' and they would pull in Jews or Communists or people who were homopsexuals and beat them to death. There was a whole  litany of people being forced to watch somebody being killed or raped. Why these things happen and hy people do such things, I don't know, but I think they tap into a kind of cultural madness. If this society continues to the next two thousand years, people will be looking at the twentieth century and saying, 'What did artists do about these strange goings-on?" the survivors.

Artworks: Witness and Legacy

The Beating Station: Berlin

The Beating Station, Berlin, 1993 Oil on canvas
144 x 300

Left sections of the canvas show an S.A. "Brown House," where a well-dressed woman was pulled off the street and raped. This is based on a documented story from the German press.

The Beating Station: Berlin

The Beating Station, Berlin, (detail) 1993 Oil on canvas
144x300

Middle and right scenes show other acts of brutality committed by the S.A., or "Brownshirts," Hitler's private army.

The Beating Station: Berlin

The Beating Station, Berlin, (detail) 1993 Oil on canvas
144 x 300

Detail far right shows other bloody victims of Nazi brutality.

The Beating Station: Berlin

The Beating Station: Berlin, (detail) 1993 Oil on canvas
144 x 300

The poster on the wall focuses on Jews as victims. However, after the law of September 15, 1935, it theoretically became a violation of the law to rape a Jewish woman.

Page updated 2013.