Tova Berlinski, artist who painted the pain of Auschwitz, dies at 106

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Born in 1915 in Oswiecim as Gustawolf, the daughter of a Hasidic rabbi, Tovabarinski died in Jerusalem on Sunday. She was 106 years old.

Berlinski is known for her desolate landscape and dark, black flowers and is usually dedicated to parents and siblings killed in the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz, within 2 km of her parents’ home. ..

The artist educated at the Bezarel Academy left for Palestine in 1938, shortly after marrying Eliyaf Berlinsky, the eldest son of Wolf’s six children.

Berlinski arrived in Palestine on an illegal immigrant ship, attempted to live in Kibbutz, and eventually settled in Jerusalem. There Toba Berlinski studied at BezAleel and became part of the national art scene.

She had good memories of the town where the Nazis built Auschwitz, Oswiecim, and the extermination camp where her family died.

Many of Berlinsky’s works portray the pain of the Holocaust and the family she lost to the Nazis, a pain that never leaves her, Berlinsky told The New York Times in 2017.

An untitled painting by Tova Berlinski was donated to the Auschwitz Museum. Paper mixing technique, 2000-2005 (Courtesy of Auschwitz Museum)

She presented her work in Paris, Amsterdam and London, won the Jerusalem Prize in 1963, and the Mordehaiish Shalom Award in 2000 for her unique contribution to the work and art of her life.

Berlinski later donated one of her paintings to the Auschwitz Museum. This is a painting of a gray flower in a glass vase, reflecting the ashes and ghosts of the former concentration camp.

Berlinsky continued to paint until his later years. This includes a recent solo exhibition at the local Jerusalem gallery at the age of 102, with several paintings infused with more colors than usual.

Recent paintings by Tova Berlinski, part of a solo exhibition at the age of 102 in Jerusalem (courtesy)

She was reported in the New York Times to say that the colors returned to her paintings around her 102nd birthday.

“The color has returned to me,” Berlinsky said. “For me, not for my life. I don’t know why.”

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