In a take-off of travel posters advertising peaceful vacation spots, Beifeld draws a picture of a Hungarian military tent pitched next to a tree on which a bird is cheerfully chirping. Next to the tent the artist writes "Peaceful Surroundings" but above, a Soviet bomber releases a bomb aimed at the tent. [Photograph #58022]
Courtesy of the estate of George Byfield; US Holocaust Memorial Museum
The uniqueness of the Beifeld album lies not only in its richness of illustration and detail of description, but in the charm of its author's sense of humor, which is displayed on nearly every page. Beifeld found himself caught in the bitterly ironic situation of being a Jewish conscript in one antisemitic army (Hungary) fighting against another antisemitic regime (Stalinist Russia) at the behest of a third, genocidal power (Nazi Germany). To cope with the awful absurdity of his situation, Beifeld resorted to a biting, sardonic form of literary and artistic expression. The humor is expressed through tongue in cheek descriptions, double entendres, sarcastic anecdotes and shocking juxtapositions in his drawings and collages.
Examine pages from the album by clicking on See artifacts and using the zoom tool to select and magnify areas of the image.
Art and Survival: György Beifeld's Visual Memoir from the Russian Front, 1942–1943 »
Beifeld Album: In the Labor Service »
Beifeld Album: Counteroffensive and Retreat »
Beifeld Album: Postwar, Assembling the Album »