January 3, 2019
January 3, 2019

David OLÈRE (also known as David Oler)

WARSAW 1902 – PARIS 1985

David Olere studied painting at the fine art school in Warsaw until 1918, then left Poland for Danzig and Berlin. Between 1921 and 1922, he was hired by the Europaische Film Allianz as assistant architect, painter, and sculptor. In Berlin, he worked with Ernst Lubitsch and designed the sets for The Loves of Pharoah, starring Emil Jannings. He also frequented the actress Pola Negri. Olere arrived in Paris in 1923, settling in Montparnasse. As a film designer, he also created costumes and advertising posters for Paramount Pictures, Fox Films, and Columbia Pictures. In 1930, he married Juliette Ventura, with whom he had a son Alexandre Oler. In 1937, he moved to Noisy-le- Grand in the Paris suburbs.

At the outbreak of war, Olere was called up in the 134th infantry regiment at Lons-le-Saunier in the Jura. On 20 February 1943, he was arrested and interned at Drancy, then deported to Auschwitz on convoy 49. He survived thanks to his skill as a draftsman. He spoke several languages—Polish, Russian, Yiddish, French, English, and German. On 19 January 1945, during the evacuation of Auschwitz, he was forced to participate in the “death march.” He was moved successively to the camps of Mauthausen, Melck, and Ebensee, where he was liberated by the American army. At the Liberation, Olere drew his Mémento, 50 drawings depicting the world of the concentation camp. Keeping the promise made to his exterminated friends, his work denounces the Nazi crimes, to prevent their being forgotten and to honor the Holocaust martyrs. His works are preserved in the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.


Stories of Jewish Artists of the School of Paris 1905-1939


Capitale des arts, le Paris des années 1905-1939 attire les artistes du monde entier. De cette période de foisonnement, un terme est resté, celui d'Ecole de Paris, qui recouvre une grande diversité d'expression artistique. Dans ce brassage dont Montparnasse est le creuset, un groupe se distingue : celui des artistes juifs venus de Russie, de Pologne et d'Europe centrale. Si leurs styles sont variés, un destin commun les rassemble : ils fuient l'antisémitisme de leur pays d'origine. Certains ont connu la célébrité dès les années 1920, tels Soutine, Lipchitz ou Chagall. D'autres n'ont pas eu le temps ou la chance d'y accéder. Près de la moitié a péri dans les camps de concentration nazis.

From 1905 to 1939, Paris attracted artists from all over the globe as the capital of the art world. This period of artistic proliferation became known as the School of Paris, and includes a great diversity of artistic expression. Within the teeming art world centred on Montparnasse, one group set itself apart: Jewish artists from Russia, Poland, and Central Europe. Although their styles were diverse, they shared the common fate of fleeing anti-Semitic persecutions in their home countries. Some became famous in the 1920s, such as Soutine, Lipchitz, and Chagall, while others did not have the time or the luck to gain renown. Nearly half of these artists died in Nazi concentration camps.