Michel FINK (born Moïse Finkelstein)

EKATERINOSLAV (UKRAINE) 1919 – DEPORTED TO AUSCHWITZ 1945

Michel Fink’s father was a writer and moved to France with his family in 1927. They settled in Arras, in the north of France. Michel Fink, who had started drawing when he was young, attended a drawing school in 1931. That same year, he arrived in Paris, visited the Louvre and took classes at the Lycée Michelet (high school). He set up an artistic discussion circle within his school and organized lectures, notably on Rembrandt. He painted portraits and later also painted landscapes and still lifes. After being awarded the bronze medal at the drawing competition in 1937, he left the Lycée Michelet, enrolled at university, and later at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.

On April 15, 1940, Fink was sent to Annecy to paint in a military hospital and to Périgueux where he decorated the dining room of the officers’ barracks. Shortly afterwards, he joined the Resistance and became the copy editor of the underground Jewish journal Quand même. He distributed tracts in order to recruit young people and helped Jews escape to Spain and Switzerland. On May 26, 1944, he was arrested by the militia in Toulouse and was interned in Drancy.

On June 30, 1944, he was deported on convoy number 76 to Monovitz, a camp for political prisoners in Auschwitz. There, he worked alongside a group of painters. On January 19, 1945, the Nazis evacuated the men in the camp to Ganaker. As Soviet and American Allied forces joined in Germany, Michel Fink was exhausted and stayed in a military hospital until April 1945. He died of exhaustion in 1945.