Samuel Liebewert first went to Germany before he arrived in France. During World War II, he was interned at the Camp des Milles near Aix-en-Provence. In this camp, which was a former brick factory, most prisoners were foreigners of German origin, many of them artists and political refugees exiled in France. On September 7, 1942, he was deported on convoy number 29. He was murdered by the Nazis.
“The paintings in the Camp des Milles’ refectory were produced by the interned artists. All four walls were painted. On the east-facing wall, one can see Harvest and Grape Harvest on either side of a portrait of Marshal Pétain. All characters have blank faces and are absorbed in their work. The western wall represents the Banquet of the Nations where various peoples indulge in a feast, which parodies the Last Supper. On the northern and southern walls, the artists depicted their dreams of freedom. ‘If your plates are not filled, may our drawings calm your hunger.’ This sentence, painted on the northern wall of the refectory, is evidence of malnutrition, which is also expressed through the prisoners’ fantastical drawings: a boat-shaped ham, a huge cherry jar, sardines trying to escape from their box, exotic fruits, etc.” (Monique Pomey, catalogue of the exhibition “Painters at Camp des Milles, September 1939-Summer 1941,” Galerie d’art Espace 13, Aix-en- Provence, Editions Actes Sud, 1997.)
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.