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Tuesday, July 09, 2024 

Disney characters illustrated by Holocaust survivors

Israel Hayom has an article about a new exhibition at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum featuring Disney-inspired artwork drawn by Holocaust survivors at least 80 years ago:
The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum is set to showcase a collection of Disney-inspired artworks created by Holocaust survivors and victims. These rare pieces, including a Pinocchio-adorned jar buried to escape Nazi persecution and a Mickey Mouse birthday card preserved for over seven decades, offer a unique window into how Jews, especially children, found solace and expression through familiar cartoon characters during one of history's darkest periods.

For 80 years, these artworks remained hidden, some wrapped, damaged, or concealed, yet they managed to survive the journey from concentration camps and ghettos. Often the sole possessions of Holocaust survivors, they have now found their way into Yad Vashem's collections.

As part of the "relocation" to the new Shaffer collections center, which houses millions of historical artifacts – objects, documents, artworks, and photographs from countless sources – artistic treasures created by Jews during the Holocaust have been uncovered. Most of these were made by children and teenagers who expressed their emotions through works featuring characters familiar to almost everyone – Walt Disney films.

"One of the most touching Disney drawings was created in March 1941, at the height of the war, inspired by the film 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,'" curator Eliad Moreh-Rosenberg, director of Yad Vashem's Art Collection, says. "Henri Kichka, father of Michel Kichka, was then a 15-year-old boy who had lost his family in the gas chambers and found refuge in the magical world of fairy tales. After the war, he returned to Brussels and collected items from the family apartment, including this drawing which he gave to his daughter Hanna, who immigrated to Israel in 1970. Hanna passed the drawing to her son Yaron, who received a dedication from his grandfather – 'To Yaron, from his grandpa.'"
Well this is incredible, and demonstrates the positive influence and inspiration Walt Disney provided even for Jews over in Europe during its dark days of the 20th century. Including the story of Snow White, which should make clear that, if Disney studios is still going ahead with their woke vision for a live action film, it'll only make a mockery of the meaning the original 1930s cartoon had in its time. Hopefully, justice has prevailed on that subject, seeing how they delayed any live action movie that was in the can. Yad Vashem and their contributors have done an important service, proving what positive influence the Disney cartoons had in their time for victims of persecution as much as the regular moviegoer.

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