David Friedman(n) [1893-1980] was a painter and graphics artist in Berlin renowned for his portraits drawn from life. His quick-sketching talents led to an additional career as a leading press artist of the 1920’s. However, almost his complete works were looted by the Gestapo in 1941. David depicted human fate as a refugee in Prague, as a prisoner in the Lodz Ghetto, in the Gleiwitz I sub-camp of Auschwitz, and as a survivor. He survived the Lodz Ghetto by sketching portraits of officials in exchange for provisions. In Gleiwitz I, his artistic skills were recognized and his life spared by the whims of the SS. His wife and little daughter were ultimately killed despite his efforts to save them. Though David eventually remarried and built a new life first in Czechoslovakia, then Israel, Chicago, and finally in St. Louis, Missouri, he continued painting scenes from his tortured past. The responsibility of bearing witness weighed heavily on his conscience, even before his liberation. To give form to all that misery, to show it to the world - this was always his intent. Torn from his memories, he created the powerful series, Because They Were Jews!
David’s daughter Miriam from his second marriage has spent her life consumed by a drive to rescue his legacy from oblivion and ensure its rightful place in history. Knowing that his work would best survive through her own perseverance, Miriam has found herself on her own journey which has led to personal discovery unveiling lost history and prewar works. David’s art weaves a tapestry of the joys and horrors that he experienced, witnessed and chronicled. Significant exhibitions of her father’s art resulting from her successful pursuits have created a stronger conviction to preserve the legacy of David Friedmann for future generations.