Maja Berezowska

The artist was living in Paris in the 1930s when the newspaper ICI Paris published her series of caricatures The Love Affairs of the Sweet Adolf , which mocked Adolf Hitler. In the aftermath of the publication, the German Embassy accused Berezowska of insulting the head of state. The lawsuit ended with a token fine imposed on the artist and her name inscribed on the Nazi blacklist. Her guilt was not forgotten. She had to stay in hiding during the war and was captured by the Gestapo in 1942 as a result of denunciation, which led to her imprisonment at the Pawiak prison in Warsaw. The same year, she was officially convicted of insulting Hitler and sent to the women’s camp in Ravensbrück with a death sentence. Berezowska further pursued her art both at Pawiak and at the concentration camp, depicting scenes from prison life, such as Cell 47, The Bog, Cleanliness Inspection, and from the camp, such as Janina Peretjatkowicz Talking about Constellations during a Roll Call at Ravensbrück and Jadwiga Kopijowska Delivering a Speech before the Start of a New Year’s Crèche at Ravensbrück. She survived the camp, portraying extremely exhausted fellow inmates and emaciated guards, whom she always depicted as ruddy, full of life and oozing health.

Maja Berezowska (b. 1893 in Baranowicze, d. 1978 in Warsaw) – Polish painter, graphic artist and caricaturist, known primarily for her subtle erotically themed graphic works. In the interwar period, her drawings and illustrations were published in popular weeklies, such as Szpilki and Cyrulik Warszawski. During World War II, she was first imprisoned at the Pawiak prison and later sent to the Ravensbrück camp. In 1946, Berezowska returned permanently to Warsaw, where she spent the rest of her life working as an illustrator and stage designer.

Show description