Mengele’s portraitist, prisoner A7740, also captured the beauty of his native region.

Mengeleho portrétista zachytával aj rodný región

15.02.2017 News

Mengele’s portraitist, prisoner A7740, also captured the beauty of his native region.

The portraits for the insane Nazi doctor Mengele saved him from a cruel fate. Thanks to the portraits he survived the concentration camp. Little big man, Ľudovít Feld, known collectively by the older generation of Košice under the nickname "Lajoš báči ". Even though the Košice native got to the Nazi concentration camp, he was lucky enough that he passed away decades after the war in his hometown. The public knows his portraits and chilling scenes of the Holocaust. Feld, however, in his artistic creation displayed a regard for the region as a place, in which each of us feels the recessed roots, peace and refuge.

Through art he depicted not just his hometown, but also, for example, Zádiel, Čingov, and the regions of Gemer and Spiš. "In the context of his life drama, it is evident that he had an interest in recording and capturing environments, which were in the time before the war and after it, a source of peace, Feld’s haven," told Michal Štofa about this part of the great artist’s creation, a curator of Feld’s exhibition at the East Slovak Gallery. "In the old town of Košice, after the war, he redefined his memories, and often captured them as he remembered from before the war, when his acquaintances and family still lived there. What is also interesting is his connection to nature and the ruins of castles, like a certain mementos of human activities 'frozen in time’ outside the town but in nature, which is today so far removed from human activities, "added M. Štofa.

He had a live memory of Mengele’s face, but he never made a portrait of him.

Despite Feld’s significant physical anomaly, he became a court draftsman to the Nazi doctor, for whom Feld had recorded monstrous experiments, and prisoners with various mental and genetic anomalies. He was Mengle’s so called personal chronicler. The Košice artist, as one of the people who have gotten out of the concentration camp at Auschwitz alive, claimed that, he would never forget Mengele’s face till his death and would be able to draw his portrait any time.  Yet he never did, it was his personal protest, a kind of form of revenge.

Ľudovít Feld was born in a poor Jewish family, but, unlike most of his eight siblings, he stopped growing at the age of eight. His life path was a thorny one, not just because of his disability, with which he had to live, but he also had to overcome ridicule from his surroundings too.  He was left to live in a kind of a closed world of his own, as a Jew, perhaps for fear of persecution he converted to Christianity. His family disowned him, and Christians did not accept him because he was a Jew. When the moment for deportation had come, Feld declined the offer from a student and a care-taker who wanted to conceal him. He wanted to be with his family even though they disowned him, and so he volunteered and traveled to a "Museum" of the Nazi atrocities at Auschwitz. His parents and siblings died in the concentration camp, altogether 20 relatives. From his whole family, only "Lajoš báči " and his sister survived.

Even though he died in obscurity and poverty, he receives more and more tributes nowadays, over 20 years after his death. In the court of the Jewish synagogue on Puškinova Street in Kosice, stands his statue by Juraj Bartusz. The pictures, which were painted by Feld in Auschwitz were never found.