Random Images: Francine Mayran

(Last Updated On December 13, 2015)

The psychiatrist and painter Francine Mayran devotes her work to the victims and survivors of genocides of the 20th century. She uses oil painting on canvas, then covers it with concrete.

Some of her paintings are about children in the Nazi holocaust (see here and here). I have selected first her painting of Anne Frank (1929–1945), the famous Jewish teenager known for her wartime diary, who died (probably of typhus) in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Francine Mayran - Anne Frank - 30cm x 40 cm oil on canvas covered with concrete

Francine Mayran – Anne Frank – 30cm x 40 cm oil on canvas covered with concrete

Next is Else Schmidt, a Roma girl about whom I know nothing. I would be grateful to readers who could provide any information about her.

Francine Mayran - Else Schmidt - 30cm x 40cm oil on canvas covered with concrete

Francine Mayran – Else Schmidt – 30cm x 40cm oil on canvas covered with concrete

Mayran’s painting of the iconic Settela Steinbach (1934–1944), “the girl with the headscarf” who was gassed in Auschwitz-Birkenau during the “Night of the Gypsies”, can be seen on Agapeta.

I am collecting information on Sidonie Adlersburg (1933–1943), another victim of the Nazi holocaust painted by Mayran. She was a Roma foundling girl adopted by an Austrian family, the Nazis used deceit to snatch her from her foster parents, then sent her to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she was contaminated with typhus and gassed. Any leads are welcome.

8 thoughts on “Random Images: Francine Mayran

  1. It’s important this work is seen since in a recent survey many people have never heard of the Holocaust.
    What may be more disturbing is the account I recall of a class of students who were asked what they thought of the Holocaust, many said although they did not like what the Nazis did, they could not say it was wrong. This reflects the fact most people today regard thier assessment of the world as only subjective and not objective. The murder of six million Jews in not just a matter of bad taste, it is objectively wrong. The preference of violence over beauty in the U.S. media seems to reflect an indifference to the value of life. I’m afraid the assumption that value is only subjective could lead to an other Holocaust.

    • THAT is indeed shocking!
      I wonder where that class of students was.
      Perhaps in Europe, where vicious anti-Jewish hatred is being stirred up by radical Islamists who have settled there?

  2. I am the painter of these portraits; I created more than 200 others. I organize big exhibitions in Europa transmitting memory of the Holocaust, of the Gipsy genocide and on other victims of the barbarity of the Nazi; I also painted the remembrance of the Armenian genocide and of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda;
    Whereas history informs, art forces us to ask ourselves about our nature and our conscience. My aim is to pass on the remembrance by honoring the victim’s memory, by keeping alive the survivors message but I want also to awaken the conscious by questioning the position of bystander and the indelible traces of any genocide for survivors, descendents and for the whole humanity. You can find book on the history of Else Schmit “Else’s Story: The story of how a little girl survived Auschwitz” by Michail krausnick (https://www.amazon.com/Else%60s-Story-little-survived-Auschwitz/dp/1500772658) and for sidonie adlersbourg ; the book on her live only exists in French or German “Abschied Von Sidonie” (German Edition) or “L’Adieu à Sidonie” (French edition) by Erich Hackl.
    You have the text here in French:

    Le 18 août 1933, un bébé fut découvert devant l’hôpital de la ville de Steyr. Sur un petit morceau de papier était écrit : “Je m’appelle Sidonie Adlersburg , née sur la route d’Altenheim. Je cherche des parents.” L’enfant de peau sombre, aux cheveux noirs, avait été manifestement abandonnée par des Tsiganes. L’hôpital la prit en charge. Sa mère appela quelque jours plus tard demandant des nouvelles, expliquant qu’elle était colporteuse et que le père Anton Larg était marchand de chevaux, tous deux dépourvus des ressources nécessaires pour la santé du bébé. Sidonie souffrait d’un défaut de calcification du tissu osseux, qui déformait ses membres et ses articulations.

    La ville de Steyr était une ville ouvrière surnommée cité du désespoir ; la misère y régnait. Ne pouvant plus financer l’hospitalisation de l’enfant, l’administration de l’Office de la jeunesse décida de le placer dans une famille d’accueil, chez Josefa et Hans Breirather, qui avaient déjà un fils. Ils élevèrent Sidonie avec amour comme leur propre enfant. Quand le médecin de famille refusa de soigner une enfant tsigane, elle fut guérie par une rebouteuse, puis grâce aux soins de sa mère survécut à une diphtérie.
    Hans appartenait au parti social démocrate et y dirigeait la section locale de la ligue de sauvegarde de la république. Il fut, de ce fait, emprisonné plusieurs mois. Le 9 mars 1943, une lettre de la directrice de l’Office de la jeunesse de Steyr, parvint à la famille Breirather leur déclarant que des recherches destinées à retrouver la mère de Sidonie Adlersburg avaient abouti et que l’Office allait la remettre à sa mère. Les parents adoptifs furent tenus de se présenter à la direction le 13 mars. Ils tentèrent l’impossible pour la garder avec eux mais en vain. Elle fut ainsi donnée à sa mère et à son père biologique. Elle ne passa qu’une nuit dans la baraque des tsiganes construite sur l’autre rive du fleuve. Le lendemain, elle fut aperçue dans un train de marchandises avec d’autres Tsiganes… le dernier convoi pour Auschwitz, comme l’apprit en 1950 Hans alors bourgmestre de Sierning. On raconta qu’elle y serait morte du typhus peu après son internement. Mais en 1980, le témoignage de Jochi Adlersburg son frère biologique déporté avec elle, prouvera que refusant de manger et de boire, elle mourut d’affliction plutôt que de typhus.
    Hans Breirather, mourut le 20 mai 1980. Sur sa tombe fut gravée le nom de Sidonie Adlersburg 1933-1943, morte à Auschwitz. Sa mère mourut de chagrin à 88 ans sans avoir jamais pu se remettre de sa mort.

  3. Else was from the so-called “gypsy quarters”, born in Hamburg. With the family name of Einjahrige from a non-Sinti family she was brought from a children’s home in Altona and taken into care. She grew up together with the biological children of the family.

    On April 18, 1944 she was torn away from the family and deported, along with other Sinti children from shelters and foster families, from Hamburg to Auschwitz. My foster father, Emil Matulat, a dockworker, fought courageously for their release. He wrote letters to Bormann and Himmler. Thus he managed to help Else escaped the murder in Auschwitz, being deported from there to Ravensbruck. By the end of September 1944, Else was there to be picked up by her foster parents.

    Meanwhile Else lives in England and has for over 40 years.The traumatic experience still plagues her as does problems of identity, even to this today.

    • Thank you for the link (on your name) to the Else Schmidt picture and biography. I correct your translation of the first two sentences:
      Else Schmidt was born in Hamburg as a so-called “quarter-gypsy”. At age one she was brought from a children’s home in Altona and taken into care by a non-Sinti family.

      • Oh, so THAT’S what it is!
        When I saw “einjahrige”, I realized that it means “one-year-old” and thought that it certainly was an unusual last name. It never occurred to me that it was the result of a mistranslation!

  4. Let us remember that those who died of diseases in the concentration camps were in effect murdered by the Nazis. Disease was rampant there because of the horrible conditions in which the people were kept.

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