Berlin-born Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943) was a Jewish artist who made hundreds upon hundreds of paintings, which were found sometime after World War II in a cellar in the south of France, where Salomon was living with her grandparents in exile from Nazi Germany in the years 1939-1943. In 1943, she was deported with her husband, Alexander Nagler, to Drancy, and then to Auschwitz, where she was gassed. She was 26 and five months pregnant. Nagler became a forced laborer and survived until 1944. Her parents lived in hiding in The Netherlands and survived the Holocaust.
Salomon's paintings, integrated with texts, were her visual autobiography, which she titled Life? Or Theatre? A tri color Operetta, and subtitled A Play With Music.
The story about the creation of the paintings is the subject of the film Death & the Maiden, by Israeli filmmaker Yael Lotem. The film, which received a second prize award at DocAviv Festival 2014, was shown at the DOC NYC Film Festival in November.
Unfortunately, the documentary's trailer is available on Vimeo only to those with a password. Earlier, it had been public.
Death & the Maiden on FaceBook
Additional information about Charlotte Salomon and her profoundly tragic life, as well as her work, is found in The International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem; the Jewish Historical Museum, The Jewish Museum, which exhibited the paintings in 2001; and Jewish Women's Archive.
Mary Lowenthal Felstiner wrote an award-winning book about the artist, To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era (University of California Press, Reprint, 1997). (Felstiner spoke at The Arion Press in San Francisco in 2011; watch a segment of that talk.)