Polish painter Roman Kramsztyk was Jewish and was murdered in 1942 by the German SS in the Warszawa ghetto as a demonstration of their strength. Kramsztyk painted realistic scenes of the ghetto and their Jewish people. He studied drawing and painting in Warszawa, KrakÃ³w, and MÃ¼nchen, and was influenced mostly by impressionism, before living in Paris from 1910-14. From 1915-24 he lived in Warszawa where he was a co-founder (1922) of the Rytm Association of Polish Artists, one of the leading artistic groups during the 1920s. He then returned to Paris, visiting his home country once a year. In those times he painted portraits, figurative scenes, still lifes and female nudes, strongly influenced by French post-impressionism.
In 1939, while in Poland, Kramsztyk was shocked by the outbreak of World War II. He then joined the Warszawa ghetto, although he previously never felt Jewish and did not speak Yiddish. The resulting drawings strongly documented the imprisonment, poverty, hunger and death of Jews during the Holocaust. He was shot on 6 August 1942 during the deportation of Jews from the Warszawa ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp. His death was described by an eyewitness\: âThe man carried out of the apartment was not walking down the stairs fast enough and a German just shot him in the back of his head. Because in the ghetto there was a rule that you had to move quickly, even to your own death.â