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Black and Jewish Lives in a Nazi Internment Camp: The Art of Josef Nassy and Max Brandel

19 June at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


In a neglected chapter of World War II, Black people living in Germany and occupied Europe were in some cases imprisoned in concentration and internment camps. The most substantial visual record of Black prisoners in the Nazi camp system is a collection of drawings and paintings by Josef Nassy, a little known Caribbean artist of African and Sephardic Jewish descent. Created in an internment camp in Bavaria between 1942 and 1945, the Josef Nassy Collection illuminates both the relationship between creativity and wartime survival and the role of art in the formation of collective memory. This talk considers the Nassy Collection alongside a series of caricatures of Black prisoners produced in the same internment camp by the Polish Jewish artist Max Brandel. Probing the boundaries of Holocaust art and memory, Professor Sarah Casteel argues that Nassy and Brandel promote a relational rereading of the wartime past that reveals the entanglement of African and Jewish diaspora histories and identities.


In collaboration with the Institute of Jewish Studies at UCL.

Please note this talk will be in person at UCL, exact venue details to be released in due course. 

Image: Josef Nassy, “Tittmoning 1943,” oil paint, 15.980 x 19.960 in., United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C., Gift of the Severin Wunderman Family (photograph by Sarah Phillips Casteel).

Professor Sarah Casteel

Professor Sarah Casteel

Sarah Phillips Casteel is Professor of English at Carleton University, where she is cross-appointed to the Institute of African Studies and the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture. Her books include Black Lives Under Nazism: Making History Visible in Literature and Art (Columbia University Press, 2024), Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2016), and the co-edited volume Caribbean Jewish Crossings: Literary History and Creative Practice (University of Virginia Press, 2019). She has held the Potsdam Postcolonial Chair for Global Modernities at the University of Potsdam as well as visiting fellowships at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg. The recipient of a Canadian Jewish Literary Award and a Polanyi Prize, she is a member of the Academic Council of the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University.


19 June
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


University College London
London, WC1E 6BT United Kingdom
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