George Gene Gustines reports on how Neal Adams, Joe Kubert, and Stan Lee are helping a Holocaust survivor get her artwork back from a Holocaust museum:
The men are lending their talents to tell the tale of Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, who survived two years at the Auschwitz concentration camp by painting watercolor portraits for the infamous Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele. Some of the artwork also survived, but it is in the possession of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland. Now 85 and living in California, Mrs. Babbitt wants the artwork back, but the museum has steadfastly refused to return it.
“I’m at a total loss,” Mrs. Babbitt wrote in an e-mail message. “I feel just as helpless as I did when I was at camp. Totally disempowered.”
Her story is incredible:
By February 1944, Mrs. Babbitt had come to the attention of Mengele, who was dissatisfied with the photographs he had taken of the Gypsy, or Romany, prisoners in his effort to prove their genetic inferiority. He asked Mrs. Babbitt to paint their portraits to capture their skin tones better. She agreed, but only after insisting that her mother be spared from death. (The story reproduces five of the portraits.)
…The final two pages move from the liberation by Allied troops in 1945 to her life in the United States, where she worked for 17 years as an assistant animator for many Hollywood studios, including MGM and Warner Brothers, working on the likes of Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzalez.
Adams’s comic adaptation of Mrs. Babbitt’s life can be downloaded at the link.