and Canada
in the
Second World War
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Exhibition Theme - Captivity

Human laundry, Belsen: April 1945

Doris Zinkeisen (1898-1991)
Human laundry, Belsen: April 1945, Doris Zinkeisen, Imperial War Museum, ART LD 5468

The "human laundry" consisted of about twenty beds in a stable where German nurses and captured soldiers cut the hair of the inmates, bathed them and applied anti-louse powder before their transfer to an improvised hospital run by the Red Cross. "Laundry" aptly described the pitifully flimsy condition of the victims. The tension in the composition lies in the enforced dealings between the emaciated and feeble former inmates and the overly healthy medical staff treating them.

Oil on canvas 78.7 x 99 cm
Painted in Brussels from studies made at Belsen, 1945
Imperial War Museum ART LD 5468

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