Fiszel (Zber) Zylberberg
Fiszel Zylberberg (1909-1942) was born in Płock, Poland to a traditional Jewish home. His talents surfaced early in his childhood. In 1924 in his 16th year, with the support of a group of Jewish intellectuals in his home town, Fiszel moved to Warsaw, bent on an artistic career.
After five years' preparation, in 1930, he was admitted as a student to the Warsaw Academy of Arts, where he studied drawing, painting and the techniques of the printed graphic arts.
At the "Black and White" exhibition held in Warsaw, in the spring of 1936, Zylberberg displayed 22 works. His artistic fame as a woodcut engraver spread far and wide.
He drew his inspiration from what appealed most intimately to his nature, from the figures and landscapes he saw around him.
The art critics showered unstinted praise on the artist and the first fruits of his work, while the Polish government awarded him an eight months scholarship to study in Paris.
Zber (the shortened form of his name adopted there) remained in Paris. Paris took Zber to her heart and a new series of woodcut took shape under his hands. His inspiration shifted to the new French scenes opening before his eyes in Paris.
1940 came, and the Nazi Jackboot subdued Paris. On May 14th, 1941, Zber was arrested and deported with 5.000 other Jews to the concentration camp of Beaune-La-Rolande. Even here, in custody, he wasted not a single moment, and worked uninterruptedly, until 1942, when he was transferred to the Pithiviers camp, and the next day to the Auschwitz extermination camp. Zber promised that if he came through it all alive, he would tell the whole world through his creative work, of the ghostly horrors that had him in their grip and were seeping into his being in that pit of misery. He did not live to do it. He fell ill with typhoid and on the 26th October, 1942 was "liquidated", in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, in his 33rd year.