Savu Petra Dan – a painter who survived the Holocaust in Bergen-Belsen

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The Jew Savu Petra Dan was born in 1903 in Bukarest/Rumania. From 1926 to 1933 he studied at the Art College of Bukarest. Some years later he was engaged by King Carol II of Romania as his court painter and was awarded with the prize of state of the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs of Romania. In 1961 he emigrated to Israel and in 1974 he moved to Germany where he died in 1986 (Frankfurt am Main).

Savu Petra Dan preferred oil-on-canvas paintings which were expressive in his early years, later they bekame more abstract and even surrealist. He also created portraits and compositions of landscapes but many of his works testify to deep sufferings and feelings, to the human struggle of life and death.

Due to his own very traumatic experiences during the Second World War in the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen Savu Petra Dan created a series of impressionistic paintings titled f. e. “behind the barbed wire”, “please, don’t crucify me anymore”, “survivors of the concentration camp”, “mass grave” and “dictator”. These large scale oil-on-canvas paintings are his very personal witnesses of the Holocoust.

Dan was well-known in several countries. He sold more than 1.000 paintings f. e. to the USA, Canada, Brasil, Argentina and South Africa. His paintings were exhibitioned in many galeries and art museums, such as the Helena Rubinstein Museum in Tel Aviv, Artist Festival and Exhib. Gardens. Famous Israeli people and Minister came to his exhibitions. TV, radio and newspapers often reported on him. Some exhibitions he had together with his wife, Tereza Dan, who was a painter as well. One of the greatest Israeli art critic wrote about Dans works that these pictures are of more artistic worth than those of the famous painters Eugen Delacroix and Theodore Gericault whose paintings are exhibitioned in the Louvre-Museum im Paris. In Germany Savu Petra Dan is listed in the famous painters encyclopaedia of the German publishing house “Saur” (Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon).

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