Britain's Camp: The British Nationalist Narrative of Bergen-Belsen by Doris Zinkeisen
Black, Rebecka 1979-
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British painter Doris Zinkeisen (1889 – 1991) is largely unknown to art history. Therefore, her paintings done as a commissioned war artist (1941 – 1945) have yet to be adequately examined. The majority of these 14 works are easily understood as nationalist propaganda as they depict the relief work of British forces in Europe. However, Doris Zinkeisen also produced three paintings of the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen: Belsen: April, 1945, Human Laundry and The Burning of Belsen, which have been interpreted as harrowing works of Holocaust art. This thesis examines these three works by Zinkeisen and argues they are best understood as nationalist propaganda for Britain. This thesis seeks to expand the art historical scholarship on an unremembered, yet prolific artist. Second, it contributes research to the study of British commissioned war-time art. Finally, it reclaims nationalist propaganda too long misunderstood as Holocaust art.