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Latest Bill on a great documentary artist
Arnold Daghani: When we were rounded up for deportation the guard noticed my paintbrushes.
"Take those with you, they might save your life."
At the slave labour camp Mikhailovka I started portraits of the officers and was soon known as "The Artist."
"Hey Artist are you hungry?"
"Then paint yourself a loaf of bread."
Nearly 500 people were killed at our camp. Only two escaped, my wife Nanino and myself because we were away from the camp – I was commissioned by an officer to paint flowers on parchment for a lampshade in Gaissin for a girl he knew. At Gaissin, Nanino and I were helped to flee across the river Bug.
So now I paint every face I can remember and I write the names of those I can't. That's my roll call. I paint everyone who couldn't paint themselves a way out. I remember them so I tell you.
It's the least I can do. What a nice world!
Guard: Shut up, we don't need to hear the names of any more dead Jews.
Arnold Daghani: Remember Mikhailovka!
The above is from the people's opera written by Angi Mariani and myself, see lifeanddeath.org for more.
Arnold Daghani came to live in Brighton where he died in 1985. Most of his work is stored at The Keep in Brighton. People know after Guernica that Picasso was a documentary artist and was also a guest at the Sussex home of the great photography documentary artist Lee Miller. Arnold Daghani is in my view, right up there as one of the greatest documentary artist/writers of all time.
Samira Teuteberg, archivist from The Keep and myself will tell Daghani's incredible life story and discuss his legacy. Do come – it's 5.30pm on Wed 25 Jan at The Keep.
Holocaust Memorial Day is 27 January.
You can hear Bill on Sarah Gorrell's BBC Sussex radio show every Monday around 4.20pm picking the best TV!