Jacob Macznik

1905 1945
(Pologne) 1905 /   (Autriche) 1945

Jacob Macznik grew up in a humble orthodox family. As a child, he studied at the heder.

Durng World War I, the family settled in Kletz, in the Polish countryside. In 1922, Jacob left for Warsaw and studied at the School of Fine Arts. He illustrated various albums in order to earn his living.

In 1928, he got married and arrived in Paris with his wife Stella. The couple first lived in a hotel and then moved to 2 bis Rue Perrel, which was Douanier Rousseau’s former studio. He took part in the Parisian life and got in touch with Hersch Fenster. Jacob Macznik offered him to travel to Poland and publish a book on synagogues; Fenster would write the texts while Macznik would paint the synagogues. Macznik began an inventory of the oldest synagogues in Poland (which were destroyed during the war). The two men travelled through Tarnow, Kourov, Barnev and organized conferences in the towns they visited. They parted ways in Lodz. Macznik had no more money and returned to Paris with a dozen of paintings, while he had planned to produce over forty artworks. The album that he brought back was prefaced by the Minister of education Mr. de Monzie.

He was in a small village in the Auvergne region when the Second World War broke out. He left for Toulouse, joined the Resistance and hoped to get to London through Spain.

On 1 October 1943, Jacob Macznik was interned in Drancy with his wife. On 28 October 1943, they were deported on convoy number 61. They were murdered on 18 January 1945 in the Mathausen concentration camp.

Most of his paintings were destroyed by the Nazis.