Dina Gottliebova-Babbitt

Dina Gottliebova-Babbitt

Brno, Okres Brno-mesto, Jihomoravský (South Moravia), Czech Republic
Death 29 Jul 2009 (aged 86)
Felton, Santa Cruz County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 40129244 · View Source
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Artist, Holocaust Survivor. She spent the last 35 years of her life attempting to claim paintings that she had done to buy the lives of herself and her mother in Auschwitz. Dina Gottlieb was an art student in Prague when she was arrested by the Nazis in 1942, and sent to a concentration camp. Eventually deported to Auschwitz, she attempted to cheer-up the children by painting a scene from "Snow White" on the wall of their barracks; in 1944, her work caught the attention of Dr. Josef Mingele, who asked her to paint portraits of some of his Gypsy prisoners, realizing that she would be able to produce a better likeness than could color film of the time. Dina made her mother's survival a condition of the project (her father and fiance were gassed at a separate camp), Dr. Mengele agreed to the bargain (and kept it), and about 11 pictures were created. The war over, she and Mrs. Gottlieb came to America after Dina married Disney animator Art Babbitt in Paris. Dina became an American citizen, and devoted herself to her family. After her 1962 divorce, she returned to commercial art, helping to create Tweety Bird, Wile E. Coyote, and Cap'n Crunch, among others. In 1973, she discovered that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has seven of her Gypsy paintings. She went to Poland, verified the works, and asked for their return; Polish and museum authorities refused. They acknowledge her as the artist, even as the owner (Dina had to sign a release each time the museum wanted to sell reprints), but maintain that the pictures belong in the place where their history unfolded. The museum contends that the stolen artifact law does not apply; the pictures had been created by her for the Nazis (under coercion), not stolen from her by the Nazis, and had been legally purchased in 1963, without knowledge that the artist was still alive. Dina's campaign has continued without success, despite high-level political help from members of both parties. (Jesse Helms and Barbara Boxer were joint sponsors of one Senate resolution). Compromise proposals have been rejected by both sides, and Dina was not satisfied with a gift of reproductions. In later years, she continued to press for return of her work, and to paint. Trying to find humor out of horror, she sometimes would play her tattoo number, 61016, in the California Lottery (she never won). Dina died a few days after surgery for an aggressive form of abdominal cancer.

Bio by: Bob Hufford

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 31 Jul 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 40129244
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dina Gottliebova-Babbitt (21 Jan 1923–29 Jul 2009), Find a Grave Memorial no. 40129244, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.