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Israelis You Should Know: Joseph Bau

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Name: Joseph Bau

Life: 1920-2002

Known for: Joseph Bau was an artist, poet, and Holocaust survivor who has been called the Israeli Walt Disney.

About him: Born between the wars in Poland, Bau trained to be a graphic artist in Krakow. His education was interrupted when the young Jewish man was deported to the Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp in 1941. Because of his skill at lettering, the Nazis put him to work making signs and maps. But that wasn't the only use of Bau's artistic skills during the Holocaust. While in the concentration camp, he not only created a miniature illustrated book of poetry, but also forged papers and documents that allowed prisoners to escape.

While in the camp, Bau fell in love with another prisoner, Rebecca Tennenbaum. The two were married in a secret ceremony in the women's barracks. This wedding was depicted in the movie Schindler's List, and Bau and Rebecca both placed stones on Oskar Schindler's Jerusalem grave at the end of the film.

After the war, Bau graduated from college in Poland, and then made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) with his family in 1950. First working as a graphic artist in Haifa and for the Israeli government, Bau opened his own studio in 1956. He created the titles for almost all Israeli movies of the 1960s and 1970s, while also writing a number of books and poems.

Throughout his life, Joseph Bau's work - in his films and in his writings - showed not just the brutal sadness and death of the Holocaust, but also the joy and life he experienced in the Holy Land, Israel.

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