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Born in Zutphen, the Netherlands, Joseph Adolf Spier was one of the most popular Dutch illustrators. In the 1930s, he worked for the newspaper De Telegraaf, where he depicted daily life with a mild sense of humor. In 1938, he was chosen as one of the ten most popular Dutch people. During World War II, Spier was arrested for drawing a parody of Hitler and ended up in camp Westerbork, where he painted a mural in the children's hospital. His family was held in Villa Bouchina, the small privileged camp in Doetinchem, where Spier moved to as well. Eventually, the whole family was transported to the Theresienstad concentration camp, which they survived. After the war, Joseph Spier worked for the weekly magazine Elsevier and wrote the book 'Dat Alles Heeft Mijn oog Gezien". Because of war trauma, he moved to the United States with his family in 1951. He left his artwork to the municipal museum of his hometown, Zutphen.
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Spier, Joseph, 1900-1978: Terezin, transport, Leo Baeck Institute Art and Objects Collection, 82.191.
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