IT IS a harrowing image: a naked, malnourished body of an inmate at Bergen-Belsen lies dead on the ground.

When British troops liberated the concentration camp 75 years ago, artist Marianne Grant - who survived a chilling encounter with SS doctor Josef Mengele - was there.

The Czech-born Holocaust survivor, who moved to Glasgow in 1951 and lived in the city until her death 13 years ago, painted many artworks during her imprisonment at the concentration camp, where 50,000 people, including teenage diarist Anne Frank, were murdered.

A selection of her work, including this watercolour, is on show in Kelvingrove’s Conflict and Consequence gallery. As part of the city’s #glasgowlifegoeson campaign, which aims to highlight the fantastic services available online from museums, sports, arts and music facilities during lockdown, a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Bergen-Belsen’s liberation on social media will feature some of those works.

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(People can continue to see Glasgow Museums Collections online at and at

Glasgow Museums is also raising funds to publish a new book on the artist.

Grant was arrested on April 28, 1942, at the age of 20, and she was taken with her mother to the concentration camp-ghetto Theresienstadt.

There, and subsequently in the Czech family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, slave labour camps around Hamburg and finally Bergen-Belsen (where she was at the camp’s liberation by the British on 15 April 1945), she uniquely recorded in pictures her experiences of imprisonment.

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Dr Jo Meacock, Curator of British Art with Glasgow Museums, explains: “Grant’s drawings of Bergen-Belsen show immense strength and courage.

“She was witness to scenes of extreme cruelty and horror. When she arrived, she was shocked to see people just lying around, dying from typhoid, hunger and exhaustion, right next to thousands of unburied corpses. Grant recalled that they looked ‘barely human’.”

Dr Meacock adds: “In these distressing images of human suffering, Grant retained an astonishing aesthetic detachment that one might expect from an experienced war artist.

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“Art was produced in the camps at tremendous risk, personal artwork being forbidden. Many artists were killed or tortured. However, Grant asserted that it saved her life - it gave her the will to live and a focus apart from the misery around her.”

Grant’s skills were most terrifyingly called upon in Auschwitz by the notorious SS doctor Josef Mengele, who had her draw twin girls and the family tree of a Hungarian dwarf family.

In an interview in 2002, she recalls her terror as she worked while Mengele watched.

“He was walking up and down like a pendulum and I was petrified,”she said. “If I had made a mess, I would have been finished but I was lucky, I made everything perfect.”

She also recalled: “In order to protect ourselves we had to check our clothes every day to make sure we were free of lice as they were the carriers of the typhoid.”

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Once, she was saved from starvation by an SS guard she had befriended by producing a book of pictures for his children.

Dr Meacock says Grant’s personal drawings are “witness statements.”

“They have an astonishing power and veracity,” she says. “This is a collection that brings the Holocaust home, not only in the power and authenticity of the artworks but in the unique connection the artist has with the city of Glasgow which she made her home.

“Glasgow Museums is committed to ensuring that future generations can learn from the horror of the Holocaust and that the stories of survivors like Marianne Grant continue to be told.”