Jewish camps from the folio of 29 woodcuts. “The Mikveh”

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This is one print from a folio of twenty nine prints executed in the German expressionist style. They were created in 1949 by Jewish internees at the Caraolos deportation camp in Famagusta. Over fifty thousand Jews on their way to Israel were kept for some time in Cyprus by the British authorities between 1946-1949. Despite their meager means, each one of twenty six internees printed one representation of their lives within the camp. All representations were circulated in twenty six copies, one for each of the artists. The scene of the mikveh or the ‘bath scene’ marks a religiously informed ritual event during which Jewish women are cleansed of the pollution of menstrual and birth blood. Adherence to religious ideas and practices regarding the purifying effect of the mikveh, point to a professed conservatism among the interned society. Given the central European background of the community and considering the time period, one would have expected a more modernist and secular outlook among its members.