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Joe Kubert, et al on the return of Dina Babbitt’s Art
posted September 13, 2006

from the desk of

Sept. 1, 2006

Dear colleague:

I don't usually get involved in international controversies. But I am outraged by the refusal of the Polish government to return artwork belonging to a fellow-cartoonist and Auschwitz survivor, Mrs. Dina Babbitt. And I am writing to ask you to join me in protesting this injustice.

Deported to Auschwitz as a teenager, Mrs. Babbitt's life was spared by the infamous war criminal, Dr. Josef Mengele, after he saw a mural of Snow White that she had painted on the wall of the children's barracks to soothe the children in their final hours. He then compelled her to paint portraits of Gypsies upon whom he was performing his barbaric "experiments."

After the war, Mrs. Babbitt relocated to California, where she worked as an animator for Warner Brothers and Jay Ward Productions. Among other things, she illustrated such characters as Wile E. Coyote, Speedy Gonzalez, Cap'n Crunch, Daffy Duck, and Tweety Bird for many years.

Some years ago, unbeknownst to Mrs. Babbitt, eight of the paintings she did at Auschwitz resurfaced and were acquired by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, a Polish government institution on the site of the former death camp. Mrs. Babbitt visited the museum and verified that they are hers (they are even signed "Dina 1944"), but the Poles refused to give them back, claiming they are legally the property of the museum.

Four years ago, when I wrote the book "Yossel," about a teenage cartoonist whose life was spared by the Nazis because they were amused by his drawings, I did not know that there had been a real-life case that bore similarities to my book. I was stunned to learn of Mrs. Babbitt, and even more stunned by the Polish government's position.

Together with officials of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, an organization with which I have been active, I have prepared a petition to the Polish authorities. It is intended to be signed specifically by cartoonists, animators, and comic book artists and creators. Adam, Andy, and I are very much hoping that you will join us.

To have your name added to the petition, please send an email to the Wyman Institute's director, Dr. Rafael Medoff, at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)With thanks in advance for your support,

Joe Kubert




Mr. Piotr Cywinski, Director
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Oswiecim, Poland

Dear Mr. Cywinski:

As cartoonists, animators, and comic book artists and creators, we are deeply troubled that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has refused to return the portraits that our colleague, Mrs. Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, painted in Auschwitz in 1944.

The fundamental principle that art belongs to the artist who created it is recognized everywhere except in totalitarian countries. One would hope that Poland, having been liberated from totalitarian rule, would not revert to the mentality that regards everything as the property of the state.

We agree that the display of Mrs. Babbitt's artwork is of great educational value, and we are pleased that the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum recognizes their importance. But that educational purpose could just as easily be achieved by displaying high-quality reproductions of the paintings, while returning the originals to their creator and rightful owner.

Mrs. Babbitt has suffered enough. We implore you to do the right thing and give her back her paintings.


Joe Kubert
Adam Kubert
Andy Kubert

Stan Lee
Paul Levitz
Joe Quesada

Charlie Adlard
Gerry Alanguilan
Jon Alderink
Michael Allred
Bob Almond
Jim Amash
Brad Anderson
Jesus Antonio
Brian Apthorp
Dick Ayers
Mark Bagley
David Baillie
David Baron
John Beatty
Daniel Best
Laraine Blauvelt
Malcolm Bourne
Tom Boyko
June Brigman
Mike Carlin
Sergio Cariello
Terry Cronin
Kody Chamberlain
Keith Champagne
Thomas Chu
Jason Craig
Marc Deering
John Dell
Jim Di Bartolo
Arnold Drake
Mike Dubisch
Jan Duursema
Matthew Ellis
Steve Ellis
Andrew Farago
Sean Fernald
Dana Fradon
Neil Gaiman
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Phroilan Gardner
Ron Garney
Drew Geraci
Al Gordon
John Graham
Paul Gulacy
Brian Jon Haberlin
Cully Hamner
Bo Hampton
Tony Harris
Greg Hildebrandt
Jon Hodgson
Brain Holguin
Matt Hollingsworth
Mark Irwin
Richard Johnston
Jason Jourdan
Joe Jusko
Tim Kane
Dan Kemp
Dave Kendall
Rick Ketcham
Lovern Kindzierski
Stefan Kopiñski
Lewis LaRosa
Steve Leialoha
Steve Lieber
Nick Lowe
Thomas Mason
Garry McKee
Bob McLeod
Ken Meyer Jr.
Danny Miki
Sheldon Mitchell
Michael Moorcock
Romano Molenaar
Brian Moyer
Matt Murray
Michael Netzer
Stephan Nilson
Jerry Ordway
Tom Orzechowski
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Mike Pascale
Jose Pardo
Dan Parsons
Jamal Peppers
Michael L. Peters
Joe Prado
Frank Quitely
Ron Randall
Adam Rex
Roy Richardson
Robin Riggs
John Romita
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Jeremy Ross
Josef Rubinstein
Trina Robbins
Jason Roth
Paul Ryan
Steven Sanchez
Bart Sears
Martha Seidner
Marlin Shoop
Bill Sienkiewicz
Andy Smith
Beau Smith
Cam Smith
Tom Smith
Greg Spalenka
Art Spiegelman
Rob Stolzer
Philip Tan
Greg Theakston
John Totleben
Jim Tournas
Tim Townsend
Koi Turnbull
Adrian Velez
David Wade
Dwight Williams
Barry Windsor-Smith
Walden Wong
Craig Zablo
Mark Zug