TABLE OF CONTENTS
Manuscript Collection No. 799
Funding, in part, for the arrangement and description of this collection was provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Nathan Hilu was born in New York City in 1926 and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served in the U.S. Army from 1945–1957. In Germany he served as a prison guard at Nuremberg, attached to the 6850th Internal Security Detachment where he guarded high ranking Nazis Party members, German military servicemen, and German government officials on trial for war crimes. Following the end of World War II, he continued his military service in Japan and various bases in the United States before being honorably discharged in 1957.
After his return to civilian life, Hilu settled in New York and achieved renown as an artist reflecting his life and times. The phrase art brut, coined by Jean Dubuffet in 1922, best describes Hilu’s style — naïf, or outsider art that does not adhere to the mainstream. His 2008 series of drawings of the Nuremberg prison and its occupants are currently held at the Holocaust Resource Center Archives at Queensborough Community College, and a showcase of his work, "Nathan Hilu’s Journal: Word, Image, Memory" is currently on display at the museum of the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, New York. Hilu continues to draw daily.
--Adapted from: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/25807; http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2010/04/nathan-hilus-lifetime-of-drawing-at-educational-alliance.html; and http://huc.edu/external/email/11/08/hilu/. (accessed November 7, 2011)
This collection consists of Nathan Hilu’s artistic ‘memoir’ of his service in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War (1945-1957). The memoir consists of nineteen binders created by Hilu containing his handwritten reminiscences, together with his drawings of persons and events described therein. In this sense, this ‘memoir’ is both an autobiography and a work of art. Of particular interest are the binders concerning Hilu’s time as a guard at the Nuremberg prison during the time of the Nuremberg trials in which he describes and sketches persons he encountered there such as Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, and other Nazi leaders.
This collection is arranged in one (1) series.
Terms of Access and Use
This collection is open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the Barrows-Loebelson Reading Room of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.
Property and Literary Rights
Nathan Hilu, by the act of donating the Nathan Hilu Papers to the American Jewish Archives, assigned all property rights to the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights are retained by Nathan Hilu and his heirs.
Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. For more information see the American Jewish Archives copyright information webpage.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Nathan Hilu Papers and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:
[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-799. Nathan Hilu Papers. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Nathan Hilu Papers were received from Nathan Hilu, New York, N.Y., 2003.
Processed by Kevin Proffitt, August, 2011.
This collection was arranged and described according to minimal-processing standards. Processing was made possible, in part, through a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.
No further accruals are expected to this collection.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the American Jewish Archives's online catalog.
Persons and Families
Hilu, Nathan, 1926-
United States. National Historical Publications and Records Commission
Korean War, 1950-1953
Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals, Nuremberg, Germany, 1945-1946
World War, 1939-1945. Personal narratives, Jewish