Saar Roelofs


Inner world
The girl and the wolf

BoOkS (in Dutch)
Even now (life story of an Auschwitz survivor)
Turning point - About personal crises and chances 
Who is crazy, actually? - About the therapeutic relationship  
Do not disturb - A critical discussion about the mental health care
Ten composer portraits in word and image



© protected 
by  Pictoright





 Cycle of paintings by Saar Roelofs


The girl and the wolf
 About a girl in a concentration camp
A story of many times.

(1995 / revision 2016)

"An impressive and  beautiful work of art." 
Journal De Gelderlander

   "A powerful statement of universal application." 
Jack Boas, writer about Dutch Jews under de Nazi's

     "Interesting and moving." 
Helmuth Braun, Head of Exhibitions of the Jewish Museum Berlin




The girl and the wolf is a cycle of paintings about a girl in a concentration camp. The cycle displays a spectrum of essential human experiences - ranging from anxiety, shame and jealousy till compassion, remorse and hope - and makes room for victims as well as perpetrators. The series ends with a symbolic liberation.

The paintings depict individuals in a specific state of mind without an environment, framework or decor. The expression of the hands is ever important: they are for example clenched, defensive, loose, protective or nurturing. 

Brief annotations with the paintings tell the story of the girl and the wolf. The storyline is partly based on Simon Wiesenthals book Max and Helen.

Goya's series of etchings Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of the War) was an important source of inspiration for this series.

The girl and the wolf is a story of many times. It could not only happen in a Nazi concentration camp but also during the civil war in Yugoslavia, the Rwandan genocide, in an encampment of IS or in Congo.

Material: acrylic on canvas; all paintings are 70x90 cm.

Exhibitions & reception

A story of many times
Introduction by the artist 

Like an axe in hard frozen ice 
Introduction by Hans Paalman 




The girl arrives with her mother, sister and little brother in the concentration camp.


She is separated from her sister.


She freezes.


The girl is shaved, inspected and numbered.

So are her little brother and the other children.


The girl’s mother is taken away and does not return.



Wolfgang has an eye on the girl.

He rapes her.

The girl tries to escape from herself.


She feels guilty.

The wolf takes care of the girl.  
Thus she is able to comfort the others.

She is torn apart inside.

The girl gets pregnant.




She gives birth to a son.
The baby
is smuggled out of the camp.



The blond woman is jealous of the girl and the wolf.




She tortures the girl.



The girl no longer eats or drinks.



She dies.
The blond woman finds her body and feels remorse.



And the girl returns in order to free herself from everything.



The first version of the series, dates back to 1995 and consisted of eight triptychs with an accompanying text - a format which was adapted to the architecture of the Amstel Church in Amsterdam where the cycle was exhibited for the first time.  In 2016 the series was revised. From the original series of twentyfour paintings eight works were selected. Twelve paintings were created again (the nature of the images stayed the same). Furthermore, the paintings are no longer divided in triptychs. At last, the accompanying text was shortened.  Thus a cycle of twenty paintings was created which not differs from the first version from 1995 with respect to content.

Exhibitions and reception


A reproduction of the revised cyclus of paintings (1995/2016) together with explanations is kept in the archives of
Yad Vashem in Jeruzalem
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington
- Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles
NIOD - Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Netherlands



The first version of the cycle as created in 1995 was exhibited three times in the Netherlands: 
- Amstel Church in Amsterdam
- National War and Resistance Museum in Overloon
(1998), complemented with three maquettes of concentration camps
- Center for the Arts in Alphen aan de Rijn
(2006), on the request of Simon Speijer, a personal (Dutch) friend of Simon Wiesenthal.



"Confronting and moving; a statement, but not only that. Also an impressive and beautiful work of art." (De Gelderlander)

"Impressive and moving." (Algemeen Dagblad)

     "Painted in sober colors and with virtuose brushstrokes, the work makes a deep impression." (Centraal Weekblad)

"Images, still and moving, subdued and expressive. What a world Saar Roelofs evokes by her brushstrokes." (Zinweb

"Touching images." (AD Alphen aan de Rijn)

"The work excels in its simplicity."(Dagblad de Limburger)  



- "Very confronting and intense - at the same time subtle and with compassion."
- "Impressive. At first I was sceptic. Later I was silent."
- "Sensitive paintings in a beautiful style."
- "The gruesome reality is expressed in a personal and poignant manner." 
- "The paintings can show me (us) the unimagible. I am touched in my soul."
- "Very impressive images. Courageous and precious."



"Like Picasso in his magisterial canvas Guernica Saar Roelofs achieves with her grey and white colors a dramatic tension. Whereas Picasso's Guernica is the shroud of the Basque city Guernica, Saar Roelofs' work of art is the shroud of the numberless victims of rape and genocide in the concentration camps."

Hans Paalman, former director of the Municipal Museum Schiedam)
Full text


From letters AND E MAILS to the artist

     "A powerful statement of universal application." (Jack Boas, author of a.o. Boulevard de miseres. The story of transit camp Westerbork and We are witnesses. Five diaries of teenagers who died in the Holocaust)

     "Interesting and moving." (Helmuth Braun, Head of Exhibitions of the Jewish Museum Berlin) 

     "Impressive." (Edward van Voolen, curator Jewish Museum Amsterdam)  

     "Intrusive work of all times and people." (Stef Temming, former director the National Wat and Resistance Museum Oorlogsmuseum Overloon, the Netherlands)

     "Provoking and poignant images. Very much of current interest because of its possibilities to deal with the past."  
(Erik Somers, historian  NIOD - Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Netherlands)

        "Impressive paintings.” (Inge Jaehner, former director Felix-Nussbaum-Haus)

"Moving work. It touches me." (Isaac Lipschits, Professor Emeritus Contemporary history and initiator of the Digital Monument of the Jewish Community in the Netherlands)

"A poignant cycle." (Dirk Mulder, director Memorial Center Camp Westerbork, the Netherlands)

"I appreciate very much that also artists don't stop to turn to the topic of overall dehumanisation."  (Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, former chief curator Jewish Museum Vienna)

"Moving." (Liesbeth Brandt Corstius, former director of Museum Arnhem, the Netherlands)

"Powerful and exceptional." (Marcia Reines Josephy, former director/curator of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.)

"This moving and original work stimulates adults and children, regardless their cultural background, to think about victims and perpetrators, each in their own role involved in the same disaster. An unheard actual document." (Prof. dr Etty Mulder, former head research project Holocaust in the Arts, Radboud University Nijmegen,  the Netherlands)



Max and Helen. A remarkable true love story. By Simon Wiesenthal

New York, William Morrow and Company Inc. (1982)


The storyline of The girl and the wolf is partly based on Simons Wiesenthals book Max and Helen, a true story. The core of this story is as follows.

At the beginning of World War II are Max and Helen young lovers. Both are Jewish. Together with Helens sister Miriam they end up in a concentration camp, run by the sadistic camp commander Werner Schulze. Max and several others escape from the camp. Helen refuses to escape because Miriam is too weak to join them. She decides to take care of her sister. Helen is raped by the camp commander, who is committing - in terms of Nazism - ‘miscegenation’, for which there was a high penalty in Nazi Germany. He becomes attached to his victim and forces her to live in his house. Helen continues to submit to him in order to keep Miriam alive. The price she pays for this 'favor' is that she despises herself.In the end, Miriam is killed and Helen gets pregnant. The camp commander spares her life. Helen survives. After the war she gives birth to a son. 




See also: Life stories of Auschwitz survivors, recorded by Saar Roelofs


Saar Roelofs


Inner world
The girl and the wolf

BoOkS (in Dutch)
Even now (life story of an Auschwitz survivor)
Turning point - About personal crises and chances 
Who is crazy, actually? - About the therapeutic relationship  
Do not disturb - A critical discussion about the mental health care
Ten composer portraits in word and image



© protected 
by  Pictoright