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As a Polish Jew and a socialist, Adler left Germany when the National Socialist party came to power in 1933. He worked in Warsaw and Paris before arriving in Britain with the Polish army. The work Adler made during the Second World War was clearly affected by his own experiences as a refugee, and by the first news of the concentration camps. The Mutilated was painted in London during heavy bombing and reflected, Adler said, his admiration for ‘the behaviour of Londoners under great stress and suffering’, adding, ‘only then could humanity be seen at its best’.

September 2016