Naomi Blake (born 11 March 1924) is a British sculptor, whose work reflects and represents her experience as a Holocaust surrivor.
Blake was born in Mukačevo, Czechoslovakia (now Mukacheve, Ukraine) to Jewish parents on 11 March 1924. The youngest of ten children, Blake was originally named Zisel (meaning sweet) by her parents. She changed her name to Naomi in 1948. She survived the Holocaust as a child in Auschwitz, although many members of her family died there. After Auschwitz, Blake and her surriving sister were sent to work at a munitions camp in the north of Poland. As the Red Army advanced in early 1945 the camp's inmates were marched towards the Baltic by the Nazis. The sisters managed to escape this death march and eventually made their back to Mukačevo. In 1942, her family included 32 members: four grandparents, her parents, nine siblings, six spouses and ten young nieces and nephews. By 1945 only eight members remained. When the war ended, Blake made her way to Palestine and joined the Palmach but was shot in the neck by a British soldier in April 1947. Recovering in hospital she began carving small figurines which soon became a passion for her.
After she recovered, Blake lived in Milan, Rome and Jerusalem, before making her home in North London. Blake studied at the Hornsey School of Art in London (now Middlesex University), England from 1955 to 1960, taking evening classes.
Much of Blake's work has focused on the expression of her experiences. However her work is principally optimistic, forward looking and positive. It stands determinedly to help keep alive the legacy of the six million slaughtered Jews, as well as promoting Blake's vision for uniting faiths, building understanding between religions and her hope for the future.
Blake has been exhibiting since 1962. Her work has been exhibited in many galleries, in the UK and overseas. Her sculptures are permanently displayed on many sites notably Fitzroy Square and St Ethelberga's Church in London, the University of Leicester Scarman Centre and The Holocaust Centre, Nottinghamshire. Her 1980 bronze resin sculpture, The Refugee is located in the garden of Bristol Cathedral while a similar 1985 piece, Santuary in fibreglass is in the grounds of St Botolph's Aldgate in the City of London.
- Laura Enfield (2 April 2014). "How Muswell Hill sculptor Naomi Blake forged hope out of Holocaust hell". Enfield Independent. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- Gareth Platt (27 January 2015). "Beating Hitler: How Naomi Blake survived Auschwitz and escaped the death march". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- Alan Windsor (2003). British Sculptors of the Twentieth Century. Ashgate. p. 19. ISBN 1859284566.
- Philip Ward-Jackson (2003). Public Sculpture of Britain Volume 7: Public Sculpture of the City of London. Liverpool University Press / Public Monuments & Sculpture Association. ISBN 0 85323 977 0.
- Douglas Merritt (2002). Sculpture in Bristol. Redcliffe Press Ltd. ISBN 1900178834.
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