EXCEPTIONALLY RARE FIRST EDITION OF PSALMEN, 1942, A PAMPHLET BY THE ANTI-NAZI DUTCH UNDERGROUND PUBLISHER DE BLAUWE SCHUIT, PRINTED AND HAND-ILLUSTRATED BY NAZI VICTIM HENRICK WERKMAN, ONE OF ONLY 75 COPIES PRINTED
WERKMAN, Henrick Nicolaas, printer, and BUBER, Martin, translator. Psalmen ["The Psalms"]. Groningen, Netherlands: H.N. Werkman, De Blauwe Schuit, 1942. Slim octavo, sewn as issued, original pictorial paper wrappers; pp. 8. $4500.
First edition of the collection of four psalms printed for the underground Dutch publisher De Blauwe Schuit, one of only 75 copies printed and not intended for sale, with three stenciled illustrations called "Druksel" prints by H.N. Werkman, who was murdered by the Nazis in 1945.
The collection of four abstractly illustrated psalms (Nos. 130, 43, 94, and 12) was printed for the underground publisher De Blauwe Schuit ["Blue Barge"] in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. Using a Hebrew to German translation of the psalms by Martin Buber, this work was intended to focus on psalms with the theme "From the depths I cry," i.e. psalms beseeching God to deliver the Israelites from captivity (Nationale Bibliotheek). The theme was particularly relevant as one of the three publishers comprising De Blauwe Schuit, Reverend August Henkels, was imprisoned in the Sint Michielsgestel camp for delivering anti-Nazi and pro-Jewish sermons. Werkman also hand-illustrated the pamphlet using stencils to produce three abstract (and thus defiant) illustrations, two in-text and one on the cover. Each illustration is completely unique with copies showing slight differences in stencil alignment and paint transparency. Limited to just 75 copies, none were intended to be for sale and were instead distributed evenly among the publishers. Henrick Werkman was arrested by the Gestapo in March 1945 and all of his work (including an extra ten copies of this pamphlet he had set aside for himself) was confiscated. Werkman was executed by firing squad just three days before the liberation of Groningen. His confiscated works were destroyed in a fire. This publication stands out as one of the few surviving examples of Werkman's many important contributions to De Blauwe Schuit.
Scattered foxing to interior, rear wrapper with faint corner crease, slight bluish offsetting to rear cover possibly from Werkman stacking this copy on top of one that was not yet dry. Near-fine condition. Very rare.