David Brainin was born on 20 August 1905 in Kharkov (the Ukraine) to a Jewish tailor. In 1919, when he was 14 years old, he migrated to Palestine. Five years later he moved to Paris where he studied painting and choreography, earning his living as a dancer. Brainin joined a Russian dance group and married one of the dancers. He appeared at the Russian Opera and at the Casino de Paris. In 1931 he and his wife went on a performance tour of South America, visiting Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. On his return to Paris Brainin studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and then, when he had completed his studies, worked as a scenery designer for films.
During the Second World War Brainin was interned in Compiègne and in Drancy, where he continued his artistic work, depicting scenes of camp life. He was deported to the camps in the East and did not return. His works from the time of his internment are included in the art collection of Beit Lohamei Haghetaot (the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum).
(Dr Pnina Rosenberg)
Hirsh Fenster. Undzere Farpainikte Kinstler (Nos artistes martyrs). Published by the author, Paris, 1951.
Miriam Novitch. Spiritual Resistance: Art from Concentration Camps 1940-1945 - A selection of drawings and paintings from the collection of Kibbutz Lohamei Haghetaot. Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1981.
L'Internement des juifs sous Vichy. Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, Paris, 1996.