Nicholas Welych | Syracuse Cultural Workers

Nicholas Welych

Nicholas Welych was born in 1920 in the little town of Vikno, in western Ukraine which was part of Poland at the time. He was apprenticed to a furrier when WW II broke out. When the Germans invaded, Nicholas was taken to work on a farm in Germany and was subsequently sent to a concentration camp. He spent 18 months in Bergen-Belsen and was liberated from Buchenwald at the end of the war by the Americans. He weighed 80 pounds. In the immediate aftermath of the war, he served as a security guard during the Nuremberg Trials.

After working for three years as a coal miner in England, Nicolas took a boat to New York City (Ellis Island). From there he came to Syracuse where some uncles and cousins lived. He worked as a contractor, roofer and tinsmith, ending his career at Syracuse University. Upon retiring, Nicholas began teaching himself to paint. He enjoys painting landscapes most of all, exploring color and form in placid, bucolic scenes, and at 89 years is still actively painting.