This is my heaven,“ says sculptor Naomi Blake as she wanders around her crowded studio tenderly stroking figures carved from polystyrene.

The 90-year-old’s home in Muswell Hill is a stunning exhibition of her incredible 52-year career, with sculptures of all sizes filling the house and garden – many are copies of the originals, which decorate cathedrals, universities and private collections, including those of the late Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales.

Looking at the pure, flowing forms, it is hard to believe that each one is inspired by the living hell she went through during the Holocaust.

“Her driving force has always been the promotion of humanity, of understanding between faiths,“ explains daughter Anita Peleg, who has just finished creating two books, Dedication in Sculpture and a biography Glimmer Of Hope, to coincide with Naomi Blake: A Retrospective at the Curwen Gallery in Fitzrovia.

It will celebrate the life’s work of the sculptor, who was born Zisel Dum on March 11, 1924, the youngest of ten children to a strict Jewish orthodox household in Mukacevo, Czechoslovakia.

Her mother, Chay-Adel Shlussel, died before war broke out, but in 1944, when Naomi was 20, most of her family was deported to Auschwitz and she was separated from everyone except her older sister Malchi, as her father, another sister and her nieces and nephews were led into the gas chambers.

“There wasn’t time to feel,“ says Naomi of the harrowing times that followed. The sisters were sent to two concentration camps and put to work making bombs for the Nazis, but were shown by fellow prisoners how to sabotage them and Anita says this gave her mother “a lot of satisfaction”.

“She’s always talked about what happened to her,“ continues the 54-year-old. “There are some survivors who find it hard, but she told me her story when I was about eight and it never frightened me because she told it in a way that made me feel very proud of her.“

As the war ended, Naomi and her sister were led on one of the infamous Nazi death marches to the Baltic, but bravely “made a dash for it“ in snow up to their knees. Miraculously they managed to escape and over two months trekked and hitch-hiked back to Mukacevo, where they found their house destroyed. Of the 32 family members before the war, only seven survived and Naomi found it “overwhelmingly sad“ to be back.

“There were no children, no old people. The only people who had survived were over 16 and under 35,“ says Anita. So in 1946, without telling her family, she made the arduous journey to Palestine to help the Jewish defence groups set up to resist Palestinian forces.

She changed her name to Naomi and eventually became part of the Israeli army, in charge of 100 women, but she was hospitalised at Mount Scopus after being injured by flying shrapnel, a piece of which remains in her neck. While recovering, a friend brought her a piece of olive wood and a knife and Naomi carved a dog – her first sculpture. “It was tiny and small enough to fit in my pocket,“ she recalls.

It sparked something inside Naomi and a few years later, after moving to London and marrying German refugee Asher Blake, she embarked on a five-year evening course at the Hornsey School of Art. From the start, her work was inspired by her experiences during the Holocaust and frequently features a mother and child, Jewish and religious imagery, figures that are sheltered or “breaking out“.

Over a career stretching more than half a century, she has created more than 100 large scale bronze sculptures and held more than 60 exhibitions.

“It started off as a hobby,“ says Naomi summing up her career, “and I didn’t realise it would become so important.

“It has always been influenced by my history and what happened. Always.“

Naomi Blake: A Retrospective is at the Curwen Gallery, Windmill Street, W1, from April 2 to 26., Anita will give a talk at the gallery on April 24 from 6.30pm. Dedication in Sculpture is available from April 1, Glimmer of Hope from April 24.