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Woodcut portrait of Leo Baeck owned by a Jewish Polish girl

Object | Accession Number: 2014.481.2

Woodcut portrait of Leo Baeck, owned by Julie Keefer, a Jewish Polish girl who was in hiding during the Holocaust with her grandfather. Baeck was a Rabbi and intellectual theologian who emerged as an important symbolic and political leader of German Jewry before and during World War II. Baeck helped other Jews emigrate from Germany and fought for Jewish rights. In 1943 he was deported to Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto labor camp, where he gave lectures on philosophy and religion and became a leader among the camp’s Jews. In June 1941, when Julie was two months old, her hometown, Lvov, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine) was occupied by German troops. In July several thousand Jews were massacred in pogroms. In November, Julie and her family were forced into Lvov ghetto and her grandfather, Aizik was taken to Jaktorow labor camp. In late 1943, Aizik rescued Julie and her family from the ghetto and they hid in a forest bunker. He decided Julie and her 5 month old sister Tola had to hide elsewhere as their crying made it dangerous for the others. In December he arranged for himself Tola and Julie to live with Lucia Nowicka who worked for a Catholic family. Aizik impersonated her husband and the two girls were introduced as nieces. When Lucia was briefly arrested, Aizik hid Tola in a Catholic children's home. During bombing in late spring 1944, the home was evacuated and he and Julie never saw Tola again. The bunker was discovered by the Germans and everyone was murdered. Lvov was liberated in June 1944 and the war ended in May 1945. Aizik, Julie, and Lucia lived in displaced persons camps. Aizik was able to get a US entry visa for Julie, and in 1948 Julie was sent to America where she lived in orphanages. Aizik and Lucia married and immigrated to the US in 1950. In 1955 Julie was adopted by Fred and Thea Klestadt, Jewish immigrants who had arrived from Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1937

Artwork Title
Leo Baeck
creation:  1955
creation: London (England)
Object Type
Wood-engraving (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Julie Keefer
Record last modified: 2022-05-17 12:53:59
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