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Needlepoint wall hanging of a biblical scene from the office of a former concentration camp inmate and postwar aid worker

Object | Accession Number: 2000.501.2

Multi-color needlepoint picture with cross-stitched silk details that hung on the wall of John (Hans) Finke's office in the Blankensee Children's Home at the Warburg Institute in Hamburg, Germany, where he worked for the AJDC from July 1947 - March 1949. It features two richly dressed figures styled after Rembrandt's biblical, turbanned figures discussing an appeal from a plainly dressed old man kneeling before them. Hans was a prisoner at Bergen-Belsen when it was liberated by the British Army on April 15, 1945. An electrician by trade, he began working for the British and then for various aid groups after Belsen became a displaced persons camp. He worked for UNRRA from 1946-47, and then for the AJDC in Warburg and Belsen until leaving for the US. Hans, his parents and his sister Ursula lived in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi dictatorship in 1933 with its aggressive anti-Jewish policies. In February 1943, Hans, 23, was a forced laborer for Siemens when he was hospitalized with appendicitis. On February 29, his parents were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz. On March 8, the Gestapo raided the hospital and arrested staff and patients. Hans was transported to Buna-Monowitz (Auschwitz III) concentration camp, and later sent to Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, and Flossenberg, until freed while in Bergen-Belsen. He learned that his parents were murdered in Auschwitz, but his sister had survived in hiding. While working in Bergen-Belsen DP camp, he met Alice Redlich, who had left Berlin for England in 1938 to continue her nurse's training. She volunteered with the Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad and, in September 1946, left for Bergen-Belsen DP camp. Her parents and younger brother were murdered in Auschwitz in 1943. Alice and Hans married on June 20, 1948, in the DP camp. Her wedding dress is part of collection 2005.579. The couple, with Alice pregnant with their first child, emigrated to the US on August 29, 1949.

Artwork Title
Needlepoint of a Turbaned King, His Advisor, and a Supplicant
use:  1947 July-1949 March
use: Warburg Institute; Hamburg (Germany)
Decorative Arts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Alice and John Fink
Record last modified: 2023-08-24 13:46:48
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