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Pastel portrait of a young Polish Jewish boy

Object | Accession Number: 2004.569.2

Colored pastel portrait of Kazimierz Orlowski at age 4 saved by his brother, Jurek. The portrait was created by Wilhelm Wachtel in 1937 in Warsaw. This may be a reproduction of the original. When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, the boy's father, Maximillian, an officer in the Polish Army, was captured and held as a POW by the Soviets. In October 1940, Kazimierz, then 7, his brother, Jurek, 9, and their mother, Zofia, were forced into the Warsaw ghetto. In January 1943, Zofia was shot with the other patients in the hospital during an Aktion by German soldiers. Their Aunt Stefa obtained false papers and smuggled the boys into hiding. Neighbors snitched and Stefa moved the boys to a village. In June, Stefa got the brothers listed on a registry of Jews going to Palestine, as part of the Hotel Polski incident. In July, the boys, Stefa, and her friend were transported to Bergen-Belsen transit camp, supposedly to await transfer to Palestine. Conditions were good at first, but soon deteriorated as the camp was reclassified as a concentration camp. In April 1945, as Allied forces approached, the Orlowskis and the remaining Jews from the convoy they arrived with, were put on a train heading east. The train was abandoned by the German guards near Fallerslaben, Germany, where they were discovered by the 9th US Army on April 13. Stefa placed the boys in a children's home in Belgium, then left for South Africa. Jurek and Kazik were sent by the agency to Palestine on a children’s transport and after a brief stay in a transit camp were placed in Kibbutz Ginegar.

Artwork Title
Portrait of Kazik
depiction:  1937
creation:  1937
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Uri Orlev
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:17:43
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