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Postwar visionary painting commemorating the first deportation of Jews from Drancy by a Turkish Jewish woman who witnessed the event

Object | Accession Number: 2004.662.1

Mystical oil painting created by Louise Abouaf Starr in 2003 to commemorate March 27, 1942, the day she witnessed the first deportation of Jewish prisoners from Drancy via train from Paris. The colorful painting features train cars loaded with prisoners surrounded by symbolic images of angels, animals, and the Torah. On March 27, Louise, age 23, and her mother went to the station looking for her father and brother. They were warned not to go onto the platform, since German soldiers threatened to shoot unauthorized persons. They bought a ticket and snuck onto quay one and hid under a corner overhang. They saw soldiers force about 100 Jewish prisoners toward the trains; three car were already closed and they could hear the occupants yelling. They did not see Marcel or Maurice. Louise saw a hand reach out of a car and drop a paper. She ran over to get it, but was seen by soldiers who moved toward her. An engineer, Jean-Louis Loiret, operating a train on another track, stopped so the women could jump aboard. In 1949, they learned that her brother Marcel was deported that day. France was invaded by Nazi Germany on May 10, 1940, and surrendered on June 22. Louise, her parents Maurice and Djoya, and four younger siblings lived in Paris which was under German military governance. Anti-Jewish measures were enacted and, in August 1940, an internment camp for foreign Jews was established in Drancy, a northeastern suburb of Paris. The family, originally from Turkey, had lived in France since 1923, but in April 1941, Maurice and Marcel were interned at Drancy. On March 26, 1942, the family received a letter from Maurice telling them prisoners were being moved the next day. Louise and Djoya went to the station to see if their loved ones were there. They did not know that the trains were going to Auschwitz or that Marcel was on that transport. Maurice was deported on June 22. Both men were killed in Auschwitz in July 1942. The rest of the family went into hiding, first at a neighbor’s home, then in their apartment building. When Paris was liberated on August 25, 1944, Louise met Charles Starr, an American soldier. They married on December 16, 1944. After the war, Louise became an artist under the name Lounah Starr.

Artwork Title
The First Deportation of the Jews from Paris, France from the train station at Le Bourget-Drancy March 27, 1942
commemoration:  1942 March 27
creation:  2003 June 18
creation: East Hampton (N.Y.)
Object Type
Outsider art (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Louise Starr
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:47:52
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