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Painting by Sophia Kalski based on her experiences as a young girl hiding in a secret room as German soldiers search for Jews

Object | Accession Number: 2004.698.3

Oil painting created by Sophia Kalski in 1988 about her life as a 9 year girl in the ghetto in Lwow, Poland (L’viv, Ukraine), from summer 1942 - March 1943. It depicts 2 soldiers with flashlights searching near a basement room hidden behind a wall of green bottles that conceals a group of people. In Sophia’s words: "Aktion in Lwow on fifth and sixth of Jan. 1943. I am hiding in a bunker (basement) among strangers without my parents. The bunker is divided into two parts and the dividing wall is made of thick green bottles. The flashlight that the Germans are holding while they are searching for Jews in the bunker brings terrible fright on me and it seems to me that they will discover in a moment and they will take me away to shoot me, and I have no one to trust and to rely on to take me out of this and to give me some reassurances."
In early 1942, Sophia and her parents, Natan and Sarah, were imprisoned in the Jewish ghetto in Trembowla, Poland (Terebovlia, Ukraine), by the occupying Germans. Natan escaped to Lwow, and Sophia was sent to live with him. In January 1943, Natan, died of typhus. Ten year old Sophia was on her own in the ghetto until March when she was able to escape and get back to Trembowla. That summer, the Germans began to destroy the ghetto, killing or deporting its Jewish residents. Sophia and her mother escaped to Humniska, where a Gentile couple, Anna and Voitek Gutonski, hid them in an underground burrow until the Soviet army liberated the area in March 1944.

Artwork Title
Lwow Aktion on fifth and sixth of Jan. 1943
creation:  approximately 1988
depiction:  1943 January 05-1943 January 06
creation: Israel
depiction: L'viv (Ukraine)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Sophia Kalski
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:47:37
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