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Painting by Sophia Kalski based on her experiences as a young child hiding behind a door as soldiers searched a room in the Lwow ghetto

Object | Accession Number: 2004.698.13

Oil painting created by Sophia Kalski around 1990 about her life as a 9 year girl n the ghetto in Lwow, Poland (L’viv, Ukraine), from summer 1942 - March 1943. It depicts a blond haired girl in a blue dress hiding behind a white door. She is unseen by the 3 green uniformed soldiers searching the room, though we can see her a keyhole shape opening carved in the door. There is a gash of red paint in the upper right corner. In Sophia’s words: "In the winter of 1943, in the city of Lwow, during the aktion, I didn't have time to hide in the bunker or in the basement and I was forced to hide behind the door of an abandoned house for 24 hours without food, without drink, standing. I was so lucky that according to the best of my knowledge, three Germans entered the room inside the house, and they saw that it was empty. Two Germans left immediately left outside, and the third one wanted to continue the search. He wanted to close the door, but to my great fortune, his superior called him, so he left the door alone and he didn't see me, and that is how I survived."
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
In the winter of 1943
creation:  approximately 1990
depiction:  1943 February
creation: Israel
depiction: Lwow (Poland) (historic); L'viv (Ukraine)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Sophia Kalski
Record last modified: 2022-09-06 11:54:41
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