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Autobiographical painting of partisans led by young boy meeting soldiers near Kiev

Object | Accession Number: 2006.125.2

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    Autobiographical painting of partisans led by young boy meeting soldiers near Kiev

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Painting by Arie (Aryeh) Singer depicting himself carrying the flag for a group of partisans meeting with Soviet soldiers in southern Ukraine, near Kiev. It is from a series of works detailing events from his youth as a 13 year old partisan fighter in the forests northeast of Vilna, Poland, (Vilnius, Lithuania) and in Belarus from 1943-1944. After the Soviet occupation of Vilna in late 1939, Arie's family fled to Glembokie (Hlybokaye, Belarus). When Germany invaded Russia in June 1941, the area was assaulted by German mobile killing units, who with the help of the local populace, murdered thousands of Jews. Arie and his mother were forced into the Jewish ghetto. His father, Zvi, age 38, was killed in the massacres at Ponary in 1941. In spring 1943, Arie and his mother, Chaya, 35, escaped the ghetto, which was being destroyed by the Germans. They went into hiding in the Nievier Forest near Vilna, where they engaged in partisan activities. The area was liberated by the Red Army in July 1944. After some years in a displaced persons camps, Arie and Chaya emigrated to Israel in the late 1940s. Colonel Singer began creating this series of paintings about his Holocaust experiences as rehabilitation following a stroke.
    Artwork Title
    Partisans Meet with Soviet Soldiers, including Female Private, 11.7.1944
    Series Title
    Partisans Near Belarus
    Date
    creation:  1985-2000
    depiction:  1944 July 11
    Geography
    creation: Tel Aviv (Israel)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Arie Singer
    Markings
    front, upper right corner : Hebrew text [Partisans Meet with Soviet Soldiers 11.7.1944, female private in army]
    Signature
    front, bottom, center left : az
    Contributor
    Subject: Arie Singer
    Artist: Arie Singer
    Biography
    Aryeh (Arie) Singer was born in Vilna, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania), on September 26, 1930, to Zvi and Chaya Sverdlov Singer. Zvi, born in 1903, earned his living in the lumber business. Chaya was born in 1908. There were multiple Zionist organizations in Vilna and the family belonged to Elzel. Aryeh attended Beit Sefer Ivrit school. Vilna was claimed by Poland following World War I (1914-1918.) After Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Vilna, in northeastern Poland, was occupied by Soviet forces per the German-Soviet pact which divided Poland between the two powers. Aryeh, 13, and his extended family fled to Glembokie (Glebokie), (later (Hlybokaye, Belarus), thinking it would be safer. But it also became Soviet territory and Jewish organizations and practices were abolished. On June 22, 1941, Germany attacked Soviet forces in the east and occupied the region. The German invasion was accompanied by German led killing squads, which, assisted by local Lithuanians auxiliaries, murdered thousands of Jews and Polish nationals. Aryeh and his mother Chaya were confined to the Jewish ghetto in Gle`mbokie. His father Zvi was one of the more than 5000 Jewish men shot during the massacres in the Ponary Forest in summer 1941.

    In the ghetto, Aryeh and his mother lived in a small apartment and had no food most of the time. There were frequent pogroms to kill more Jews. In spring 1943, Aryeh and his mother escaped the ghetto, with the help of a partisan named Fifi. They went into hiding in the Nievier Forest near Vilna and engaged in partisan activities. Aryeh’s paternal cousin, Edith Turner, and her family also escaped and lived with the partisans. During the liquidation of the Glembokie ghetto in July-August 1943, the residents rose up against the Nazi occupation forces. The ghetto was burned and the residents were slaughtered. The region where Aryeh and his mother were living in hiding with the partisans was liberated in July 1944 by Soviet forces. Aryeh and his mother relocated to displaced persons camps where they lived for several years. They emigrated to Israel in the late 1940’s. Chaya remarried and had a daughter, Aryeh’s half sister, Miri Gur, who was born in 1947. Aryeh joined the Israeli Defense Forces, fought in the Arab-Israeli Wars, and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He married Dr. Rina Altberker in 1958 in Tel Aviv, Israel. During the Holocaust, Rina and her family were confined to the Warsaw ghetto for two years. Then Rina and her mother were smuggled out and provided with false identities as non-Jewish Polish women. Aryeh had a stroke in 1978. He had shown artistic talent when young and he taught himself to draw and paint with his left hand as part of his rehabilitation. His mother Chaya, 99, passed away in 2007.

    Physical Details

    Language
    Hebrew
    Classification
    Art
    Category
    Paintings
    Object Type
    Naive art (aat)
    Physical Description
    Multi-colored, mixed media work on white paper. From the right foreground, a group of 8 male and female partisans in civilian clothing, approach 2 soldiers, a man and a woman, in light green, Soviet military uniforms with horses. The boy leading the partisans carries a red flag; 2 of his companions carry rifles on their backs. A blue sky, 2 tall trees, flowers, and a tilled field fill in the background.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 13.375 inches (33.973 cm) | Width: 19.125 inches (48.578 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, watercolor, marker, crayon, colored pencil, graphite
    Inscription
    back, inside two circles, pencil : 139 / 170

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The painting was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 by Arie Singer.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:30:00
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn523697

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