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Autobiographical painting of a round-up of Jews in a ghetto

Object | Accession Number: 2006.125.37

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    Autobiographical painting of a round-up of Jews in a ghetto

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Watercolor by Arie (Aryeh) Singer depicting a round-up of Jews on Yom Kippur. On the left is a cross section of a house: the lower room shows Arie as a small boy hiding under a table as his aunt and uncle talk with 2 soldiers; in the room above a family prepares for Shabbat dinner. On the landing outside is a crowd of people under thr eatch of a Lithuanian soldeir. It is from a series created from 1985-2000 based upon memories and events from his youth in Vilna and the Glembokie ghetto in Poland and with the partisans in the forests northeast of Vilna, Poland(Vilnius, Lithuania), and in Belarus from 1943-1944. After the Soviet occupation of Vilna in late 1939, nine year old Arie and his 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. As the pogroms continued into the spring of 1943, Arie and his mother, Chaya, age 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 in the mid 1980s as rehabilitation following a stroke in 1975.
    Artwork Title
    Sabbath Yom Kippur ~500 died : Evening Nobody Slept
    Series Title
    In Memorium: Glembokie and Vilna
    Date
    creation:  1985-2000
    depiction:  1941 September 25
    Geography
    creation: Tel Aviv (Israel)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Arie Singer
    Markings
    front, top left corner, black ink : Hebrew text [Vilna Ghetto / 25.9.41 Sabbath Yom Kippur / about 500 died / evening nobody slept...]
    Signature
    front, bottom left corner, on red support pole, black ink : ks
    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
    Watercolor painting on white paper. On the left is a crosscut of a house showing the interior of 2 rooms: upstairs is a Jewish family seated around a table while a man on the left in a prayer shawl on the leftreads from a book; there are 4 lines of Hebrew text in the center with the date. In the room below, 2 Jewish policemen in dark blue uniforms confront a man and woman with a child; 2 other young children hide under a table with a striped cloth. The right third of the picture shows a large group of men, women, and children wearing yellow Star of David badges crowded outside the house at the top of a staircase with a brick wall, and flowers. There is a dark blue sky, yellow round stars, and a yellow crescent moon.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 11.750 inches (29.845 cm) | Width: 15.750 inches (40.005 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, watercolor, ink
    Inscription
    back, pencil : 14
    back, inside two circles, pencil : 15

    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:
    2022-08-01 10:33:11
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn523781

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