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Oral history interview with Samuel Bak

Oral History | Accession Number: 2016.82.1 | RG Number: RG-50.926.0001

Samuel Bak, born on August 12, 1933 in Vilna, Poland (Vilnius, Lithuania), describes being eight years old when the Germans invaded in 1941; the creation of a ghetto for the Jewish population; hiding with his parents in a local monastery; going to the ghetto with his parents; painting and having his first exhibition (in the Vilna ghetto) in 1942 at the age of nine; being sent with his family to a labor camp on the outskirts of the city; his mother’s escape and survival when she took refuge with a distant relative who had converted to Christianity and was living undetected in Vilna; his father, who managed to save Samuel by dropping him in a sack out of a ground floor window of the warehouse where he was working; being met by a maid and brought to the house where his mother was hiding; his father’s death in July 1944 when he was shot by the Germans; the execution of his four grandparents earlier at the killing site in the Vilna suburb called Ponary; the end of the war and continuing to paint at the displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany (1945-1948); studying painting in Munich, Germany; the influence of the artist Albrecht Durer on his art; immigrating with his mother to Israel in 1948; studying for a year at the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem; fulfilling his military service then spending three years (1956-1959) at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France; his book (Painted in Words: A Memoir, 2001) and art; and his thoughts on why people choose different paths.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Samuel Bak
interview:  2013 January 20
creation: Boston (Mass.)
10 digital files : WAV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Story Preservation Initiative
Record last modified: 2020-07-22 15:53:17
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