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Wooden Lazy Susan decorated with an inlaid windmill scene created by a Latvian in a displaced persons camp

Object | Accession Number: 2018.276.1

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    Wooden Lazy Susan decorated with an inlaid windmill scene created by a Latvian in a displaced persons camp


    Brief Narrative
    Handmade, Latvian, wooden turntable with an inlaid windmill scene created in Kleinkötz Displaced Persons (DP) Camp at Günzburg in the American Zone of Germany between 1945 and 1951. Latvia had a long tradition of woodworking, and many skilled artisans lived in DP camps following the end of World War II (1939-1945), where they made some additional income from the sale of pieces and trained others. Kleinkötz had a population between 1,000 and 2,500 refugees, and a large percentage of those were from the Baltic nations, including Latvia. Following the end of the war, Allied forces established more than 1,000 displaced persons’ camps in Europe. These were initially maintained by the United Nation Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), and by the International Refugee Organization (IRO) after July 1947. The camps were intended to serve as temporary centers for processing refugees displaced by the war, especially those that had survived concentration and labor camps. As the sheer quantity of displaced individuals became evident, the camps provided longer-term accommodation, employment, education, and recreation. Due to the political and social complexities of post-war resettlement, many of the refugees living in the camps could not or did not want to be repatriated to their countries of origin, and spent years in the displaced persons’ camps. These people often cultivated ways to maintain their culture, develop new skills, and reestablish a sense of community. Refugee communities often congregated along national lines within camps, and developed strong ties with others who shared their cultural background and history. Many refugees found creative outlets through existing handicraft skills, musical and theatrical performance, writing for newspapers, reading or writing novels and memoirs, and developing new talents through training programs.
    creation:  1945-1951
    creation: Günzburg (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Aviva Weintraub, In memory of Beatrice Weintraub

    Physical Details

    Decorative Arts
    Physical Description
    Handmade, circular, finished, brown wooden turntable decorated with an inlaid wood scene depicting a man carrying a sack toward a paltrock-type post windmill, raised above the ground and supported by a thick central post. He walks along a path through a low, rolling landscape toward the tall, rectangular, wooden clapboard windmill with two small side windows. There is an open door at the top of a flight of stairs. It has a gabled roof with frame extensions crossing at either end, shaped to resemble animal heads (jumtu gaiļi). Visible at the top front of the windmill are three rectangular, lattice-framed sails. In the background, there are low trees and tall, slender fir trees along the horizon and two birds gliding in the sky. The image is formed by small pieces of wood or veneer cut from contrasting wood grains and inlaid on the surface of the turntable. The decorated surface is covered by a circular, quarter-inch thick piece of clear, tempered glass held in place by three evenly spaced, brown-painted metal brackets on the side. Screwed to the bottom center of the turntable are a flat, silver-colored metal disc and a smaller, circular wooden base that remain fixed in place while allowing the tabletop to turn freely. The movement is driven by concealed mechanical components, likely ball bearings, between the plate and base. Underneath the base, there are three small, evenly spaced holes for feet that are now missing and two adhesive paper stickers.
    overall: Height: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm) | Diameter: 13.750 inches (34.925 cm)
    overall : wood, glass, metal, paper, ink, paint, stain, adhesive
    base, underside, center, paper label, printed, black ink : LATVIAN / DP HANDIWORK / Made by / RITA (?)KOLAJS / (R?) (?) L(D?)S / (D?)P Cam(p?) Kleinkötz / at Günzburg / (?) Zone Germany
    base, underside, yellow sticker, handwritten, ink : $40 / 25 -

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Günzburg (Germany)

    Administrative Notes

    The lazy Susan was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2018 by Aviva Weintraub.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 09:52:46
    This page:

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