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Letter with a color drawing of a girl in a chair sent by a former hidden child

Object | Accession Number: 2009.204.46

Letter with a small drawing of a girl with a book by 6 year old Ilona Goldman and her mother Gusta to her father Salomon in 1948-1949 when he was away on a business trip. Ilona drew herself sitting in the chair complaining about the rain in Krakow and that she was home from school because she was a bit sick. She misses Daddy very much and hopes he rests well. Her mother reports on daily events and sends her love. Ilona lived in hiding from 1942-1944. In spring 1942, at age four, she was separated from her parents and placed with the Polish peasant family of Hania Seremet, who agreed to hide her for a fee. Drawings were the only way for the talkative child, not yet able to write, to communicate with her parents. After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Ilona and her parents fled Krakow for Soviet controlled Lvov (Lviv, Ukraine). When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the family was forced into the Jewish ghetto where Salomon worked as an accountant at a meat rendering factory owned by the Wehrmacht. In spring 1942, fearing the liquidation of the ghetto, Salomon arranged a hiding place for them outside the ghetto with a former employee, Jozef Jozak. However, he would not hide Ilona because it would be too hard to conceal a lively young girl. Ilona was smuggled to the countryside and placed in hiding as a Christian child with the Seremets. After 6 months, Salomon could no longer pay for her care, so Ilona was brought back to live in their hiding place, without the knowledge of the Jozak family. Ilona had to stay most of this time locked in a closet with only her drawings and the medical textbooks left by a previous tenant. The family lived in hiding until the Soviet Army liberated the city in July 1944. When the war ended in May 1945, they returned to Krakow.

Artwork Title
To Jest Ilka
creation:  approximately 1948-1949
creation: Krakow (Poland)
Children's art
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Alona Frankel
Record last modified: 2022-05-13 13:32:43
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