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13 - Collecting Pine Tar


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(From the Tapestry): “July 1942. My father had been collecting pine tar for a local landowner when the Gestapo ordered my brother Ruven to report to Janiszew labor camp. My mother pleaded with my father to go in my brother’s place, crying that he would not survive after his recent recovery from typhoid. My father said that neither one of them would go, and took my brother into the forest with him. They had built a hut for themselves where they slept and worked. For the rest of that summer, my mother would bring food to them, and sometimes I would go with her.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1996.

28″W x 34″H.

Transcript of Narration

"In the summer of 1942, Esther’s father Hersh was working in the forest collecting pine tar for a local landowner. When the Gestapo ordered Esther’s brother, Ruven, to report to the Janiszew camp, their mother begged Hersh to go in Ruven’s place. He had recently recovered from typhus, and Rachel feared he would never survive the brutal conditions of the camp. But Hersh said neither one of them would go, and he took Ruven into the forest with him where they worked together.


"In this story, I learned how resourceful Hersh was, turning to whatever he could find to help support the family. And how he had the courage to resist at this point. In this way, I could see how much of a role model he had been for Esther, showing her how she could survive."

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