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08 - Digging Tank Trenches


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(From the tapestry): “October 1939. As soon as the Nazis came, they put most of the Mniszek boys and girls to work digging tank trenches across the fields. Seeing that the trenches headed east, my father predicted that the Nazis would go to war against the Russians. None of these boys and girls survived the war: Itzhak, Mechel, Nachum, Golda, Elya, Hersh, Ruben.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1996.

23″W x 31″H.

Transcript of Narration

As soon as the Nazis arrived in Mniszek, they put all the young people to work digging tank trenches. Although all of Esther’s pictures are memorials, in this one, she lists the names of all the young people in the picture, including her brother, who did not survive. 


This was the beginning of the German occupation that ultimately lasted 3 years, until October 1942, when all the Jews of Mniszek and Rachow were deported. 


I mentioned earlier the care that Esther took to find fabric that would resemble something she was trying to depict. Here, she had found fabric that looked like dug earth, and if you look closely, you’ll see that Esther stitched small circles in the side of the trench to look like uncovered stones.

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