12 - Janiszew Prison Camp

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(From Tapestry): “June 1941. My sister and I brought our cows to the good pasture near the Vistula River. Through the trees, I discovered we were next to the Janiszew prison camp, which the Nazis had turned into a death camp for the Jewish boys. After they were beaten until they could no longer work on the dam, they were led into the birch forest and shot.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1994.
40-1/8″W x 30-1/2″H.

Transcript of Narration

"Of all of Esther’s pictures, this one I think most brilliantly evokes the experience of war for those who are its victims.

 

"On the right side of the picture are Esther and Mania and the cows they brought to pasture. On this beautiful day in June, everything is blooming, the grass is lush, each blade separately stitched in different shades of green. It depicts nature at its most gorgeous, full of color and life.

 

"On the left, we see the Janiszew slave labor camp, where Jewish men and boys were imprisoned. The color is drained, and in contrast to the serenity of the green pasture, the camp scene is aswirl with whips and wagons and shots in the forest. This was the scene that Esther witnessed as she peered through the thin line of trees separating life from death."