31 - Maidanek

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(From the Tapestry): “August 1944. After the liberation, I left Grabowka and returned to Mniszek. None of my family was there. I went to Maidanek to search for signs of them. I looked through the piles of worn shoes but they all looked the same. After seeing the showers and gas chambers, the crematorium, and the giant cabbages growing on human ashes, I joined the Polish and Russian armies stationed there.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, with fabric wash, 1995.

37-3/16″W x 53-1/8″H.

Transcript of Narration

"After the liberation, Esther went back to Mniszek, but no other Jews had returned. A neighbor thought they might have been taken to Maidanek, a nearby concentration camp. So Esther made her way to the camp, arriving at the gate in her bright yellow dress.

 

"The camp had been liberated by the Soviet, or Red Army, and some of the soldiers gave Esther a tour. She compressed all the main features of the large camp in this picture: the crematorium, the gas chambers, and at the top, a field of giant cabbages growing on a bed of human ashes. In a building filled with shoes, Esther searched for signs of her mother.

 

"After seeing all this, Esther joined the Polish Army, then under Red Army command. She was 17 years old."