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07 - The Nazis Arrive

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(From the Tapestry): "September 1939. My friends and I ran to see the first Nazis entering our village, Mniszek. They stopped in front of my grandparents’ house, where one got off his horse to rough up my grandfather and cut his beard as my grandmother screamed.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1993.
54″W x 41″H.

Transcript of Narration

This was the way the war began for Esther. In September 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, they came straight to Esther’s village. She and her friends ran to see them arriving on horseback, and watched as one soldier cut off her grandfather’s beard, a sign that he was Jewish.  


We just saw Esther’s grandfather in the Rosh Hashanah picture, a respected elder of the village. Imagine how terrifying it must have been for Esther to see her beloved grandfather humiliated in this way.


This is the first picture in the series that was bordered in black, like all the other pictures depicting the war years. When Esther created the memory pictures from before and after the war, she changed the colors—only the war years are outlined in black. 

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