14 - Prelude To The Final Solution

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(From the Tapestry): September 1942. This was a prelude to the Final Solution that followed. At dawn, the Gestapo made a surprise raid and in our nightshirts, lined us up by the river and terrorized us with their guns as our Polish neighbors looked on.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1992.

36″W x 38″H.

Transcript of Narration

"One September morning at dawn, Nazi soldiers banged on the door of Esther’s house and  marched her family across the road. There they were lined up along the river, still in their nightshirts, shivering in the cold. In the caption, Esther notes that as the soldiers terrorized them with their guns, their Polish neighbors watched. Something about that passive watching always stuck in Esther’s throat, that the neighbors got to be behind the guns while Esther and her family were in front. 

"Finally, one of the neighbors ran off to get the local sheriff, who came to vouch for them. 'We know these people,' he said. 'They’ve lived here all their lives!' In the end, the soldiers let them go."