19- The Somber Death March

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(From Tapestry): “On Friday, October 15, 1942, it was the beginning of the end, the somber march of the Rachow Jews to their deaths.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1991.
42″W x 42″H.

Narration by Esther's daughter, Bernice Steinhardt

00:00 / 01:26

Transcript of Narration

When their mother agreed to let Esther and Mania go to Stefan’s house she paid a neighbor to take them there. But instead, the woman took them to her brother’s house and left them there, telling them she’d be right back. But after a while the girls realized that they had been abandoned. There was then a bounty for Jews. Anyone who turned in a Jew could get five pounds of sugar, so the girls got scared and left quickly.

Here the girls come to the Krasnik road where all the Jews of Rachow were on their way to the train station. This picture, which was done in 1991, was actually the first one to which our mother added a narrative caption. After she finished it, she went on to create the others without interruption. Although she didn’t say anything at the time, she clearly must have been intending to create an entire series. For one thing, she set aside pieces of the fabric that she used for the dresses that she and Mania wore in this picture so that she would have continuity in the later pictures. It was also clear that she was beginning to think of these pictures as memorials to those who were represented in them, with each individual in this picture and the later ones stitched skillfully enough to be individually recognizable.

​Transcript prepared by the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science Docent Association.