STAR WITNESS, 2020
This is a complex artwork looking back to the 1930s, emphasising the Holocaust, and highlighting contemporary antisemitism. It is an international, social, historical and political art piece; and would work well for learning programmes and workshop participation. On completion it will be a exhibited as a large wall art installation and it is hoped that it will tour nationally and internationally.
Group portrait of an extended Jewish family outside their home in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland. Pictured are members of the Wohlreich (Wolrajch) family in 1935. Moshe Wohlreich and his three surviving siblings all perished during World War II, the latter most likely in Treblinka.
‘Since October 21, 1942, in Piotrkow, the Germans had carried out a series of systematic searches for the two thousand Jews who had escaped deportation.’
‘Among those hiding in the ghetto was Moshe Wohlreich, who had earlier succeeded in escaping from one of the trains on its way to Treblinka. He was caught, and brought to the synagogue.’
On Saturday, December 19, 1942, ‘the Jews in the synagogue were taken out in groups of fifty and led to the Rakow forest, where the people already knew about the newly dug graves, some of them tried to escape. The Germans opened fire and many were killed and left lying near the synagogue.’
‘The Jews marched to Rakow through the darkness, weeping, reciting Psalms and saying the ‘Shema Israel’, ‘Hear! O Israel’, as they went to their own funerals.’
The Holocaust, A Jewish Tragedy, Martin Gilbert