University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Voice to Vision II

Mrs. Justyna Teacher and Hero

2004,Collage, printed silk, yarn, mirrors, acrylic paint on wood, 17"x 32"x 4"

David Feinberg, with drawing and painting contributions from Sabina Zimering, survivor, and the followingartists: Laura Krueger, Katie Novak, and Diane Grace Goodman.

Mrs. Justyna Teacher and HeroThe dedication page from Sabina's book reads:
To my mother and father and all the others brutally silenced.

To our Catholic friends: Mrs. Justyna, my grade school teacher, and her daughters, Danka and Mala, for givingmy sister and me a chance to survive the Holocaust.

David asked Sabina if an artwork could be made and dedicated to Mrs. Justyna, the teacher who obtained falseAryan identities for Sabina and her sister just before her family was taken. Sabina thought that that would bewonderful. The picture of Mrs. Justyna (a young Sabina appears at her upper right) was cropped from a classphotograph. Many duplications of Sabina's image, created by mirrors, suggest a house of mirrors, as an omenfor the years of "Hiding in the Open".

The right side of the artwork has a semi-hidden drawing, which was created by Katie Novak as she helped Sabinacomplete the following phrase with a drawing: "One night when everybody else was asleep, I stayed up and ...". Sabina told the story of how one night, hungry and unable to sleep, she got up and ate half of the sugar fromthe bowl that was the ration for the whole family. The next morning, her mother didn't say a word.

Sabine from Piotrkow, Lucy from Krakow

2003,Acrylic, collage, on canvas, 48" x 66"

David Feinberg, with drawing and painting contributions from Lucy Smith, survivor, Sabina Zimering,survivor, and the following artists: Laura Krueger, Katie Novak, and Diane Grace Goodman. Photographs by AvielGoodman.

Sabina from Piotrkow, Lucy from KrakowThis year, the Voice to Vision project team is working with two female survivors of the Holocaust in Poland,Sabina Zimering and Lucy Smith. This was the first artwork completed. In an exercise during one of oursessions, several antique object were placed on a table, and Sabina and Lucywere asked to pick one each thatreminded them of situations that they recalled from their years in the ghetto or in hiding.

Sabina picked a sugar bowl (at the center bottom of this painting), which reminded her of her mother's sugarbowl. Food was scarce in the ghetto, and Sabina had been undernourished for many days. One night, hungry andunable to sleep, she got up and ate half of the sugar from the bowl that was the ration for the whole family. The next morning, her mother didn't say a word.

Lucy picked an antique toy streetcar that reminded her of those that she had seen in some of the towns whereshe was hiding. We photographed the inside of the toy streetcar, and it appears upside down at the top lefthand corner of this painting.

Sabina showed us a photograph of her home at the far end of an alley in the Piotrkow ghetto, and Lucy showedus a photograph of a synagogue in her hometown of Krakow. Large copies of both photographs, Lucy's on theright and Sabina's on the left, are interpreted as exploding out of the sugar bowl. Sabina painted fallingbombs, mostly in red (left side of painting), while Lucy, a professionally trained artist, painted an imageof her pet chicken facing a Nazi firing squad. As scarce as food was, the chicken eventually was cooked andserved to Lucy, without her knowledge. In the painting, the chicken represents Lucy herself in front of thefiring squad. She was five years old when Germany attacked Poland.

End of Tumbalalaika

20"x 24"x 4", 2004, Collage, printed silk, yarn, mirrors, acrylic paint on wood

David Feinberg, with drawing and painting contributions from Lucy Smith, survivor, and the followingartists: Laura Krueger, Katie Novak, and Diane Grace Goodman.

Lucy made the drawings in response to word associations. The drawing on the right depicts a hiding place in theghetto, where many people crowded into a small space behind a false wall while a gendarme searched the areawith a menacing dog. The mirrored surfaces multiply the image of the gendarme, reflecting Lucy's fear of theever-present threat of police who appeared around every corner.

The drawing on the left is a singer who performed in a small apartment where Lucy, her mother, and thesinger lived in Tarnow (1940-1941). One day, the singer wore a fancy dress and shawl, and she sang a songcalled Tumbalalaika. Lucy describes the first time she heard this song: "The Jews could not participate inany public performance, neither as performers nor as audience. We created our own performances at our homesand that is how I heard, for the first time, the song Tumbalalaika. I did hear some music and songs duringthe rest of the war, but not the Yiddish music."

Lucy initially made the candelabra to signify a Channukah menorah, and brought a small chain to use with it. After working with the chain in many ways, we finally discarded the chain in favor of the thread line (lowerright). While we had no preconceived idea about the significance of the thread line, we discovered that itconveyed a sense of barriers and the isolation of ghettoization.

The above is captured on video in the documentary, Voice to Vision 2: Women Survivors Reveal HolocaustExperiences through Art. Produced by David Feinberg, Stephen Feinstein, Director, Center for Holocaust andGenocide Studies, University of Minnesota, and Vicente Caro, videographer.

Train to Treblinka

17"H x 45"W x 8"D, 2004. Collage, printed silk, mirrors, manufactured objects, and acrylic on wood

David Feinberg, with drawing and painting contributions from Gina Kugler, survivor, and the following artists: Laura Krueger,Katie Novak, Taylor Costello, and Diane Grace Goodman. Photographs by Aviel Goodman and Katie Novak.

Train to TreblinkaGina Kugler was 14 years old when she boarded a train with hermother and father. They were told that they were being relocated to a different ghetto. Snow fell as their journey progressed. Gina’s father was familiar with the tracks, and he alerted everyone in the train car that the train was headed for the death camp of Treblinka. Panic ensued, and with their parents blessings, the older children who could get through the small windows of the locked cars jumped off the train as it passed through the dark countryside. In the video, Voice to Vision 2: Women Survivors Reveal Holocaust Experiences through Art, Gina tearfully says, "I forgot to turn around and say goodbye". Thirteen children jumped off that train and never saw their parents again.

Shards of Memory

34"H x 36"W x 4"D, 2004. Collage, index card drawings, florescent Plexiglas, and acrylic on canvas

David Feinberg, with drawing and painting contributions from Gina Kugler, survivor, Lucy Smith, survivor, and Sabina Zimering,MD, survivor, and the following artists: Laura Krueger, Katie Novak, and Diane Grace Goodman.

Shards of MemoryShards of Memory is a triptych that combines two different exercises to elicit memory. In the first exercise, survivors Gina Kugler, Lucy Smith, and Sabina Zimering, MD, told stories in response to cut-out visual fragments of well-known paintings. Three enlarged black and white reproductions of the selected fragments, one from each survivor, was pasted to each section asa starting point.

In the second exercise, in response to songs sung live by Krista Palmquist, the participants drew images of their evoked experiences on index cards. The art team selected three index card drawings, one from each participant, to be pasted in relationship with the fragments from the first exercise.

In each of the three sections, a piece of colored Plexiglas was selected as the concluding visual move. Size, color, and placement of the Plexiglas was considered for visual strength and emotional presence. The art teams challenge was to allow the viewer to respond to the atmosphere created by visual forms abstracted from real events.


2005. Collage, graphite, and acrylic paint on wood.

David Feinberg, with drawing and painting contributions from Lucy Smith, survivor, and the following artists: Jennifer Barnett, Emily Widi, and Diane Grace Goodman.

FiltersFragments of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Woman with Ermine were enlarged in a copy machine, printed in black and white, and collaged onto the canvas to start the project. Then we asked Lucy Smith, What do you see in these abstract fragments?" After some reflection, she responded,"water filters". . . the water filters that were graphically etched into the landscape outside the house where she was hiding. Her father was to be executed in front of these filters. He pleaded that he had a family and a daughter, and his life was spared, at least for that day.

Now the imagery had a context and Lucy told more stories as she reflected on the initial black and white fragments. On the left side of the painting, Lucy drew a black-frocked priest accompanied by a white goat. The priest and the goat guided Lucy, her mother, and the people with whom she was staying, back into the village that the Germans had forced them to abandon.

A little while later and to their surprise, two Russian officers, one on a black horse and the other on a white horse, entered the village as their liberators. Lucy’s days of hiding with her mother were finally over.

The drawings on the far right represent the hardships of post- liberation. Lucy wandered out of her house in the war-torn landscape and adopted a large black cat that was standing between a broken fragment of a once-majestic fence and a tiny tree sapling that was just beginning to live.


27"H x 50"W x 7"D, 2005. Acrylic and mixed media on wood.

David Feinberg with artists Diane Grace Goodman, Emily Widi, Jennifer Barnett
Survivors: Sabina Zimering MD, Lucy Smith, and Murray Brandys

JourneyA 6 foot long oak table was filled with over one hundred diverse small objects that included yarn, old jewelry, buttons, and toys. Survivors Sabina Zimering MD, Lucy Smith, and Murray Brandys were asked to pick objects from the table that reminded them of experiences from both the old world before the Third Reich and the new world after theend of the war. Each survivor was paired with an artist to explain what the objects represented. These conversations were video-recorded for the newest phase of the documentary "Voice To Vision".

Murray picked a small toy zebra that he saw at the Bronx Zoo when he first came to America. He never saw a zebra before. With that clue, the art team went to Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota with three cameras and photographed the zebra used in this collage. While in the process of arranging the visual elements, an ironic association was discovered since Murray wore a striped uniform during his imprisonment in the concentration camps.

Sabina Zimering selected a small bell that once topped a pre-war standard gauge toy steam engine. It reminded her of the bell in the tower of the Catholic Church that was adjacent to her home. The bell chimed every day at regular intervals. In the Twin Cities Public Television documentary on this project, Sabina said that she still hears the bells, even to this day. In her book "Hiding In The Open" she indicated that she escaped from the Nazis by fleeing through that church when the soldiers were rounding up the Jews to be sent to the death camps of Triblinka

Lucy Smith found little green glowing buttons (used in this artwork) that she interpreted as peas. She told us three different stories about experiences during her years of hiding which were related to pea soup. One story took place at the end of the war, 1945, when Poland was occupied by the Russians. Lucy, who was about 10 years old, was leaving Warsaw for Lublin, the temporary capital of Poland, with her mother and with another woman from Lublin. They hitched rides on Russian military trucks and paid their fare with a bottle of vodka. They slept on a mattress placed on the floor of their traveling companion’s small apartment in Lublin. There was little food and they were very hungry from their long ordeal. Before they went to bed they all went to a nearby monastery that was serving pea soup to all those who were hungry. Lucy recalls to this day that it was the best pea soup that she ever has had in her life.