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Painting of Rivka Hirsch (1935-1943)


Oil on canvas portrait of Rivka Hirsch, who perished in the gas chamber in Auschwitz in 1943. She was eight years old. The painting is signed “Traub” and dated 1948. It is based on a photograph that Rivka’s mother Bertha brought with her when she emigrated to Australia. She was the sole survivor in her family.

In 1941, Bertha’s husband was transported from the family’s hometown in Lithuania to a forest, where he was forced to dig his own grave and subsequently shot. Bertha and Rivka were transported to various locations but eventually ended up in a ghetto in Lithuania. One Friday in November 1943, all the children and elderly inhabitants were taken away. Bertha ran after the commanding officer and demanded that she be taken to her daughter. He told her she was young and strong and needed for labour in the ghetto. As Bertha describes it, “With this sentence, I was condemned to life.”

Donated by Bertha Taubman nee Wilk

Pre-war photograph of Rivka and Bertha

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