Lucy Smith (born Lucy Kreisler) was born on June 15, 1933 in Kraców, Poland. She was six years old when the German army occupied Poland. Lucy had to leave school after one month of attendance because education was no longer allowed for Jewish children. After many other indignities she was put in the ghetto where she and her mother hid from the Nazi Aktions, intensified periods of searches for Jews - mainly children and elderly - to deport them to death camps.
After acquiring baptism documents for the family, Lucy’s father fled to Lvov, Poland but was killed there. Two of her uncles were also killed, having been shot by the Gestapo. Lucy’s 13-year-old cousin, Eric, was sent to Treblinka and while Lucy’s family had received a postcard stating that all was well they later learned he had actually been murdered.
Lucy and her mother changed their identities, pretending to be Catholic, while moving to different towns seeking places to hide; attics, cellars, stores, bathrooms, anywhere that they could find shelter. At one time a member of the Gestapo found them hiding in the attic of their apartment. He put a gun to Lucy’s mother’s head, demanding jewelry, but she was somehow able to convince him to spare their lives and leave.
Today Lucy lives in St. Paul, MN and leads a group of survivors that meets on the second Friday of every month at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center to provide support to each other and as a resource to their community.
12" x 14"
Oil on Canvas
Type of Resource
Holocaust Survivor Artistic Response Child in Hiding Poland
Félix de la Concha was born in León, Spain, in 1962. From 1981 to 1985 he studied at the Facultad de Bellas Artes in Madrid. He was awarded the Prix de Rome at the Academia de Bellas Artes in 1989, and worked in Rome until 1994.
His paintings are always done on site, in order to capture an accurate light, and study the passage of time. He focuses on architectural subjects, not only with prominent buildings, such as Fallingwater but also on common and even deteriorated places (gas stations, street lights, abandoned trailers, burned houses…). He does individual compositions and very often series of paintings and polyptychs.
He has focused on a particular format of portraiture. In video, the sitter can be seen talking, and the painting evolving from blank canvas to the very conclusion of the work.
Beginning in February 2013, Felix de la Concha, a prominent Spanish artist, collaborated with CHGS to include Twin Cities Holocaust survivors in his latest portrait series, Portraying Memories: Portraits and Conversations with Survivors of the Shoah.
De la Concha painted survivors of the Shoah (Holocaust) from all over the world. While posing, his subjects talked about their lives and shared their testimonies of survival. These sessions were recorded and depict the portraits transformation from a blank canvas to the finished piece; providing the viewer with a powerful and emotionally charged, multidimensional representation of the encounter with his sitters.
Nine local survivors participated in the project; their portraits and testimony appear on the CHGS YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/CHGSumn along with the 31 other survivors who sat with De la Concha between 2007 and 2015.