Victor Vital was born February 6, 1932 in Patra, Greece. When the Nazis invaded Greece in 1941, word spread through Patra that Victor’s entire maternal family of 90 had been murdered in Salonica. Friends urged Victor’s father to take his extended family of eight and flee before the Nazis entered the city. With the help of his father’s friend who was the Chief of Police, the family obtained Christian IDs and escaped. During the Nazi occupation of Greece, Victor and his family were forced to flee, hiding in the forest and in a cellar in a neighboring town.
“We were all hungry. One day my father was in the hills looking for food, he ran into a man from our town who asked us, ‘What are you doing here, the Nazis are looking for you and your family.’ As my father turned to leave, the man handed him a small bag of wheat. It was all he had. That bag of wheat helped keep us all alive until we came out of hiding…I am alive today because of the people who protected us. I feel obligated to let people know.”
12" x 14"
Oil on Canvas
Type of Resource
Holocaust Survivor Artistic Response Greece
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.