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On the anniversary of Samuel Willenberg's death, the IPN would like to encourage you to find out more about the ongoing "The Image of Treblinka in the Eyes of Samuel Willenberg" educational project

In January 2020, the Institute of National Remembrance initiated a year-long exhibition and educational project on the basis of sculptures by Samuel Willeberg, depicting people and situations he remembered particularly vividly during his imprisonment at Treblinka. These unique sculptures, constituting the world heritage of the Holocaust, were brought by the IPN from Israel for the purposes of the project.

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  • A CONCERT, BRONZE 2002 A CONCERT, BRONZE 2002
  • The Insurrection 2 August 1943, Bronze The Insurrection 2 August 1943, Bronze
  • AN ARTIST- PAINTER INMATE PREPARING MISLEADING SIGNS, BRONZE 2001 AN ARTIST- PAINTER INMATE PREPARING MISLEADING SIGNS, BRONZE 2001
  • 2 AUGUST 1943 - THE INSURRECTION, BRONZE 2002-2003 2 AUGUST 1943 - THE INSURRECTION, BRONZE 2002-2003
  • THE HEAD OF THE ARTIST SAMUEL WILLENBERG, BRONZE 2002 THE HEAD OF THE ARTIST SAMUEL WILLENBERG, BRONZE 2002
  • A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002 A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002
  • A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002 A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002
  • UNDRESSED WOMEN ON THEIR WAY TO THE GAS CHAMBER, BRONZE 2000 UNDRESSED WOMEN ON THEIR WAY TO THE GAS CHAMBER, BRONZE 2000
  • WILLENBERG'S SIGNATURE IN BRONZE WILLENBERG'S SIGNATURE IN BRONZE
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001 HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001 HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001 HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001 HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001 HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000 AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
  • AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000 AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
  • AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000 AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
  • AN IMATE IN CANTOR'S GARB, BRONZE 1999 -2000 AN IMATE IN CANTOR'S GARB, BRONZE 1999 -2000
  • DESCENDING FROM THE BOXCAR, BRONZE 2000 DESCENDING FROM THE BOXCAR, BRONZE 2000
  • THE "BLUES", BRONZE 2001 THE "BLUES", BRONZE 2001

The  exhibition, under the National Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda to mark the Centenary of Regaining Independence, presents sculptures, drawings,  and excerpts  of  Willenberg's  testimony, describing figures and scenes which he remembered and wanted to commemorate. In spite of the perpetrators’ efforts to destroy all traces, the sculptures provide direct evidence of their deeds.
The sculptures portraying the author's personal experiences as both a prisoner and a participant of the revolt in the Treblinka German death camp is accompanied by the screening of "Treblinka’s Last Witness", a documentary film produced and screened courtesy of WLRN Public Television for South Florida, which is a first-hand account of Samuel Willenberg’s life as a Jewish prisoner of the death camp.
The aim of the IPN’s  nationwide project is not only to educate about the tragedy of the Holocaust, but also to familiarize the younger generation with the author of the sculptures, a Jew from Częstochowa, a soldier of the September campaign, a prisoner of Treblinka, a participant in the camp rebellion, a Warsaw insurgent, and an advocate of reconciliation between Polish and Jewish nations.

After the ceremonial opening of the exhibition in Warsaw on 28 January 2020, with the participation of Ada Krystyna Willenberg, the widow of the artist, the sculptures were presented at the IPN branches in Lublin, Cracow and Kielce, as well as in Gdańsk (at the Museum of the Second World War) and Częstochowa (at the Częstochowa Museum). The Institute of National Remembrance has also prepared a virtual tour of the exhibition supplemented by a voice-over both in Polish and English, as well as touching artistic photographs by Sławomir Kasper (IPN). Quotes from Samuel Willenberg's book Surviving Treblinka in English and Polish were used as descriptions of the exhibits. This has allowed the author’s voice to reverberate fully. It is available at:

https://lastwitness.eu/

 

 

 
Samuel  Willenberg  was  born  in  1923  in Częstochowa,  Poland,  the  son  of  Maniefa, nee Popov, and Perec Willenberg; he had two sisters, his elder Itta and younger Tamara. In  October  1942  he  arrived  at  the  Treblinka camp in a transport of 6,000 Jews deported from  the  Opatów  ghetto.  Most  perished immediately;  he  was  the  only  one  who remained alive. Willenberg was in Treblinka until the outbreak of  the  rebellion  on  2  August  1943.  He  saw with his  own  eyes the  arrival  of  hundreds of  thousands  of  Jews  and  thousands  of  Roma  and  witnessed  them  being  sent  to death  in  the  gas  chambers;  his  own  sisters Itta and Tamara also perished there. Willenberg himself suffered humiliation, violence, cruelty and  extreme  viciousness  at  the  hands  of the  German  SS  staff  and  the  Ukrainian  “SS-Wachmänner” guards.

Samuel  Willenberg  was  among  200  inmates who on 2 August 1943 succeeded in escaping from the  German  extermination camp in Treblinka.  At  the  moment  of  his  death  in  2016,  he remained the last survivor of the rebellion in Treblinka.
Samuel Willenberg became the spokesman for good Polish-Jewish relations, speaking openly about both the tragic and beautiful events, linking these two groups of Polish citizens during the criminal German occupation.
For his activities during and after the Second World  War Samuel  Willenberg  received  the highest national  honors  of  the  Republic  of Poland, including the Virtuti Militari, the Cross of Merit with Swords, the Cross of Valour, the Warsaw Uprising Cross, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, the Order of Polonia Restituta, and the Polish Army Medal.

A Fighter in Hell and His Unusual Sculptures.html

 

 
As a prisoner at Treblinka, Samuel witnessed the death in the gas chambers of his two beloved sisters, Itta and Tamara, among countless others. In his sculptures, the most poignant of these individual tragedies are brought back vividly to life.  Like Polansky’s “The Pianist”, the film focuses on one man’s personal odyssey to reflect the enormity of the genocide inflicted upon Poland’s 3.5 million Jews, at the time the world’s largest Jewish community, seven times greater than the Jewish population of pre-war Germany.
Samuel’s story is one of survival against staggering odds and, though heart-rending and horrifying, it is ultimately one of triumph. WLRN

As an expression of respect for St. John Paul II, after the Pope's death, Willenberg made his sculpture. The Institute of National Remembrance, in cooperation with the “Dobry Grunt” Foundation, added the work devoted to the Holy Father to the exhibition during its presentation in Poland.


For more information on the travelling exhibition:

 

Treasures of memory from Treblinka

 

  • Samuel Willenberg's sculptures
    Samuel Willenberg's sculptures
  • Samuel Willenberg's sculptures
    Samuel Willenberg's sculptures
  • Samuel Willenberg's sculptures
    Samuel Willenberg's sculptures

 

The official opening of the “Treblinka in the eyes of Samuel Willenberg” exhibition – Warsaw – 28 January 2020

 

  • The official opening of the exhibition in Warsaw
    The official opening of the exhibition in Warsaw
  • The official opening of the exhibition in Warsaw
    The official opening of the exhibition in Warsaw
  • The official opening of the exhibition in Warsaw
    The official opening of the exhibition in Warsaw

 

 

 Samuel Willenberg's sculptures  

 

  • Ordered to remove their shoes , Bronze 2002
    Ordered to remove their shoes
  • A concert, Bronze 2002
    A concert, Bronze 2002
  • The Insurrection 2 August 1943, Bronze
    The Insurrection 2 August 1943, Bronze

 

Workshops for students - Art from the Holocaust 

 

  • Workshops for students
    Workshops for students
  • Workshops for students
    Workshops for students
  • Workshops for students
    Workshops for students

 

"The Image of Treblinka in the Eyes of Samuel Willenberg" exhibition – Lublin, 16 June – 10 July 2020

 

 

  • The exhibition in Lublin
    The exhibition in Lublin
  • The exhibition in Lublin
    The exhibition in Lublin
  • The exhibition in Lublin
    The exhibition in Lublin

 

”The Image of Treblinka in the Eyes of Samuel Willenberg” exhibition – Gdańsk, 15 July – 13 August 2020

 

  • The exhibition in Gdańsk
    The exhibition in Gdańsk
  • The exhibition in Gdańsk
    The exhibition in Gdańsk
  • The exhibition in Gdańsk
    The exhibition in Gdańsk

 

The exhibition of Samuel Willenberg’s 15 bronze sculptures depicting life in the German death camp in Treblinka, can be seen at the IPN’s "Przystanek Historia" Educational Center in Cracow until 13 September 2020.

 

  • The exhibition in Cracow
    The exhibition in Cracow
  • The exhibition in Cracow
    The exhibition in Cracow
  • The exhibition in Cracow
    The exhibition in Cracow

 

"The Image of Treblinka in the Eyes of Samuel Willenberg" exhibition prepared by the Institute of National Remembrance is now on display in Częstochowa, the sculptor's home town.

 

  • The exhibition in Częstochowa
    The exhibition in Częstochowa
  • The exhibition in Częstochowa
    The exhibition in Częstochowa
  • The exhibition in Częstochowa
    The exhibition in Częstochowa

 

https://ipn.gov.pl/en/news/4912,A-square-in-Czestochowa-to-be-named-after-Samuel-Willenberg.html?sid=fe14bed52ead6a20e95467556a976712

 

  • Ada Willenberg and Ambassador Marek Magierowski
    Ada Willenberg and Ambassador Marek Magierowski
  • Ada Willenberg, Alon Goldman
    Ada Willenberg, Alon Goldman
  • Ada Willenberg,  Ambassador Marek Magierowski, Alon Goldman
    Ada Willenberg, Ambassador Marek Magierowski, Alon Goldman

 

 

Samuel Willenberg - Everybody’s hero

https://ipn.gov.pl/en/news/3561,Treblinka-II-Extermination-Camp-July-1942-November-1943.html?sid=f678839b47f4814a12cc159993b4997e

 

 

  • AN ARTIST- PAINTER INMATE PREPARING MISLEADING SIGNS, BRONZE 2001
    AN ARTIST- PAINTER INMATE PREPARING MISLEADING SIGNS, BRONZE 2001
  • 2 AUGUST 1943 - THE INSURRECTION, BRONZE 2002-2003
    2 AUGUST 1943 - THE INSURRECTION, BRONZE 2002-2003
  • A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002
    A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002
  • UNDRESSED WOMEN ON THEIR WAY TO THE GAS CHAMBER, BRONZE 2000
    UNDRESSED WOMEN ON THEIR WAY TO THE GAS CHAMBER, BRONZE 2000
  • WILLENBERG'S SIGNATURE IN BRONZE
    WILLENBERG'S SIGNATURE IN BRONZE
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
    HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
    HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
    HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
    AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
  • AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
    AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
  • AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
    AN INMATE COLLECTING BOTTLES , BRONZE 2000
  • AN IMATE IN CANTOR'S GARB, BRONZE 1999 -2000
    AN IMATE IN CANTOR'S GARB, BRONZE 1999 -2000
  • DESCENDING FROM THE BOXCAR, BRONZE 2000
    DESCENDING FROM THE BOXCAR, BRONZE 2000
  • THE "BLUES", BRONZE 2001
    THE "BLUES", BRONZE 2001
 
 
  • A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002
    A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
    HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
    HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
  • A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002
    A CRIPPLED JEW AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE "LAZARETT", BRONZE 2002
  • HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001
    HOMAGE TO RUTH DORFMAN, BRONZE 2001

 

 
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