January’s Portrait of the Month comes with an amazing story. The Institute for Holocaust Education in Omaha, Nebraska included a Memory Project workshop in their Art and the Holocaust program. A survivor from their community, Sina Blanker, saw the portraits and was thrilled to recognize one of them as her father, Simon Gelbart. It is always very special for us to hear about these family connections. In honor of this exciting discovery, we are featuring the portrait of Simon created at the workshop. Simon’s story of survival is harrowing. His family endured several dangerous, bleak, and tragic circumstances before emigrating to Omaha.
Simon, a respected shoemaker at home in Poland, brought his shoe-making tools with him to America and occasionally repaired, but never made a pair of shoes again. Read more about his family’s survival story below, and take a look at his shoe-making tools which were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by his son David.