Over 30 years ago, Ann Weiss, daughter of two Holocaust survivors, came upon a collection of photographs that should no longer have existed. As part of a campaign to wipe out not only the lives of Jews, but their heritage and memories as well, Nazis destroyed all photos, letters, and drawings that people brought with them to the concentration camps. Somehow, this collection was saved, most likely by an underground group at Auschwitz. One of the photos was of Dora Zylberberg. We know only a little about her: She was the sister of a Chaim Michael Zylberberg, one of the leaders of a group of religious Zionists in Bedzin, Poland. She and Chaim’s wife Tauba, her dear friend, did not survive the war. This month’s Portrait of the Month honors Dora, and those who risked their lives to save this priceless collection of Jewish memories.
We were struck by this portrait of Dora, which captures her face in the same way the original photo was uncovered, light coming from darkness. Memory Project founder Roz Jacobs observed, “It’s amazing with so few lines that the right eye is so defined, same for all the features that emerge with the shadows and light.” This beautiful portrait was created in Bytom, Poland, only a few miles from Dora’s hometown of Bedzin.
Thank you Ann Weiss for your discovery, and your excellent book on the subject, THE LAST ALBUM: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau.