Hate crimes are rising within our own borders, and at the same time memories of the Nazi atrocities are fading. All this as the last living survivors, now in their eighties and nineties, have such a short time left to share first-hand accounts of how national policies of xenophobia, hate and intolerance affected them personally.
Trudie Strobel is a child survivor of the Holocaust who wanted to forget. For many years she refused to talk about her experiences as a prisoner of the Nazis. But the silence caught up with her and eventually pushed her into a crippling depression.
Stitching coats for the Nazis had enabled Trudie’s mother to save both of their lives in the camps and stitching would go on to save Trudie again as she began to tell her story in needle and thread.
What began as a healing exercise to help her work through the trauma of her past, evolved into breathtaking works of tapestry that tell not only her story but also the history of the Jewish people.
Strand by strand, bead by bead, Trudie told her stories: Rabbis digging their own graves; the barbed wire that she thought she might never see the other side of; her Papa doll, the only tie to her father who had already been taken, torn from her hand by a Nazi solder.
Trudie's tapestry work is a gift to us and to future generations, and her work is a testament to the healing powers of art and a cautionary reminder of the cost of silence.
-- MAYA SAVIN MILLER