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Partially embroidered tablecloth made by a Belgian Jewish woman recovered postwar

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, United States

White tablecloth partially embroidered by Salomea Fejnman Poler circa 1940-41, in Anderlecht, Belgium, and recovered by David Poler, her father-in-law, after the war. The persecution of Jewish persons in Belgium by German authorities after the May 1940 invasion, made it extremely difficult for Salomea, 33, to care for her five children, ages ten to two: Jeannine, Lilian, Rosette, Fanny, and Abraham. Salomea sought safe hiding place for them, and Abraham was placed with Catholic priests and the girls in a convent. In September 1942, Salomea was sent to Mechelen (Malines) transit camp and then deported to Auschwitz concentration camp, where she was killed. The five children, and their paternal grandparents, who living in hiding in a hospital, survived the war. Salomea’s eight siblings in Poland perished. After the war ended in May 1945, the children lived in Jewish orphanages until joining their father in Venezuela.

Details

  • Title: Partially embroidered tablecloth made by a Belgian Jewish woman recovered postwar
  • Provenance: The tablecloth was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Jeannine Poler, Lilian Poler Breziner, Rosette Poler de Szajnert, and Fanny Poler de Neuberger, the children of Salomea Poler.
  • Subject Keywords: Deportees--Belgium--Biography. Hidden children (Holocaust)--Belgium--Biography. Holocaust victims--Belgium--Biography. Holocaust, Jewish (!939-1945)--Belgium--Personal narratives. Jewish children in the Holocaust--Belgium--Biography. Jews--Belgium--Anderlecht--Biography.
  • Type: Furnishings and Furniture
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Square, lightweight, white cotton table covering, partially embroidered over a blue inked pattern in satin stitch, stem stitch, and French knots in light purple, gold, white, and brown satin floss. Embroidered in white in the center is a stylized S. Each opposing corner has the same scene. Two corners depict a man and a woman holding hands and leaning in for a kiss. The man wears a purple stitched Pierrot harlequin costume with a ruffled collar and polka dots; the woman, a gold stitched ballerina costume. The other two corners have 2 figures in similar costumes, but different poses. The man plays a guitar and is stitched in gold; the woman is sniffing a flower bouquet and is not embroidered. A leafy vine winds around the border of the cloth, with an embroidered trefoil flower in each corner. Sewn around the border is a 2 inch strip of drawn thread whitework embroidery with a floral pattern and a scalloped edge.

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