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Babyn Yar and the Art of Felix Lembersky

October 12, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Babyn Yar paintings by Felix Lembersky remained locked away for years in Yelena Lembersky’s childhood home. The Soviets did not allow Holocaust-themed paintings in state-controlled public spaces. Her mother and grandmother refused to accept their censorship. Instead, they organized informal shows in their small apartment in Leningrad, where friends and strangers gathered to commemorate the massacre and see his forbidden art. After years of fighting the system, the three women left Russia and brought Felix Lembersky’s oeuvre to the United States. His Execution: Babyn Yar canvases, created between 1944 and 1952, are now known as the earliest artistic representation of the massacre in Kyiv, Ukraine. Silenced by Stalin, communists, and secret police, Babyn Yar became synonymous with Holocaust-by-bullets and the symbol of Soviet Jewish fight for freedom.

Yelena Lembersky will speak about her grandfather’s paintings, his journey from Poland and Ukraine to Russia, and his life of resistance to the erasure of Jewish memory. She will also talk about her critically-acclaimed memoir, Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour, growing up as a child-refusenik, while her mother and grandmother took on the mission and tremendous risks to save this timeless art.


This event is brought to you in partnership with The University of South Florida Institute for Russian European and Eurasian Studies.

The Debbie and Brent Sembler Florida Holocaust Museum Lecture at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg


October 12, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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