Stitching History from the Holocaust

On view September 4, 2021 – January 2, 2022, in the Janet Kohn Gallery on the Second Floor

In the winter of 1939, Paul Strnad wrote his cousin Alvin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Desperate to obtain an affidavit to escape the onslaught of Nazi Germany, Paul sent Alvin sketches of his wife Hedwig’s designs. Paul and Hedy hoped that these examples of her work would provide evidence of their financial independence. Despite Alvin’s best efforts, both Hedwig and her husband Paul were murdered in the Holocaust. All that remains of the story are this letter and Hedwig’s sketches.

Stitching History from the Holocaust explores the life and work of Hedy Strnad before her murder. The main feature of this exhibit is the recreation of Hedy’s dresses from her sketches. It serves as an example of what happens when human suffering is ignored and is a testament to the incalculable loss of the Holocaust.

Hedy dress sketch