From left: Ron Meier, executive director of the American Society for Yad Vashem; Matthew Bronfman, Chairman of Limmud FSU; Chaim Chesler, a member of the leadership representing the Claims Conference; and Izzy Tapoochi, president of Israel Bonds.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Limmud FSU, the educational network which aims to strengthen Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide, is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp with an art exhibit.
Yad Vashem's exhibition, "Private Tolkatchev at the Gates of Hell," was one of the main attractions at this year's Limmud FSU conference in New Jersey. The artist, Zinovii Tolkatchev, enlisted in the Red Army in 1941, and created official art for the Soviet regime. Later on, as an official artist of the Red Army he joined up with Soviet forces in Majdanek. Shortly after Majdanek's liberation (1944) he joined with the forces that liberated Auschwitz (1945). Now the Jewish community in the New York area can also examine first hand his works of art.
“I did what I had to do; I couldn’t refrain from doing it. My heart commanded, my conscience demanded, the hatred for fascism reigned.” In these words, artist Private Zinovii Tolkatchev embodies the creative essence of one who arrived at the gates of hell in a Red Army uniform.
"This is the largest conference we have ever had in the USand it shows the success of the volunteer's leadership of this organization and the compelling nature of the sessions," said Limmud FSU Chairman Matthew Bronfman. "We are anticipating to break this current record next year."