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Magarete Sander-31-10-2022-Meinolf_Otto.jpg

Homage to Margarete Sander


59 x 45 cm (h x w)

acrylic on paper

Margaret Sander, also known as Grete, was 15 years old when she died in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. She and her brother were sent to the Netherlands by their parents in an effort to keep them safe from the Nazis. While her brother planed and succeeded to flee to Israel on his own account, Grete did not go with him, she felt safe with her guest family in Groningen. However, when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, Grete and her host family were taken to Auschwitz and killed in the gas chambers. In 2012, a Stolperstein, a type of memorial marker, was placed in Oberhausen, where Grete had lived.

In a way, each portrait I make is a contemplation of sorts on the life of the person I am portraying. Also, Grete looked back at me from the painting. Her death is upsetting. The injustice of it all remains maddening. Most of all I wanted to express what we lost when she was killed. My choice of a colour palette is meant as a celebration of who she was and what she could have still become.  What were her hopes (as a 15-year-old)? What were her dreams? What could Grete have brought to life if her life wasn't taken away from her? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I can imagine many paths she could have chosen and the impacts that her life could have had if it had not been taken away.


Painting these kids that were murdered in Auschwitz is a way for me to never forget.

Links to Margarete Sander:

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