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Yad Vashem Traveling Exhibitions

Private Tolkatchev at the Gates of Hell

Selected Panels from the Exhibition

Taleskoten, 1944Singing Girls, 1945The Savior, 1945One of the Nameless, 1944Lisa, 1945

Lisa, 1945Lisa, 1945
Pencil on paper

Tolkachev saw Lisa, a young woman who was beaten by the Nazis as the embodiment of Mona Lisa, Da Vinci’s famous painting.  Lisa was a woman whose children were taken from her; she was beaten and crippled; and left with only one eye.  Yet, she was clutching two different shoes, a symbol of her children, and she had a serene air about her, just like Mona Lisa, and “radiated an intense vitality through her eyes”(Tolkachev) even with all the sorrows and struggle in her life.  Tolkatchev was fascinated by the contradiction of this woman’s youth to her appearance, and could not look away, even while she walked away, out of his line of sight.