Gouache and pencil on paper
19.7 x 27.5 cm
Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem
Gift of the artist
Nelly Toll was born into the affluent Mieses family. During the Soviet occupation in October 1939, her father went into hiding in order to avoid the threat of being deported to Siberia. Following the German occupation of Lvov, in 1941, Nelly and her family were expelled to the ghetto. Her five-year-old brother was seized during an Aktion and was murdered. With her mother, Rozia, she joined a group that tried, without success, to flee to Hungary. In 1943 her father convinced friends of the family, a Christian couple in the city, to provide refuge for eight-year-old Nelly and her mother. He intended to join them later. In order to pass the long hours in hiding, her mother encouraged her to paint, write stories, and keep a diary. After Lvov was eventually liberated, in 1944, the two realized that they were the family's sole survivors. They remained in Europe for several years while Nelly studied art. She finally immigrated to the United States, where she continued painting, wrote articles and books, and became a university lecturer of art and literature.