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Zigi Shipper (b. 1930)


Zigi was nine years old when Poland was invaded by the Nazis. By the age of ten, living with his grandparents in the Łódź ghetto, he was working in an ammunitions factory. His grandfather died in the ghetto in 1942 and two years later, when the ghetto was liquidated, all the forced labourers were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau and from there to Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig (now Gdańsk), where Zigi and other young men from Łódź ghetto were forced to work in the railway yards. It was here that he met Manfred Goldberg and the two have remained lifelong friends.

In the closing days of the Second World War, this group of young men were part of one of the notorious death marches to the German naval town of Neustadt in Holstein, from where they were liberated by British troops on 3 May 1945.

Visiting Zigi during the Covid-19 pandemic, Jenny Saville was overwhelmed and challenged by the prospect of creating in paint something that would bear witness to Zigi’s character and strength, as well as acknowledge his vulnerability and experience.

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