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Stuart Pearson Wright (b. 1975)

Rachel Levy (nee Slomovic) (b. 1930) 2021

RCIN 408759

As Jewish people became more and more excluded, life grew increasingly difficult for families such as Rachel’s during the early years of the war. The non-Jewish families from the remote village where she lived allowed most of her family to evade capture until 1944, when they were rounded up and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Rachel and her brother were spared because they were able to work; their mother, younger sisters and baby brother were sent to the gas chambers. At the start of 1945 she survived a death march to Bergen-Belsen before being liberated from there by British troops on 15 April 1945.

The portrait shows a woman of great inner strength and dignity – qualities that spoke readily to the artist when he met Rachel during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. He took as many photographs as possible so that he could continue to work without further sittings.