Photo Credit: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
The famous photo of Ludovit Feld (front, left) leaving Auschwitz.
Life-size bronze sculpture of Ludovit Feld stands next to the gallery in Kosice that bears his name.
Life-size bronze sculpture of Ludovit Feld stands next to the gallery in Kosice that bears his name.

I knocked on so many doors that wouldn’t open until at long last I came upon those behind which I was welcomed with open arms. Together with the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, in Glen Cove, New York, I curated the first U.S. exhibit of my art collection, “Ludovit Feld the Little Giant, ” for a Yom HaShoah program in April 2012.

I received a standing ovation upon the conclusion of my speech at the official opening of the exhibit, with many in the audience wiping tears from their eyes. The exhibit proved extremely popular and was held over for more than six months.


In 2013 the city of Kosice was designated a “Cultural Capital of Europe.” Together with the Eastern Slovakian Gallery there, I organized a cultural event remembering Ludovit on the 22nd anniversary of his death.

The gallery was bursting at its seams as more than 300 people gathered to pay their respects. A new documentary film about Feld’s life, “The Painter of the Doctor of Death” premiered. The following day there was a gathering at his gravesite in the Jewish cemetery, where Kaddish was said and we placed many small rocks on top of his tombstone.

That same year I presented his art and story to the Society for the History of Czechoslovakian Jews in New York City during the organization’s annual remembrance day.

In 2014, when Hofstra University held an all-day conference honoring Holocaust survivors, liberators, and righteous among the nations and their descendants, I had the honor of presenting a workshop on Ludovit’s life and art.

In 2015, as a keynote speaker at a Kristallnacht program held at Long Beach City Hall, I spoke of Ludovit and presented a display of some of his art.

I am particularly proud of my efforts to convince Jewish community leaders in Kosice of the importance of establishing Ludovit’s gallery in his hometown.

We began working together on its realization, and the Cultural Center of Ludovit Feld was established in September 2015. While the gallery centers on Feld’s life and work, it also introduces to the public other Jewish artists who lived and worked in Slovakia and offers lectures on Jewish history and the Holocaust.

In 2016, a life-size bronze sculpture of Feld, which I dedicated in my husband’s memory, was installed on a pedestal next to the gallery. Finally, 25 years after his death, Uncle Lajos can look directly into the eyes of his admirers.

Last month, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Slovakian president Andrej Kiska visited the synagogue on Pushkinova Street and the adjacent Feld gallery and sculpture, lighting a candle in memory of all the victims and meeting and greeting survivors.

Currently there is a unique solo exhibit presenting about 150 of his works in the aforementioned Eastern Slovakian Gallery, located in the center of Kosice. In the near future there will be a park or square that will bear Feld’s name forever. And there are classes now about the Holocaust and Ludovit Feld in schools around the city, with students writing essays about him and expressing their gratitude for his life and his art.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, even as I became busy traveling and lecturing and setting up exhibits, I went back to those 30 pages of my embryonic memoir and, together with Slovakian journalist Andrea Coddington, co-authored a book titled Zidovka, which is a derogatory term for a female Jew – “Dirty Jewess.”

It is my personal story as well as the story of an entire second generation of Holocaust survivors living in postwar Communist Czechoslovakia. The book would not have been possible had I not been imbued with a burning desire to keep the memory of my parents alive and to honor Ludovit Feld, whose art was my greatest inspiration.

It was not an easy task to open up about my life in such a public manner but it definitely served its purpose.

Zidovka was published in Slovakia in 2010 and quickly became a bestseller. Many readers asked me to publish an English version so that their children and grandchildren could better understand them and appreciate how lucky they are to have been born and to live in a country like the United States.

I am thrilled to announce that Dirty Jewess will soon be released in English by Urim Publishers of Israel. With its publication I will know I have truly fulfilled my husband’s wish.


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Silvia Fishbaum speaks internationally on the Holocaust and the life and work of Ludovit Feld. She lives in Long Beach, New York.