Painted after October 7, the Holocaust survivor portrait that radiates hope

A painting of Susan Pollack OBE is on display at a gallery in London


Picture of resilience: Laura Arenson’s painting of Susan Pollack

 A portrait of Auschwitz survivor Susan Pollack has been chosen for the annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London.

The portrait was painted by Laura Arenson a few days after the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and is entitled Hatred Never Wins in the End.

Arenson said it had been “a true honour to spend time with Susan and learn her profoundly moving story. Through her trauma she has learned that life is precious — you can go in one of two ways — up or down.

“Susan chose to walk away and rebuild her life. There was no revenge, and no justice. My wish is that through painting her portrait, Susan’s story of extraordinary resilience and courage, her pain and loss as well as her dignity, hope and kindness will continue to be shared.”

Pollack and her family were deported from their home in Hungary in May 1944. At Auschwitz she was separated from her mother, who was killed in the gas chambers, and then sent to work as a slave labourer in the armaments factory in Guben in Germany.

She survived a death march to Bergen Belsen, where she was liberated in April 1945. She lost more than 50 relatives in the Holocaust and only her brother Laci survived.

Now 93 and living in London, she received an OBE for her services to Holocaust education for over 30 years, having been made MBE seven years earlier.

The exhibition is open at the Mall Galleries until tomorrow week (May 18).

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