Survivor/Artist Trudie Strobel describes her Holocaust experience and explains her inspiration for the Museum's "Badges of Shame" Exhibit:

My name is Trudie Strobel. I was born in the Ukraine near Odessa. I am a child survivor of the Holocaust.  As a little girl, I had very few play things.  In my prized possession was a beautiful doll.  I can remember the horror of my doll being torn away from me by a Nazi guard as we were transported to the camps. 

After my liberation, we came to America.  In my later years, I remembered the loss of my beautiful doll.  I dressed the doll and attached the yellow star ordered by the Nazis.  I started to do some research and learned that Jews were subjected to the humiliation of having to identify themselves as Jews through their dress and badges for many centuries.  You are looking at my work, which I call “Badges of Shame."

I cried many times while I worked on this project, especially when painting the shoes in two different colors in the Figure 2 costumes from Turkey in which I incorporated many required restrictions of a span of several hundred years.

As you look at Figure 3, you can see the restrictions forced upon the Jews in Egypt at the end of the 17th century, a black long stovepipe hat.  You can imagine the discomfort of such a headdress.  Figure 5 shows Spain in the kingdom of Aragon in 1396, the gramalla or floor length cape which was a required Jewish dress.  As you can see, there is no opening for the hands.  You can think of the difficulty of having to raise and hold on to the mantel, to move about or carry baskets, and on top of that for everyone to identify you as a Jewess.

In Figure 6, the hat that men had to wear to depict themselves as Jews was small, pointed and black.  This specific hat was worn with pride until Pope Innocent the 3rd proclaimed that Jews had to wear the yellow badge and a yellow pointed hat of considerable height.  In 1850, Jewish women were ordered to wear a yellow kerchief on their required red headdress.  And by the mid-19th century, the orders of restriction had stopped until the 1930s when the Nazis began their take over in Europe.

The top shelf displays ceremonial and wedding costumes of Sephardic or Jews from the past time.  I wanted to capture just a few examples and let time stand still for us as we take in their beauty.  Thank you for taking the time to visit our museum and I hope you enjoyed learning some history though these dolls.