The Muranow Street Trolley
in the Warsaw Ghetto
This trolley is drawn from a photo in the book The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – 45th Anniversary (Interpress, Warsaw, 1988). The photo is from the chapter Life in the Ghetto. This drawing became the first drawing of the Under the Wings Holocaust art series.
I was struck by the three figures: the conductor and two men on either side of the of the front of the trolley. All of whom, I contemplated, probably went up in smoke in the gas chambers or died in the ghetto. The ghetto itself was a concentration-death camp, where over one-hundred thousand people died in 1941.
The Nazis would have eventually removed the trolley for its valuable metal. After the total destruction of the ghetto, spring 1943, a group of Greek Jewish slave laborers were moved from the Auschwitz death camp complex to Warsaw, where they spent many months retrieving any usable metal from the ghetto for shipment to Nazi Austria and Germany.
Ulica (Polish for street) Muranowska was a well-known street in the old Jewish quarter of Warsaw. After drawing the trolley, I was transfixed by its innocence – surrounded by the white space of the drawing paper – and I decided to add wings. I drew the two wings on subsequent visits to the ornithology lab, Burke Museum of Natural History, University of Washington in Seattle.