This site is dedicated to the painter and poet Izrael Lejzerowicz*, ישׂראל לײזעראָװיטש, born 6 November 1902 (19 Chesvan 5663) in Łódź, Poland and remembered especially for his work in the Ghetto of Łódź, Poland (renamed “Litzmannstadt” during the Nazi occupation).
Lejzerowicz enjoyed wide recognition as an artist in Poland well beyond the Jewish community. He was well-known as a portrait painter, but he also created abstract, symbolic drawings and illustrations, often on religious themes. He was active in the arts community in this highly industrial and commercial city, represented by five works in the original collections of the city’s new art museum.
You can see a selection of his works in this website - many of them surviving only as photographic reproductions.
The artist’s father, Lejb Lejzerowicz, a poor tailor, born in 1869 in Warka, lived with his son in the ghetto and died in 1943 or 1944. His mother, Ruchela Koc, born in Warsaw in 1868, died in 1934. He was one of seven children. One brother, Szmul/Samuel, and one sister, Sara or Sala, later known as Sophie, survived the war. The family lived in the center of Łódź at Kilińskiego 49 in the 1930’s, having lived earlier at Zawadzka 4 (now Adama Próchnia 4).
There are various accounts of the artist’s death; we believe he was still alive on August 1, 1944 in Łódź. It is likely Lejzerowicz was murdered in Auschwitz in August 1944, after the final liquidation of the ghetto.
During the ghetto period, Lejzerowicz lived and worked at Rybna 14A (Fischstraße) and also hosted a salon for artists and writers in many languages – Yiddish, Polish, German, possibly Russian – giving himself and his guests a means of maintaining their humanity and dignity as human beings.
The website includes a blog, historical texts, literary texts, photographs, paintings/drawings, and information about the cultural circle that met at his studio at Rybna 14A during the ghetto period.
Please contact me with comments, questions, suggestions, or – especially – with additional information!
william.gilcher AT verizon.net
*Note: When he signed his name using Roman characters, the painter used this spelling of his name: Lejzerowicz; it is therefore the spelling that I use consistently in this website and project. In various reference works and articles, you will find his name spelled various ways: Lajzerowicz, Leizerowicz, or Leizerovitch. Family members who moved abroad before or after the war spelled their name Leiserowitz (Germany, England, USA) or Leiserovic (France).
All images and quotations here are for informational and scholarly use only. They are not available for publication without contact to the rights-holders (indicated when known). Other content © William Gilcher 2010-2013.