Stitched & Sewn
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Stitched & Sewn

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The Life-Saving Art of Holocaust Survivor Trudie Strobel

Jody Savin, Author

Ann Elliott Cutting, Photographer

A child survivor of the Holocaust, Trudie Strobel settled in California, raising a family and never discussing the horrors she witnessed. After her children grew up, the trauma of her youth caught up with her, triggering a paralyzing depression. A therapist suggested that Trudie attempt to draw the memories that haunted her, and she did—but with needle and thread instead of a pencil.

Resurrecting the Yemenite stitches of her ancestors, and using the skills taught by her mother, whose master seamstress talent saved their lives in the camps, Trudie began by stitching vast tableaus of her dark and personal memories of the Holocaust. What began as therapy exploded into works of breathtaking art, from narrative tapestries of Jewish history rendered in exacting detail to portraits of remarkable likeness, and many of her works are now in public and private collections. Through her art practice, Trudie recovered from her depression and speaks frequently to schools, churches, synagogues, and community groups about the lessons of the Holocaust.

In Stitched & Sewn, Jody Savin tells the dramatic story of how a needle and thread saved Trudie Strobel’s life twice, and Ann Elliott Cutting’s photographs showcase Trudie’s remarkable works of art.