Zuzanna Hertzberg
Volunteers for Freedom

In Memory of Wera Luftig
In Memory of Miriam Gothelf / Maria Melchior

In Memory of Elżbieta Borensztejn / Elżbieta Bekier
In Memory of Anna i Adela Korn / Adela Szerman

In Memory of Zofia Szleyen
In Memory of Dobra Goldszajder / Dora Klejn /Dora Lorska

In Memory of Braina Libka Rudina / Braina Rudin-Foss (Voss) /Marlena Nenadova
In Memory of Miriam Libka Rudina / Miriam Vitlins

8 wooden boxes, mixed media
57 × 49 × 7 cm (closed)

Audio guide to this piece

This work restores the memory of Jewish Polish women who fought in the International Brigades in support of its Republican government against General Franco’s troops during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). Between 40,000 and 59,000 volunteers from 53 countries participated in the International Brigades set up by the Communist International (Komintern). Among these volunteers were many left-wing and anarchist Jewish fighters from Eastern European countries, about which little has been known until now. They engaged in this war on a voluntary basis to counter the expansion of far-right and anti-Semitic ideologies in Europe. For the first time, a large number of women from all over the world were involved in combat.
Zuzanna Hertzberg’s work focuses on this history of women fighters. Especially for the exhibition, the cycle is complemented by two works about Jewish Latvian physicians, sisters Miriam Rudina and Braina Rudina-Foss. The artist writes: “The format of a box for portraits was chosen as it resembles a space where certain family stories are kept. Each box is devoted to a particular woman and consists of an affective portrait and a collage created with elements from her biography. The stories of women are very diverse and therefore they become a universal story of female fighters against a military coup who fought under the slogan: ‘For Your Freedom and Ours’.”

Ieva Astahovska

Zuzanna Hertzberg is an interdisciplinary artist, artivist and researcher. Her practice includes painting, performance, textiles and assemblage. She is the author of installations and collages using archival materials. She is interested in the interweaving of individual and collective memory, and in the search for identity in the mechanism of appropriation and restitution of minority heritage, especially women’s heritage, as well as issues of geopolitics and strategies of marginalisation of uncomfortable narratives. She earned her PhD at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts (Spaces of Ignorance, 2018). She has participated in a number of exhibitions in Poland and abroad. She is the co-founder of the Jewish Antifascist Block, a member of the Antifascist Coalition, and a member of the board of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.