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Vera Korchemnaya of East Valley High places second for artwork in Observance of Holocaust writing and art contests

UPDATED: Thu., April 25, 2019

From staff reports

The Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust has announced the top three selections in the high school division of the 13th annual Eva Lassman Memorial Writing and Art Contests. The contest theme is “Speaking Up for ‘the Other’.”

The contest asked participants to learn about the Holocaust and read about or listen to some of the many stories of survivors who were labeled “the other” by the Nazis, and consider these questions:

What are the lessons you learned from their stories that had a major impact on you? Why is it important to speak up for those who are considered “the other”?

Who are “the other” today? Based on the lessons you learned, what are you motivated to do to speak up for them?

If you go

The contest winners will be recognized at the Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust at 7 p.m. Sunday at Temple Beth Shalom, 1322 E. 30th Ave., on Spokane’s South Hill. The winner of the Creative Writing Contest will read her essay at the Observance. Everyone is invited to attend.

Second place art, high school

‘Return of a Treasure’

By Vera Korchemnaya

11th grade

East Valley High School

I was inspired by Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee who fled her country after it became occupied by Nazis, and her fight to win back what was rightfully hers. Her uncle left his collection of six Gustav Klimt paintings to her in his will, including the Adele Bloch-Bauer I, recreated in my own painting. During the Nazi regime, the paintings were looted and after the war, fell into the possession of the Austrian government.

Attempting to negotiate for what was rightfully hers, however, she was turned away. This is when lawyer Randol Schoenberg, in the face of an antagonistic public, took up her case and supported her through an exhausting fight for her sentimental inheritance – this is what it means to speak up for others. Schoenberg is depicted here smiling proudly alongside Maria Altmann after their long overdue victory.

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