“She Wouldn’t Take Off Her Boots”
North Carolina’s Women’s Holocaust Memorial Monument
In Liepāja, Latvia, on December 15, 1941, thousands of Jewish women and children were taken to the women’s prison where they were forced to strip to their underclothes and shot dead in groups of 10. Many of the victims were photographed in their final moments by a Nazi photographer. One such photograph serves as the inspiration for the Monument, “She Wouldn’t Take Off Her Boots.”
The Monument will be North Carolina’s first Women’s Holocaust memorial. This original sculpture by artist Victoria Milstein will honor the strength and resilience of all women. It will be beautifully situated in Greensboro’s LeBauer Park, becoming a “place-making” community experience for all.
The monument is being named in honor of Eva Weiner and Sofia Guralnik, the brave women who saved their children, Shelly Weiner and Raya Kizhnerman, by hiding them in Nazi-occupied Poland for almost two years. Shelly, now a resident of Greenboro, has graciously contributed the lead gift that has enabled this project to proceed.
The Story of the Monument
The Liepāja Massacre
In Latvia on Monday, Dec. 15, 1941, thousands of Jewish women, and children were taken to the women’s prison in Liepāja. From there, in the freezing cold, they were marched to a nearby beach called Skede, forced to strip to their underclothes, taken to the edge of a trench and shot dead in groups of 10. Many of the victims were photographed in their final moments by a Nazi photographer. One such photograph serves as the basis for the Women of the Shoah – Jewish Placemaking monument “She Wouldn’t Take Off Her Boots”.
Full size clay sculpture in process
“She Wouldn’t Take Off Her Boots”
In Honor of Brave Mothers EVA WEINER and SOFIA GURAlNIK
North Carolina’s first and only women’s Holocaust monument, an original sculpture by artist Victoria Milstein, will honor the strength and resilience of all women. The Monument will be a community placemaking experience in Greensboro, NC for the public not only to remember the Holocaust but to have a place for impactful Holocaust education. Honoring those who perished, the Monument will convey a powerful statement against the murder of women and children, antisemitism, genocide and all hate. The Monument will be art that requires social engagement and the participation of its audience: the act of looking through the camera, where the spectator becomes a witness, to see and feel the opposite of what the Nazi photographer was documenting. The Monument “She Wouldn’t Take Off Her Boots”, the memorial of the December 15th, 1941 Liepāja massacre, is a voice for women and children
which says …. We will put our boots on…. We will resist …. We will be the witness …. Arm in arm… We will build a more just society for all communities.
Women of the Shoah
Women of the Shoah engages the community, Holocaust survivors, and their families to build this memorial monument to educate and transform our perspective on the Holocaust, antisemitism, racism, and the genocide of women and children.
News & Events
Women of the Shoah Blog
‘It spoke to me’: Greensboro artist sculpts downtown Holocaust memorial based on picture of women before Nazis massacred them
Originally published in the Greensboro News & Record Written By Dawn Kane GREENSBORO — The 1941 photograph shows four women and a little girl standing arm in arm, moments before they were murdered by the Nazis. They had been told to strip to their underwear in the...
A Greensboro-based artist has designed North Carolina’s first women’s holocaust monument. City Council has approved the project which will be placed in Greensboro’s LeBauer Park.
March 16, 2021North Carolina’s First holocaust memorial dedicated to women set to be displayed in LaBauer Park WGHP Fox 8 News by Bob BuckleyGREENSBORO, N.C. — As Victoria Milstein works on her latest project, she knows it is much more than just art. “We’re the...
March 1, 2021March of the Living Alumni Spotlight: Victoria Milstein (’18), Mid Atlantic, USA from International March of the Living"This week we are proud to feature Victoria Milstein, an alumna from the Mid Atlantic delegation of the March of the Living. Inspired...
To this day some people insist it never happened. Others prefer to repress the memory of it, as if not talking about it, or learning from it, will wash away its awful stain on humanity… As for the broader landscape, a fuller picture of our history is starting, slowly, to be reflected in parks and on town squares.
The General Assembly may appropriate $250,000 to help pay for a Holocaust memorial that would be installed in downtown’s LeBauer Park.
Letters of Support
We have tremendous community support from state, federal and community leadership.
Gail and Gene LeBauer
To create a Holocaust Memorial in this beautiful garden space would powerfully add to the importance of the celebration of Carolyn’s life and commitments; her indomitable spirit would be so aptly represented by these women who stood up in the only way they had available – and the woman who refused to take off her boots shows that we each can have a way to stand up and resist that which is insufferable, intolerable and inhumane. It truly speaks volumes for the power of human resistance to forces of evil and injustice and helps us all understand that each of us has the power to find our voice in actions and deeds.
Elan S Carr
to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
Thank you so much for sharing this deeply moving project with us. I’m surprised to say that I had never before seen that particular photograph which serves as the model for the monument. Thank you so much for this effort!
North Carolina Holocaust Council
I believe the Holocaust Monument, “She Wouldn’t Take Off Her Boots” is critical to further racial and ethnic understanding in North Carolina. I feel the monument will prompt North Carolinians to study the impact of bigotry and intolerance on society similar to the Woolworth’s lunch counter at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.
The Holocaust occurred because good people did not take action against hate. This monument will prompt individuals to consider how their behavior affects others and will motivate individuals to work together with the goal to eliminate the negative misconceptions we have of each other…
The monument will serve as a focal point where individuals and classes can initiate frank and honest dialogue about pluralism, tolerance and acceptance. A key lesson of the Holocaust is that hate will thrive when ignorance and indifference exist in a community.
International Civil Rights Center & Museum
…Greensboro has a widely respected reputation as a place with a long history of social justice activities on behalf of recognizing the dignity of every human being. It is the most fitting place that I can imagine for expanding the civil and human rights dialog that might be focused on such a powerful monument. The opportunity for a prominent placement of the sensitively conceived sculpture adds to the potentially enlightening character of internationally recognized conversations, enriched with reminders of Greensboro’s lesson to the rest of the world and its status as a “Civil Rights City.”
I have been a Holocaust history educator for more than 40 years and have seen countless Holocaust Memorials throughout the world, from North America to Europe to Israel… It is not an exaggeration, in my opinion, to say that Victoria Milstein’s proposed monument, “She Wouldn’t Take Off Her Boots” will take its place among the most important Holocaust Memorials in the world…
The monument is an example of what is called “spiritual resistance.” It shows the indomitable spirit of these women in the face of incomprehensible evil.
NC General Assembly
Rep Ashton Clemmons, District 57
Together, we the undersigned, write to you in full support of the creation of the Women’s Holocaust Memorial “She Wouldn’t Take Off Her Boots” to serve as the first Holocaust monument located in North Carolina. It would be an honor and represent women for the strength and resilience in the face of uncertainty. In would be an honor for Greensboro, a city known for its historic role in the first against social injustice, to call the sculpture home. What a privledge it would be, for the Women’s Holocaust Memorial to be situated in one of Greensboro’s downtown parks.
Thank you for your interest in Women of the Shoah. Use this form to inquire about how you can get involved or to ask a question.
517 S Elm St.
Greensboro, NC 27406