The Life-Saving Art of Holocaust Survivor Trudie Strobel
By Jody Savin

.April 2020

Hardcover | $35
ISBN 978-1-945551-76-5

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Trudie Strobel with her work “Mark of Time.”

The Life-Saving Art of Holocaust Survivor Trudie Strobel

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.

On this page are just a few of Trudie’s stunning works, photographed by Ann Cutting.

Reviews

“A work of beauty: breathtaking tapestries, combined with a sensitive, poignant narrative of how art prevailed over suffering in the life and work of one survivor. Stitched & Sewn is medicine for one’s eyes and heart.”
David Fishman, author of The Book Smugglers and professor of history at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Stitched & Sewn is a testament to the profound power of the human experience; the ability to endure the worst atrocities and then create meaning and indelible beauty is a buoying, wondrous thing. That three artists from different media—writer Jody Savin, photographer Ann Elliott Cutting, and tapestry artist Trudie Strobel—came together to realize this book reminds us that all of our life’s work, including that of survival, is autobiography. You won’t soon forget the stories captured here, in words and images.”
Alison Singh Gee, author of Where the Peacocks Sing

 Stitched & Sewn is a cautionary tale of what happens when a society loses its humanity. Trudie Strobel’s story reveals the emotional carnage of surviving the Holocaust and the cost of silence, and it’s a testament to the healing properties of art and documenting impossible pain. Strobel literally stitches together tapestries of memory and Jewish life, and in doing so implores us to face the ugliest chapters of history, and to never forget them.”
Michelle Brafman, author of Washing the Dead and Bertrand Court

“When there are no words, art is the storyteller, each stitch a story. Stitched & Sewn is an incredibly beautiful, haunting journey, showing the power of art to integrate us and cultivate healing.”
Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, LCSW, co-author of The Whole-Brain Child and The Power of Showing Up, and the author of Bottom Line for Baby

Press

Learn more about Trudie and her work in the Jewish Journal’s feature article.

About the Author

Jody Savin is a graduate of Princeton University and the American Film Institute, where she earned her MFA. Following college, she worked as a playwright and poet while supporting herself as musical director for such soap operas as The Guiding Light and As the World Turns, winning three Daytime Emmy nominations. Her poetry has been published in dozens of literary magazines. As a screenwriter, Savin wrote the award-winning TNT documentary Chico Mendes: Voice of the Amazon, and she wrote, produced, and distributed the independent films Bottle Shock, Nobel Son, and CBGB. She has also written and produced feature films for Disney, Universal, Columbia, and 20th Century Fox. She lives in Pasadena, California.