Bay Area artist Mitzi Trachtenberg was born in 1929, the same year as Anne Frank, in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill where 11 Jews were gunned down at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27.
“It is very hard for me, just to take it in, that this happened,” she said from her home in Oakland. “I used to walk past that synagogue on my way to and from school every single day.”
The Pittsburgh of her youth, the city where she married and had five children before the family moved to California, was a multicultural place where she never experienced anti-Semitism, she said. “It was a very integrated community that embraced people from all over the world. And I think Pittsburgh will reject this hatred, and remain the way it was.”
In 1995, after a trip to Budapest, Hungary, Trachtenberg created this collage using an image of Anne Frank that she found plastered all over the city for a memorial to the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. The 4-by-5-foot work hangs in the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. Trachtenberg, primarily known as a painter and collagist, also has murals in the ACLU headquarters in San Francisco and in the WestCoast Children’s Clinic in Oakland.