This leather jacket is lined with sheepskin and embroidered with pink details. It belonged to Blanca Pinsker from Bialystok, Poland. This jacket brought her warmth and comfort during her escape.
Blanca Pinsker’s Jacket
Confiscation of Blanca’s Family Store by the Soviet Army
Blanca wore this jacket when she confronted a Soviet officer who had taken the keys to her family’s store. The officer offered to give them back if Blanca became a spy, but she refused. After packing up their belongings, her family went to Vilnius. In 1941, the German army arrived in Vilnius and forced all Jews, including Blanca’s family, to move into a ghetto. Blanca, her sister and nephew obtained false papers and escaped.
Blanca Pinsker’s Escape
In 1943, a policeman asked Blanca to follow him, and she put on her jacket before leaving the house where she had been hiding. She was arrested by Nazi officials and put on a train with another family. When the guard stopped to get water inside a house, Blanca ran into a field. The guard tried to shoot her, but she managed to hide in a barn. Blanca found a priest who gave her new false papers, and she spent the end of the war working on a farm in Lithuania.
Blanca kept her jacket on her journey and brought it with her when she immigrated to Canada in 1948.
Alex Becker, Blanca’s nephew, donated this jacket to the Montreal Holocaust Museum in 2003.
This project is part of the implementation of the Plan culturel numérique du Québec.