An Uncommon Journey
From Vienna to Shanghai to America
A Brother and Sister Escape to Freedom During World War II
By Deborah Strobin and Ilie Wacs

Ilie Wacs Art Collection
"Without those papers, one did not exist. It was the beginning of what was to follow.”  
      -- Ilie Wacs

When artist and former iconic coat designer Ilie Wacs began work with his sister on their memoir An Uncommon Journey, he rediscovered a suitcase stuffed with the family’s identity papers. The contents inspired Wacs to create “A Gathering Storm: The Vienna Papers, 1938,” a unique 22-piece collection of artwork, which debuted at the Pamela Williams Gallery in Amagansett, New York.

Deriving its imagery from stamps, seals, passports, script, and symbols of authority, the work focuses on the docu
mentation required for Jews that began with Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), a wave of state-sponsored anti-Jewish violence in Nazi-controlled areas on November 9th and 10th in 1938.

Today the family’
s papers that inspired the art collection are part of the U.S. Holocaust Museum's permanent archives.

All or part of the collection is now available to be permanently housed at a college or university, diversity center of learning, or museum. In the interim, pieces from the collection are available for exhibit adding a rich and powerful perspective to Kristallnacht, the plight of the Holocaust Jews and the Shanghai Ghetto Jews.

Read a description here of the work on exhibit at Simon Wiesenthal's Museum of Tolerance in Manhattan from Nov 7th to Dec 6th, 2013.

To kick off an exhibit of the collection at your venue, Wacs and his sister, Deborah Strobin, are available for a special evening of art and history that includes first-hand accounts of Kristallnacht through the eyes of Wacs as a teen growing up in Vienna, the family’s escape to Shanghai, and their ongoing search to find out what happened to the local Nazi SS officer who surprisingly saved their lives.

“A Gathering Storm: The Vienna Papers, 1938” consists of eight large paintings (approximately 60” x 60”), seven medium size paintings (30” x 30”) and seven smaller paintings (12” x 12”). Arrangements for a private viewing can be made at the artist’s home in Manhattan. We can also make arrangements to deliver the works locally in the New York City area.
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