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Mar 11, 2019 1:23 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Ruth Jacobsen Of Southampton Dies February 19

Mar 12, 2019 1:33 PM

Artist and writer Ruth Jacobsen died on February 19, 2019, in Southampton. A “hidden child” during the Holocaust, her parents fled with her from Germany to Holland, where the Dutch Resistance—to save her life—separated her from her parents and hid her in a succession of Dutch families, where she learned to adapt to fear and to uncertainty, often posing as a little cousin or sibling.

Survivors noted that it is a testimony to Ms. Jacobsen’s courage and spirit that she survived the suicides of both her parents and left Germany and emigrated to the United States. In New York she became the first female movie projectionist, working overtime for 20 years, freeing days to pursue her art.

Through her writing and collages, Ms. Jacobsen “reclaimed herself,” survivors said. She exhibited her art and published a memoir, which is illustrated with her collages, “Rescued Images: Memories of a Childhood in Hiding.” It garnered many awards, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal from The Parents’ Choice Foundation; and the Silver Medal in Young Adult Nonfiction from Book of the Year. The National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council named “Rescued Images” a Notable Children’s Book in the field of Social Studies. Booklist called it “an unusual blend of memoir and image that reveals the horror of war and the transformative power of art.” The Book Report said it was unforgettable: “Jacobsen’s memoir of the Holocaust represents a unique perspective, one that should be included on school library shelves.”

Ms. Jacobsen came to this country as an immigrant. Her legacy is significant, certainly to her life, but beyond that to world history, evoking the legacy of another hidden child in Holland—Anne Frank, who gave the world the girl’s perspective of the hidden child. Ruth Jacobsen gives us both—the girl’s perspective and the woman’s perspective. She illuminated the story of the child through her collages and words.

Survivors said she reclaimed her capacity for joy through her art and through her devoted relationship with Christine Epifania, wife and partner for more than three decades.

Many of their friends celebrated their marriage with them in the garden of their house in Southampton.

A memorial service and a display of her art will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork, Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, on Saturday, April 27, at 2 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made to Neighbors in Support of Immigrants, Box 803, Hampton Bays, New York 11946; or the Hamptons LGBT Center, 44 Union Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963.

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