Trude Sojka Cultural House in Quito
Trude Sojka was born in 1909 in the city of Berlin, Germany, to a Czech family, and was raised in Prague, where she married at the age of twenty-seven. She began to show her artwork, both sculptures and paintings, in Berlin until the outbreak of World War II, when the Nazis first sent her to Theresiendstadt. Here she tried raising the morale of the children by encouraging them to draw and forget their horrific conditions. It did not take long before she, her newborn baby daughter, husband and mother were transferred to Auschwitz, where only she survived, while the rest of her family was murdered.
The Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz in the year 1945, and after getting news that her brother had moved to Ecuador, Trude Sojka followed in 1946. She again began to paint and produce sculptures that were displayed not only in Ecuadorian galleries but in the United States, France, and ironically, in Germany. The Ecuadorian House of Culture honored her by naming her Artist Emeritus in the year 2000. Trude Sojka passed away at the age of 97 in the year 2007 and in 2009 her daughters made the decision to create a museum in memory of their mother.
Anita Steinitz and Miriam Steinitz Kannan opened the Trude Sojka Cultural House in her old home, which brings the lives of Jewish refugees in Ecuador to life. Hundreds of students have visited the Trude Sojka Cultural House and have come away from the experience fulfilled and emotionally drained, yet with great respect for Trude Sojka, as she was able take her pain and grief and turn it into masterpieces. The centre also educates the public on the Holocaust and the atrocities that were suffered during this time.
The Tude Sojka Cultural Centre is located in Quito, and features a Holocaust Memorial Room, interactive projects and of course numerous art pieces created by Trude Sojka. Not only does the museum focus on art and teaching tolerance, but as Sojka used recycled materials to create some of her pieces, it also promotes recycling in Ecuador. The Trude Sojka Cultural House is a recommended attraction in Quito, which is thought-provoking and inspiring.