The three Wertenteil siblings in this painting were three of the seven children born to Duvid and Tila Wertenteil. This Jewish family lived in the town of Dynów. Tila died of throat cancer two weeks before the Nazi invasion. Jack, the eldest, went to the United States at age 17. He was drafted into the United States military when the U. S. entered WWII.
When the Nazis invaded the town in September 1939, Betzalel and Chancha along with their father and siblings escaped by raft across the San River to the Russian occupied partition of Poland. The family was picked up and transported by a combination of railroad and raft thousands of miles away to Irkutsk in Siberia, where they worked in a labor camp. Toward the end of the war, they made their way back to a displaced persons camp in Germany, and ultimately to the United States. The Wertenteil family trajectory, beginning when the family fled Dynów until their arrival in New York, spanned a period of ten years, 1939 to 1949.