Nina Talbot

Painter - Writer
painting, Dora and Burning Tombstones, by Nina Talbot
Dora and Burning Tombstones, 2020, oil on linen, 24 x 18 inches

Places in Galicia

Dora and Burning Tombstones

“I hurried to the station [Kristanopol]. It was a mess. Everyone was being evacuated. Only the explosives trains were being left behind. The line running south to Lwów had been demolished; rails had been removed, the sleepers torn out and heaped in pyres. I spent the night at the station. The rings of fire grew closer and more intense. I saw a large fire nearby and I headed over. The mounds of sleepers and other wood were blazing around the depot. It was a clear night, with a full moon shining in the starry sky. I turned to go back and saw something fantastic: hundreds of stone slabs, red, burning, with Hebrew letters glowing. At first I couldn’t understand what I was seeing. But then I realized: this was a Jewish cemetery. The glowing gravestones were reflecting the flames. It was an extraordinary spectacle, as if generations—centuries—of Jews had returned from the past to the mystical moonlit night, to gaze with fiery eyes at the horrors closing in on their shtetl.”

- From “The Enemy At His Pleasure” [Original title: The Destruction of Galicia], S. Ansky, pg. 57