Frances Segelman unveils sculpture on Yom HaShoah

06 Apr 2021

To mark Yom HaShoah, royal sculptress, Frances Segelman, Lady Petchey, unveiled a sculpture in her series honouring Holocaust survivors. The sculpture of Auschwitz survivor, Leslie Kleinman BEM, was unveiled live on a Zoom with members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre and JC Presents, paying tribute to Leslie’s unique contribution to Holocaust education. 

Born in Rumania, 29 May, Leslie arrived in Auschwitz at the age of 15, on his birthday and survived selection by Dr Mengele by pretending to be older.

“He survived by being positive and his hope kept him alive, he felt all the time that G-d was walking with him. He has no hatred towards anyone which is an amazing thing for someone who has been through so much,” says Leslie’s wife, Miriam Kleinman.

“Leslie has made such a difference to so many young people by sharing his experiences about the Holocaust” she continues, “the importance of knowing where you come from and spreading a message of love. The sculpture shows his likeness and his strength and what made him survive.”

Virtual Programming Coordinator at Jewish Care, Francine Liebert, said after the Zoom, “It was a truly unique and special way to celebrate our amazing survivors at the same time as we remember those we have lost. Frances spoke about the numerous Holocaust survivor sculptures she has created and this was followed by a live unveiling of Leslie Kleinman BEM’s sculpture.

“It was particularly special to give a warm welcome our members of the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre who have sat for Frances, Sir Ben Helfgott, Freddie Knoller BEM, Leslie Kleinman BEM, Miriam Freedman and Ivor Perl BEM who were in the Zoom audience.”

Well known for her busts of royalty and celebrities, Frances also talked on the Zoom about sculpting celebrities. The initial sculpting session took place in October 2019 at Jewish Care’s Redbridge Jewish Community Centre and was attended by community centre members and members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, Leslie’s friends and family. 

The bust is the latest in a series of sculptures created by Frances Segelman (Lady Petchey) of Holocaust survivors living in the UK, including Sir Ben Helfgott, Ivor Perl BEM, Miriam Freeman and Freddie Knoller, Arek Hersh MBE and Sam Dresner.

Speaking about her work at the time of the original sculpting, Frances Segelman (Lady Petchey), said, “It has been a great privilege to sculpt Leslie Kleinman and I am so proud of this sculpture - these important art events help future generations learn from the Holocaust so that it never happens again.