Pawel Lichter

Pawel Lichter
Born 1931 in Rypin, Poland At age nine, Pawel Lichter's family fled Nazi-occupied Rypin with forged documents and went into the Soviet Union. They pretended to be Poles of German descent who were going east to settle the land for Germany.


Click to view fullsize.
Pawel Lichter was born in Rypin, Poland in 1931.
Pawel with his father and his sister, Gina.
Pawel with his father and his sister, Gina.
Before the war, Pawel (center row, right) attended a Jewish school. Although Jews had lived in Poland for 900 years and he and his parents were Polish citizens, there was a strong current of anti-Semitic sentiment in Polish society. It intensified when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933.
Pawel, age 8, at Kino Muranów fountain in Warsaw. Soon after this photo was taken, Germany invaded Poland.
Lichter’s parents, Helena and Issac.
After the Holocaust ended, the Lichters returned to Rypin and discovered that their building had been turned into apartments. The adjacent movie theatre, which his father had owned and operated before the war, had been used as a meeting place for Hitler Youth. The family never recovered their property, nor were they compensated for their losses.
A photo of the building where Pawel grew up, taken after the war.
Pawel was 14 when the war ended. He had survived being hunted by the Nazis, homelessness, famine, a nearly fatal knife wound, and many other terrors. The Lichter family moved to Mexico City. Pawel learned Spanish and took up painting.
Pawel’s sister, Gina Lichter, in Mexico City after the war.
Pawel’s portrait of his father, Issac Lichter.
Pawel Lichter, self-portrait.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona