Lidia Ostałowska: Water-colours


Lidia Ostałowska polish writer will be the guest of Margo Literary Festival on the occasion of her newly published book titled Water-colours (L'Harmattan publishing house, translated by Orsolya Németh).

Friday 5 June 2015, 6:00 pm

Petofi Literary Museum

Budapest, V. Károlyi u. 16.

photo: Piotr Wójcik

Guests: Lidia Ostałowska, author of the book

Orsolya Németh, translator of the book

moderator: György Vári  

In a co-operation with: Kata Bartsch, performer


 Dina Gottliebova, a talented Jewish student of fine arts from Brno, was deported from the Terezin ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she was assigned the task of painting numbers on the barracks. When she had painted the children’s barracks with scenes from Snow White, she attracted attention of Dr Mengele, then the chief medical officer of the Gypsy family camp known as the Zigeunerlager, who was looking for someone to paint the portraits of Gypsies as part of his research on inferior race.
The youngest child in the family of an Auschwitz railwayman died in 1942. Three days after liberation the railwayman’s son went to the camp to look for an orphan to replace the child his grieving mother had lost. He chose a girl called Ewa, a Hungarian Jew. He also brought back home with him a bunch of watercolours that some prisoner had found in the barracks and gifted to him.
In 1963 the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum bought the paintings from Ewa. In 1970s their author was identified: Dina Gottliebova lived in the United States as a wife to the famous Disney animator Art Babbitt. She visited Poland while on a trip to Paris. At the museum she recounted her experiences of living at the camp and asked for photographs of her paintings. The museum claims that she would not respond to letters after she had received the photographs. In mid-1990s Ms Babbitt demanded the return of the original paintings…

Lidia Ostałowska, a graduate of Polish studies at the Warsaw University. She worked as a reporter on the weeklies ”Przyjaciółka” and ”ITD” at the time of Communism and as a journalist of the daily ”Gazeta Wyborcza” after the martial law of 1981. She is particularly interested in disadvantaged people: national and ethnic minorities, women, subcultures of young people and those suffering exclusion. In 2000 she published the book Cygan to Cygan (A Gypsy is a Gypsy). She is a co-author of many collections of reportage.


Margó Fesztivál
Lengyel Intézet

L'Harmattan Könyvkiadó

special thanks: Gazeta Wyborcza