We Will Outlive Them 


מיר װעלן זײ איבערלעבן - mir veln zey iberlebn

In 1939 a group of Hasidic Jews in a village in Poland were backed up against barbed wire and told to sing and dance to their own execution. One man began singing an old Yiddish song with the refrain “lomir zich iberbetn”—“let us reconcile.” Nobody joined. Another person then started singing a variation: “mir veln zey iberlebn”—“we will outlive them.”

The whole group began to sing. The commander laughed. Then the commander stopped laughing. He ordered them to stop singing, but they would not. The SS troops charged, beat them with whips and clubs, but they did not stop singing “we will outlive them.”

Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.

Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.
Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.

We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.

We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.
We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.

We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.
We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.

We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.
We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.

We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.
We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.

We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.
We Will Outlive Them (2019) (detail). Embroidery on textile. 7’ x 8’. Exhibition view: We Will Outlive Them, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019). Photo: Georgia Ruth Hampton.