LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It took Holocaust survivor Trudie Strobel four decades before she was able to open up about the day the Nazis forced her and her mother into a cattle car in Russia.

At just 4-years-old, Strobel was taken to a labor camp in Poland.

“They tore my doll away from me,” she said. “My mother, she was so afraid. She says, ‘Don’t cry, Trudie, don’t cry.'”

When Strobel turned 51, she began sewing her memories of the Holocaust and Jewish history into tapestries that she recently shared with 16-year-old students Maya Savin-Miller and Lila Dorsky-Hickey who met Strobel at her San Marino home.

“These detailed and colorful tapestries just filled her whole house,” Dorsky-Hickey said.

The two Pasadena girls were overwhelmed by the artwork that captured Strobel’s experience as a Jewish woman and survivor of the Holocaust.

“It was like this completely eye-opening experience, this like visceral Holocaust education, genocide education that I never had before,” Savin-Miller said. “I think it completely changed the way that I saw my own history.”

With the help of a $5,000 grant from the Dragon Kim Foundation, Savin-Miller and Dorsky-Hickey curated Strobel’s tapestries into an art exhibit that will be shown at the Harvard-Westlake School’s Feldman Gallery.

“It’s about the capacity of hate, but also about the power of expression and the power of art to heal,” Savin-Miller said.

The “Life in Tapestry” exhibit will be on display in December.

“It took two 16-year-old girls to make my dream come true,” Strobel said.

A book about Strobel’s art will be available in April of next year.

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