Siemaszko Olga

Olga Aleksandra Siemaszko - Personal data
Date of birth: 19th April 1911
Place of birth: Kraków
Date of death: 6th October 2000
Place of death: Warszawa
Occupation: book illustrator, painter
Related towns: Lviv

Siemaszko Olga Aleksandra – (19.04.1911, Kraków – 06.10.2000, Warsaw) – book illustrator, painter belonging to the group of the most important post-war artists of applied graphics in Poland.

Daughter of Abram Josk Binder and Frajda nee Glasscheib, she had an older brother Ernest Jerzy Binder. In 1935, she graduated from the School of Decorative Arts and Art Industry in Kraków, and in 1939 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.

During World War II, she initially stayed in Lviv that was occupied by the Soviet Union. After the attack of the Third Reich on the USSR, she hid, among others, in Busko-Zdrój, supported by the family of her husband Andrzej Siemaszko (especially her sister-in-law, Barbara Paladino née Siemaszko). Her husband, whom she married in the mid-1930s, Andrzej Siemaszko, died in 1942, at the age of less than 30. After the war, she lived in Warsaw, her parents in Switzerland, and her brother in South Africa.

Olga Siemaszko illustrated dozens of books, mostly for younger audiences, such as Hans Christian Andersen's "Child of the Elves", poems for children by Julian Tuwim, Władysław Broniewski, Jan Brzechwa, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (translated by Antoni Marianowicz), and many others. These books, repeatedly renewed, were often developed from scratch by the illustrator – following editions appeared with a completely different graphic design.

She also illustrated, although much less frequently, publications for adults, including Kwiaty Polskie by Tuwim, a memoir Książka Dla Marcina by Jerzy Andrzejewski, The princess turned upside down by Pedro Calderón de la Barca (translated by Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz), or a book of poetry Dzikie łubiny by Barbara Ahrens-Młynarska. This group also includes Wiersze warszawskie and Anka by Władysław Broniewski, with whom – and especially with his wife, Maria Zarębińska-Broniewska - Siemaszko had been friends at least since the Lviv period.

At the end of the 1960s, the illustrator developed a reissue of camp stories by Zarębińska-Broniewska (who died shortly after the war), combined with a selection of Broniewski's poems – Ręka umarłej. This is the only book project by Siemaszko, which entirely handles the issue of the World War II, although war and extermination themes also appeared in individual illustrations from other projects, such as Broniewski's poem to Żydom polskim, dedicated to Szmul Zygielbojm (illustrations from the collection Wiersze warszawskie), or Andrzejewski's memoirs.

Olga Siemaszko died in 2000. She was buried at the Military Cemetery in Powązki in Warsaw.

The published and unpublished originals of the above-mentioned works are included in the collection of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Some of them can be viewed at wmuzeach.pl

 

 

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