Who was Trude Sojka?
Gertrud (Trude) Sojka was born in 1909 in Berlin, in the bosom of a wealthy and educated Jewish family. A few years later, she moved with her parents to Prague, where she lived the first part of her life. Since her childhood, Trude developed a special taste and talent for art.
She studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. In 1944, she was deported to several concentration camps, where she lost her first husband, her newborn baby and most of her family.
After Liberation, Trude joined her brother who had found refuge in Ecuador, and rebuilt her life. There, she married Hans Steinitz, another Holocaust survivor, and had three daughters.
Trude Sojka dedicated the rest of her life to her art, creating original paintings and sculptures, made from Portland cement, acrylics and recycled materials. It was a way to overcome the trauma of war, and to express her joy of being able to live in freedom again. Her artworks not only depict her experience and feelings as a victim, they explore, as well, the Ecuadorian indigenous art, in a blend with her European expressionist style. Lastly, they transmit to all viewers a message of resilience and peace.
Trude passed away in Quito, in 2007, leaving almost a thousand works of art as a legacy to the world.
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How did the museum start?
In 2009, Trude Sojka’s family opened to the public the Trude Sojka Cultural House, overseen by the Trude Sojka Cultural Corporation (registered in the Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture by Decree No. 4999, dated January 5, 2009). It’s aim was to promote an intercultural society and peace in the world, through the example of the artist’s life and work, bearing witness to the fact that humankind can transform grief into beauty. It featured many exhibitions and activities, including workshops, conferences, concerts, book presentations, intended to all social groups and ages. With the Covid19 pandemic, in 2020, it had to close its doors. However, this served to rethink and renew its concept. In 2021, the institution reopened, with new perspectives, as the Trude Sojka House Museum.
Our mission: the construction of peace through memory and art
We are a Holocaust Memorial in Ecuador, and an art museum, seeking to promote awareness in our public about overcoming society’s traumas (such as genocides). Trude Sojka’s art and experience are an example of how we may reach equilibrium and unity individually and in the world.
We aspire to become an interactive and artistic community lab, where our education goal would be a horizontal dialog, an exchange of ideas, a place of cultural and intercultural experimentation, bearing in mind that racism, antisemitism, and prejudice are not over, and therefore, awareness about the Holocaust and other genocides is extremely important, especially for future generations.
Our main values are integrity, honesty, and respect (for humanity and the environment).
Daughter of Trude Sojka, founder and Director of the Trude Sojka House Museum. Created the Trude Sojka Cultural House in March 2009. Worked as Professor and translator in Paris, and at the French Embassy in Ecuador. Studied visual arts, art history, linguistics, translation, political sciences and International Relations in the USA and in France.
Her favorite activities are reading and drawing.
Granddaughter of Trude Sojka and daughter of Anita Steinitz, co-founder of the Trude Sojka House Museum. In charge of the Museum’s collections. Studied Visual arts in France and Czech Republic, and Museology at the Iberoamerican Insitute of Museology, in Spain.
Her favorite activities are organic gourmet cooking and photography.
Daughter of Trude Sojka, co-founder of the Trude Sojka House Museum. In charge of the Museum’s international relations. She currently lives in the USA. Limnologist, Regents Professor Emeritus of biology at Northern Kentucky University. Studied Biological Sciences in the USA.
Her favorite activity is to collect and study diatoms.
In charge of the Trude Sojka House Museum’s education programs and Projects manager, cultural promoter, educator and mediator. Studied historical and cultural tourism, project management, preservation of Ecuadorian heritage, Ecuadorian art and cultural promotion in Quito, Ecuador.
His favorite activities are creating original handicrafts and gardening.