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Biographical/Historical Information

Erna Weill née Helft was born in 1904 in Frankfurt am Main. She studied sculpture with Helene von Beckerath, a student of August Rodin, at the University of Frankfurt. She married the chemist Ernst Weill, and the couple had two children. The family fled Germany in 1936 for Switzerland and immigrated to the United States in 1937. Erna Weill stayed in the New York City area, where she worked as a sculptor and art teacher. Next to busts of famous people, her sculptures were connected to the American Civil Rights Movement and the world of Judaism. In addition to working as an art teacher in public schools, she also had her own art school where she applied progressive teaching methods. Erna Weill died in 1996.

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Erna Weill as an art student, Leo Baeck Institute, F 23042.