Professor Emerita of History, San Francisco State University; Visiting Professor, Stanford University

Painting a Life! Charlotte Salomon


Mary Lowenthal Felstiner has an undergraduate degree from Harvard, and a PhD in Latin American History from Stanford.  She is a Professor Emerita of History at San Francisco State University, where she specialized in the history of genocide, and was honored for her teaching. She has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford for several years.  During the current (Winter) quarter, 2011, she is teaching a course in the English Department with her husband, John Felstiner, on Creative Resistance and the Holocaust.

Dr. Felstiner has written several books, including the historical biography, “To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era,” which earned her the 2010 American Historical Association Prize for Best Book in Women’s History.   In the book, Felstiner traced Salomon’s path from the heart of Berlin’s Jewish community to her intensely productive, if brief, exile in the south of France.  While researching Salomon’s life, Felstiner tracked down a notorious, unpunished, unrepentant SS officer responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews, including Charlotte.  Just as Salomon painted so that she and her people would be remembered, Felstiner has taken up the banner of truth and beauty to make certain we never forget.

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