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Moments in History

A Historic Work of Art

Thanks to the artistic talents of a Holocaust survivor who found her way to Boys Town, a beautiful backdrop in the Music Hall was created in the late 1940s. Today, it is a tribute to the artist, Donia Temple, who spent 36 years working at the Home.

The Boys Town Music Hall was created by Father Flanagan in the 1940s for the children of Boys Town, and in the building, artwork was created. The backdrop is incredible. It's a special piece of artwork, and Father Flanagan loved artwork, and he had it throughout the campus. The backdrop was created here in the late 1940s by a lady named Donya Temple. She laid the canvas down on the stage behind me, and then began to paint this unique artwork you can see. And she based it on the chapel here at Boys Town, our Catholic chapel.

Donya was a Holocaust survivor. We don't know her exact story, because she never really wanted to talk about it. But we do know she was captured and made a slave labor person working in factories, and on farms during World War II for the Nazis, and then eventually ended up in Berlin at the end of the war, and then came to America to begin a new life.

Donya came to Boys Town through the displaced persons program after World War II. There were millions of people around the world who had lost their homes, and Boys Town helped to bring in some of these refugees, because Father Flanagan himself was an immigrant, and he knew the importance of helping people. When Donya came to Boys Town, she had many skills, and one of them was working with animals. So, for a while she was at our farm, and then eventually she came to the music hall to be the the maintenance person here. She loved art, so she kind of fell into place to maintain the building, and then work on art projects with the kids. She came here a Holocaust survivor, went on to have her family of her own and contribute to Boys Town, helping the children here. And she represents the goodness of the Boys Town staff.

Well, when I see this backdrop, I have the memory of Donya, because I did have the chance to meet her when she was here, at Boys Town, and then, all of the events that this backdrop has been used for, the graduations and special events, here at the village of Boys Town. And it's a very unique historical artifact, which will be here for decades to come. So her memory lives on here, at the music hall at Boys Town.

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