This was the very first image I worked with.
The text around the image reads:
‘My beautiful mother…your spirit was always beautiful…even when you were melancholy.’
I am so aware that my parents are Holocaust survivors that I’m always surprised when viewers don’t notice the Star of David on her jacket. She always looked so melancholy when she saw this photograph – I could see and feel her mind silently flitting through images and memories. She was in hiding in Paris during the war and her brother, Simon, was taken to Auschwitz. He and her immediate family survived, but like many survivors, she was forever traumatized by her experiences. I often wondered who she would have been, what life she would have had. I loved her and my heart ached for her sadness and the loss of her potential. Holding back my own tears was a challenge during the times I heard her laugh, or saw the joy in her eyes when she danced. It was all too painful for me to witness and at 16 I left home and at 18 I left England, the country I was born and raised in. I never lived near them again and contact was difficult and sporadic. I couldn’t cope with the disparity of who my parents were, the pain that they had suffered and still carried, and the happiness I wanted for them. It was too weighty. My only choice was to lighten my load, to lighten my spirit, to liberate myself. I believe I have done that. I believe I have saved myself, I believe they would be proud of who I have become. But the cost… they have paid it many times over, more than any humans should have to bare.
My father survived Auschwitz, Flossenberg, Gross Rosen, the Death March…
Categories: Reflections on the Essence