Friday, March 6, 2009

“The Righteous”
Part 2



(Found suitcase dumped on Sydney street)


This is a true story.
It speaks of the courage of a number of key people
who risked their lives







in a time of terror and war







to save the innocent.



(Shoes found or given -if you sent them to me please identify yourself)


I ask that if you know the story please do not divulge any part of it, especially if you decide to leave a comment, until the final post when the dramatic ending is revealed.






So as not to reveal the ending the images displayed will not be in order. Any credits will be given at the conclusion.






After reading this story, I knew I had to do a piece if artwork on it, just how to do it took over a year of thought and the gathering of objects.



(Book found on the street in Sydney - it says "German Living". The swastica's were drawn on the book by the owner of the book when found).
The story:


It was June 1942 the murder of Jews in the Cracow ghetto was at its heights. About 5000 victims were deported to Belzec death camp. Hundreds were being murdered in the ghetto itself, shot on its streets on the way to deportation.





The Hiller family realized that their days in the Cracow ghetto were numbered, they too would soon be swept away in one of the frequent Aktions, yet there was still a glimmer of hope.






They were young and skilled labourers if they were deported to a labour camp perhaps they would still have a chance of survival.






But the fate of their little son Shachne was a different matter, small children had become a rare sight in the ghetto, starvation, disease and the most ever increasing selections took their constant toll.








Helen and Moses Hiller began feverishly to plan the rescue of their little Shachne.






After considering various possibilities they decided to contact family friends on the Aryan side in the small town of Dombrowa, childless gentile people named Jachowitch.






Helen Hiller, with help of the Jewish underground made her way to Dombrowa. She went to Mr and Mrs Joseph Jachowitch and begged them to take care of her little son. Although they could do so only at a great risk to their own lives, the Christian friends agreed to take the child.










Despite the ever-increasing dangers of the ghetto, the young parents could not bring themselves to part from their only child. Only after the large Aktion on October 28, 1942 when 6000 additional Jews were shipped to Belzec and the patients at the Jewish hospital, the residents of the old-age home, and 300 children at the orphanage were murdered on the spot, did the Hiller family decide to act.







On November 15, 1942 Helen Hiller smuggled her little boy out of the ghetto. Along with her son she gave her Christian friends two large envelopes.







One envelope contained all the Hillers’ precious valuables and the other contained letters and a will.






One of the letters was addressed to Mr and Mrs Jachowitch, entrusting them with the little Shachne and asking them to bring up the child as a Jew and to return him to his people in case of his parents' death.




(Random book pages gathered and given by friend Ruth Rae, Los Angeles. The book pages are from a book for Jewish children and these specific pages are titled "Ways to keep the Commandments").



The Hillers thanked the Jachowitch family for humanitarian act and promised to reward them for their goodness. The letter also included the names and addresses of relatives in Montreal and Washington D.C.



(Found vintage stamping which dropped on my foot when I dropped an entire drawer of stampings whilst shopping with my friend Michelle Ward in New York - it says 'Forget Me' not in French and German).

The second letter was addressed to Shachne himself, telling him how much his parents loved him that it was this love that had prompted them to leave him with strangers, good and noble people. They told him of his Jewishness and how they hoped that he would grow up to be a man proud of his Jewish heritage.




(Found book Sydney)



The third letter contained a will written by Helen's mother, Mrs Reizel Wurtzel. It was addressed to her sister-in-law Jenny Berger in Washington. She wrote to her of the horrible conditions in the ghetto, the deportations, the death of family members and of the impending doom.










She wrote: “Our grandson, by the name of Shachne Hiller, born on the 18th day of Av, August 22 1940, was given to good people, I beg if none of us will return, take the child to you bring him up righteously. Reward the good people of for their efforts and may G-d grant life to the parents of the child. Regards and kisses your sister, Reizel Wurtzel.”




(Found crocheted cross lying between the pages of a book found in Melbourne Australia)

As Helen was handing the letters to Mrs Yachowitch, she once more stated her instructions: “If I or my husband do not return when this madness is over, please mail this letter to America to our relatives. They will surely respond and take the child. Regardless of the fates of my husband or myself I want my son to grow up as a Jew.”






The two women embraced and Mrs Jachowitch promised that she would do her best. The young mother hurriedly kissed her little child and left, fearing that her emotions would betray her and she would not be able to leave her little son behind in this strange house, but instead would take him back with her to the ghetto.
(Found antique paper frame - Philadelphia)
To be continued...

30 comments:

Elizabeth said...

What an amazing gift yuo are giving to the world!! I am speechless! exquisitely done!!
Elizabeth

A bird in the hand said...

I am on tenderhooks...
Bravo. xxoo

Lynn said...

I am crying.


does Steven Spielburg know of your work? I just see it up on the big screen.

R2artstudio said...

What wonderful pieces you are unveiling with such a heart gripping story. Look forward to the next chapters.

Karen Cole said...

amazing.....this and the previous post.....gold leaf????whoa.

Deryn Mentock said...

Incredible!...LOVE the crochet cross.

Anonymous said...

Spellbinding story and beautiful representation. I can't wait for more! Beth

Marie said...

I wait with great anticipation for the next part of the story. My imagination is running wild and I am thinking of all kinds of possibilities. I wonder how close to my imagination the truth of the story is. Please don't keep us waiting too long.

Sam Marshall said...

Hi Judy,
Truly amazing as it unfolds...and beautifully written.

Leslie said...

This is fantastic, Judy. You are some story teller, and so focused with your work. I am thrilled to be watching another unfold here!

xo

kelsey said...

I feel another series of emotional posts coming from you Judy, you do it so well! In a few short words your descriptions really capture the essence of the terror and heartbreak. Waiting patiently....

LostLuggage said...

wow.... really amazing work, Judy.

Megan Warren said...

waiting with bated breath - your work is exsquisite.

Kim said...

Absolutely amazing Judy. Have been waiting for more and you do not dissapoint! The story is absolutley gut wrenching and how serendipitous is the finding of all those items! As always I just want more.

Studio Panorama said...

Oh my. this seems like it is straight out of all the books i have read of this period of history. Heartbreaking. I cannot wait to see the rest of the story that you are telling so very well.
Bev F

MB Shaw said...

Judy, I am so moved by this work. I get a chill reading your words and hearing of the amazing synchronicity of the parts that have revealed themselves to you and found their home. I don't even have adequate words to express how this touches me.

The Governess said...

I have just finished reading something similar about one of my dear colleague's mother who died just recently, but wrote the story of her life just before she died. She was a holocaust survivor but lost her entire family to this horrid episode in our history. I congratulate you for what you are doing, it seems like another story of hope and you are illustrating it beautifully.

Cindy Dean said...

You are always so amazing how you put things together...Impressive.

Chris said...

It's so rare to read such a moving true story from someone so open. And your works! Thanks.

paris parfait said...

Oh Judy! These projects combining history and art just blow me away! You are so amazingly talented. I can't wait to see more. And I hope your work gets a much wider audience, for all to appreciate. xo

Ev said...

You are one a few natural born storytellers Judy. A noble profession dating back thousands of years. Once again you take us on this sad but wonderful journey, teaching us a bit of history along the way. I look forward to the next instalment.

Kim said...

I do know this story, and am loving the beautiful way you are telling it. The visuals are so beautiful...

Shelly said...

Heaven above, Judy, this just leaves one speechless. The backstories and your narratives just pull at your soul.
That Bible is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and the care and reverence you show for things . . . you are leaving one helluva legacy.
Can't wait for the rest of the story and photos.
:-)
Shelly

Seth said...

I am spellbound Judy. I need to see the next posts.

Kerin said...

Riveting story! This is so intriguing as everything-- all these lives-- hang in the balance as they brace for what is coming.

I can to some degree imagine the deep pain of leaving your child knowing that it must be done to save him. But to turn your back and walk those first steps away.

Here was a brilliant place to pause, Judy, as the anticipation is off the charts for me at this point! Simply brilliant storytelling. What a gift you have.

Susan Tuttle said...

I am hanging on every word Judy...

xoxox

The Junkin' Yaya said...

As always my loving friend...you go 'beyond' the world of art! You know what I refer to :)

Talk to you soon! And as long as I have known you....do you know that I never knew you and Michelle were friends!!!! :) This world is a lot smaller than one sometimes remembers.

Have fun in Bali! Call me and let me know how it goes...xo...deb

(and yes, the computer crisis is over!) :)

Nabeel said...

The second picture .. is that an old photo album? Whatever the contents, I simply love the way photo albums looked at that time ... seems like they hold a treasure.

TheEccentricLady said...

Judy, Please hurry and give us more!

lisa_crofts said...

What a masterpiece. I cant wait for the next installment.