Mother superior with Deirdre

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don’t know about you mother superior
that morning you were
a blizzard blinding
you were a
steep white glacier I slid down
you were my center, nothing
beyond you but the void
when I rested my head between your legs
the wind stopped
the bed became the moist earth
in which I dug my knees into
it was them my head said
don’t know about you mother superior
where were you
when I made my descent?

better yet, where was I?

Circa: Beatles, Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen

by hblume

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Left

Mother superior and bloodroot.

Bloodroot is a perennial, herbaceous
flowering plant native to the Midwest
and eastern North America.
The blood of the root when cut open
was used as a dye by Native
American artists.

Center

Mother superior and trillium

 

 

M. Monroe and schmaltzy Howie

An obsessed star-struck fan — that be Howie — to promote his
film production company and to bare worship, designed this poster
Within the art is Howie’s schmaltz eulogy to Marilyn Monroe.

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M.Monroe and schmaltzy Howie

                    (1) The Beginning

I met you for the first time when I was a young,
open to suggestion, walking down the aisle, dropping
popcorn, looking for center seat.

I learned early in life that center-aisle center-seat was best.

Jumbo-soft, jumbo-lovely, jumbo-lumbo sexy female
blending into a mumbo-jumbo imago, into mom and the girl
next door, into black and white flutters, sounds, shades and
shapes entering my eyes and ears and mouth never to leave again.

I fell in love with you there, me sitting in center-aisle center-seat,
loving your long-shot, loving even more your medium-shot and forever
stricken, frozen permanently into motion and search the very moment
I saw your well-attended to close up.

It was then I began my daily vigil, pledging myself to a
constant alert, my life-long search, seeking you, the perfect being,
my celluloid queen and later, when always finding instead a heartbeat, and
a cough, and a blemish, I fled to my cinematic cineramic trough, rerunning
you through my head at one-hundred-and-sixty frames per second until
I eliminated the terror of discovering the unfamiliar touch of a real person.

I am a mad-sad child called mad-sad man, majestically standing on
my prefab cloud playing God, transforming every living flower in view
into Kodachrome-II, resurrecting you my celluloid queen out of every breast
I happen to fall beneath, out of every ass my hand drifts across,
out of every warm glance donated too my emptiness.

If the lady doesn’t fit the resurrection, if she isn’t the ultimate in form
and style, if she isn’t the perfect celluloid you my celluloid queen, I will kill her returning her to her life.

And she continues to encourage me.

And I continue to encourage her to encourage me.

And what we eventually encourage is separate parts,
her and I, both anxious not ever to hold hands again,
free once more to continue on to our next disappointment.

(2) The middle or somewhere thereabout.

The moneymakers waiting for their cue, they too resurrected you.
Onto their newsprint and paper stock, and you became additional speculation moving farther from your core.

I became jealous of them, for it was I, I sitting in center-aisle center-seat, popping popcorn that saw you first.

I then became smug, for it was I, one of the original disciples who resurrected you while you were still alive.

Finally I became wise, learning of the technology that led me led me on my eternal schlepping and muscle flexing.

Never again will I stand on my tiptoes trying to reach behind
your silver screen.

Never again.

                         Marilyn

                                     Marilyn

                                                  Marilyn

If you would have hung-on hung-in a little longer, you and I might have
met, could have hugged — possibly somewhere on a hillside
adjoining the ocean where whales spit and cormorants drip-dry, where
choruses of people begin to cry and laugh again in a well-scented
place called Esalen.

If you would have hung-on hung-in a little longer, enduring yourself you would have had at your disposal, instead of couch and Nembutal, an intensive Gestalt weekend encounter emphasizing Alexander and his techniques.

Emphasizing dance, movement, art, guided and unguided fantasy.

Emphasizing electric bio-energetic deep-knee bends and primal screams.

Also, on page 46, emphasized but not included in the price, additional payment required, is rolfing, psychosynthesis, spiritual practice with an evening of acupuncture, mythological mediations, meditations and jogging.

Yes my celluloid queen, you might have lived to have had your first face-lift.

(3) The end or near end or dead end.

Hello. Someone.

You. Who.

Yes. You.

You, who I met in the air, speeding towards that big city New York City.

Marilyn Monroe meet Susan R.

Once again I am standing on my tippy-toes trying to reach behind your blue spectacles doing a peak, a word, a song, dance, a clump and a clop, copping a feel off your soul I wept. Or at least I thought I did.

Three-miler cosmetic speed queen jogging away at the YMHA.

Jewish doctors love you.

Listen Susan, you’re just another cosmetic speed queen and I’m just another nervous mustache, thumbing through your eight-by-ten glossies.

What can I do for you?

What can you do for me?

I could give you thirteen weeks of residuals, if not, maybe the silver screen

I’ll do your fantasy if you’ll do mine.

(4 or 1) The meta-end, the beginning beginning again.

I believe.

I have to believe because I’m tired.

I have a hunch-wish that you are an amazing soul of earthly grace and I am some similar description and if we spent a weekend together it wouldn’t be a weekend.

                                                     Howie

In your watercolor, Nely Sílvinová your heart on fire on the grey cover of a sketchbook is a dying sun or a flower youngest of the summer

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Sixteen more of her paintings are in the collection, most dating between April and June 1944. At Terezin she lived in the house number 14 and belonged to Group V. She was a student of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis. You’ll find this painting in the book “I never saw another butterfly”, a collection of children’s drawings and poems from the Terezin concentration camp, 1942 – 1944.

Robert Mezey (born 1935) an American poet, upon seeing Nely Sílvinová painting wrote the poem “Terezin.”

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and much else that is not
visible it says also
a burning wound at the horizon
it says Poland and winter
SILVIN VI 25 VI 1944
and somehow
above the body on its bed of coals
it says spring
from the crest of the street it says
you can see fields
brown and green
and beyond them the dark blue line of woods
and beyond that smoke
is that the smoke of Prague
and it says blood
every kind of blood

blood of Jews
German blood
blood of Bohemia and Moravia
running in the gutters
blood of children
it says free at last
the mouth of the womb it says
SILVIN VI 25 VI 1944
the penis of the commandant
the enraged color
the whip stock the gun butt
it says it says it says

Petrified god
god that gave up the ghost at Terezín
what does it say but itself
thirteen years of life
and your heart on fire
Nely Sílvinová

For more on children’s art of Terezin see:
• I will always come back to life.
• 100 out of 15,000 children saved. 14,900 obliterated. The earth’s  sun runs out of gas in 7 billion years, kaput.
• Resurrect a 9 year old girl from the ashes.

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Last Portrait: Art from the maw of hell and the soul of a Jew.

Works of art from the exhibition “Last Portrait” from the Yad Vashem Art Collection in Israel. The exhibit consist of nearly 200 portraits, all of them created by 21 artists

2artistssignaturesA compelling collection of portraiture from the Holocaust — but much more. They are a meditation by each artist, on the physiognomy of a human face and soul, a meditation of love for line, texture, shade, color, a meditation of a profound interpretation and esthetic, a meditation of artist and subject bound together for the moment to still the clamor of madmen, to postpone crazed citizens wielding hate and death bullets, to put on hold the creeping gallows of lethal gas.
That is their moment, each pleased with the other, subject and artist live, and will live-on, a union held there for us by what is expressed on paper in spite of and because of a random call to death in wait. There are survivors among both the artists and their subjects; there are those from each who did not. Included in this post are two of the 21 artists, both their art and their history. Meet and get to know Max Plaček and Arnold Daghani. If you appreciate art, if you’re moved by life’s commonplace heroes, their courage, their epic lives, except the invitation.

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Born in Kyjov, Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1902.
Murdered in Sachsenhausen in 1944.

While he was still a boy, Plaček loved to draw and paint, as well as playing the violin. He studied law for a number of semesters, but left his studies to start working as an insurance agent, first in Banská Bystrica and later in Prague, where he married Trude Pollak. Following the German occupation in 1939, he was drafted for clerical work at the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Bohemia and Moravia. In 1942, after a short period working as a forced laborer on the farm of the widow of Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Gestapo, he was, in September 1942, deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. On December 18, 1943, he was transported to the “family camp” in Auschwitz. In July 1944, he was transported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was murdered.

During his internment in Theresienstadt, Plaček drew almost uninterrupted. He drew hundreds of caricatures portraits in profile in a humorous style – figures of literary and cultural background from Czechoslovakia and other central European countries. Plaček added attributes to the portraits, such as books they had written and music they had composed. He made sure to note the date on each portrait, and had the sitter sign it. Some of the individuals portrayed also added a comment or a dedication to the artist. The large body of portraits reflects the human and cultural wealth of the inmate population in Theresienstadt; scientists, artists, musicians, actors, and intellectuals from a variety of fields.

The Yad Vashem collection holds more than 500 portraits by Plaček, drawn during the eight month period between May to December, 1943. The last portrait he drew was finished about a week before he was transported to Auschwitz.

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Born in Suceava, Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1909.
Died in Hove, England, in 1985.

 In the late 1920s, he went to Munich and Paris, apparently to continue his art studies. He moved to Bucharest at the beginning of the 1930s and, due to his mastery of several languages, he worked as a clerk in an export firm. It was there that he changed his name from Korn to Daghani. In June 1940, he married Anişoara Rabinovici. A few months later, their home was damaged in an earthquake and they moved to Czernowitz. Following the German occupation in July 1941, Daghani was forced to work as a street cleaner. In October the couple were deported to the Czernowitz Ghetto, and in June 1942, they were conscripted for forced labor in Ladizhin. In August the couple were sent to the Mikhailowka Labor Camp in Transnistria, where the prisoners were compelled to repair the main road from Gaisin to Uman.

 In June 1943, Daghani was ordered to create a mosaic in the shape of the German eagle, for the headquarters of the August Dohrmann Company in the nearby town of Gaisin. About a month later Daghani and his wife escaped, and managed to reach the Bershad Ghetto. With the intervention of the Red Cross, they were released on December 31, 1943 and went to Tiraspol. In March 1944, they made their way to Bucharest, where they remained until the end of the war. In 1958, they immigrated to Israel. The Daghanis returned to Europe in 1961, eventually settling in England.

 When Daghani was deported to the Czernowitz Ghetto, a policeman ordered him to take his sketchbook and paints with him, suggesting that they might help him to survive. At Mikhailowka, Daghani used these art supplies to portray life in the camp and to paint portraits of the camp’s prisoners, officers and guards. He continued in the Bershad Ghetto, painting portraits of the internees, as well as scenes from the ghetto. After his liberation, Daghani dedicated his life to art and to writing his memoirs. Daghani’s portraits, their seemingly esthetic quality notwithstanding, constitute rare color testimony to the cruel and harsh reality of the prisoners’ lives.

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For the entire online Yad Vashem exhibit with
examples of the 21 artists click here.

For an exhibition catalogue, with nearly 200 portraits from the Yad Vashem Art collection, created by 21 artists click here.  

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100 out of 15,000 children saved. 14,900 obliterated. The earth’s sun runs out of gas in 7 billion years, kaput.



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Collage of cut paper and office ledger paper painted over with tempera (archive number 133573) signed “Kitty Passerovaé 27.3. nod

Kitty Markéta Passerovaé most likely survived the Terezin Concentration Camp and her ultimate rail road car run to the gas chamber at Auschwitz because she was 14 years, old enough to be put to work at a labor camp; if younger she stood a chance of being gassed.

Being part of a work force wasn’t a guarantee that you’d make it thru alive. Other life saving factors could have contributed to Kitty’s survival: like having a strong healthy constitution from the get-go, youth, relentless tenacity, luck and if you believe in providence, the hand of God.

If God did choose Kitty Passerovaé, God left a lot of the Terezin children out of the picture. Out of 15,000 children, 100 to 103, survived, Kitty Markéta Passerovaé being one.

Given Kitty Markéta Passerovaé elegant collage of flower and vase made me wonder if she took those artistic sensibilities with her to a life after Terrezin.  I ran her name thru google and found her granddaughter, Simča Labudová.

Google led me to the web site “Slide Share” where slide shows of all kinds are uploaded. One was put together with images and words created by the children of Terezin, taken from the book “I never saw another Butterfly.” Kitty Markéta Passerovaé collage was included. Her granddaughter, Simča Labudová, happen upon it and replied in the Post A Comment area. Her English was spotty; took some liberties, filled in some of the blanks:

profile-photo-SimaLabudov-48x48“Hello, I am the granddaughter of Passerova. Margaret, born 4 September 1929, deported from Prague to Terezin December 8 1943. Her collage of flowers in the vase was used in your book on page 7. I’d love to buy this book. I would like to correct some of my grandmother’s information. She doesn’t live in Australia, nor has a daughter in Hungary. My grandmother lived after the liberation in 1945 in the Czech Republic, where she bore two children, Daniel and Joseph. And she passed away in the Czech Republic.”

Terezin concentration Camp, not your typical death camp.

Terezin specialty: gathering up, housing and killing old Jews, artist, musicians, children, pregnant women all the while being sold to the world as a safe haven for Jews providing for them comfortable living conditions,  adequate food supply, access to the arts, music and a place to express their faith. What bullshit. The Red Cross fell for it.

Terezin called by the Germans “Theresienstadt”

Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans. The publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their “resettlement to the east,” where they would be compelled to perform forced labor. Since it seemed implausible that elderly Jews could be used for forced labor, the Nazis used the Theresienstadt ghetto to hide the nature of the deportations. In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a “spa town” where elderly German Jews could “retire” in safety. The deportations to Theresienstadt were, however, part of the Nazi strategy of deception. The ghetto was in reality a collection center for deportations to ghettos and killing centers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe.

Click here to read more.

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Children of the Bialystock Ghetto (Poland) being deported to Terezin.

An after thought.

when I look at the backs of these children

led to Terezin

then to know their end

their parents confiscated

parentless, no loving touch

bereft of any kindness

only barking adults

their confusion

not understanding

to imagine them naked jammed in a

concrete room

along with naked adults

suddenly gasping for air, choking

not understanding

any of it, terrified, alone, screaming

tears, screaming, tears

then silent, then silence

lifeless, no past, no future, dead

buried under a pile of dead adults

when I look at the backs of these children

led into the transport

I want to kill

cut off the balls of those

nazi bastards, tear out their guts with a

butcher knife, rip them apart with my hands,

jam their balls,

guts down their throats

smash their skulls to smithereens

I want to kill them all, not leave a trace

Resurrect a 9 year old girl from the ashes.

A watercolor on tinted paper (archive number 129406). Painting of bunks 14, 15, 16. Next to the bunks are 2 chairs, a table with a vase of flowers.  A light fixture hangs from the ceiling. The wall painted with color stripes.  Hana Grünfeld has nine more drawings in the collection, most dating between April & June 1944.

15,000 — the number of children who passed thru the Terezin concentration camp. From age 4 to 13, they lived day to day with a death sentence waiting to claim them anytime, without notice and brutally swift. The German SS and the local police would collect the children along with their care givers, pack them all in rail cars on route to Auschwitz.

103 — the number of children from Terezin who survived.

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Hana Grünfeld was possibly delivered to Auschwitz on this transport: October 5, 1943, the SS authorities deported 1,196 children and their 53 caregivers from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz. None survive.

Or Hana Grünfeld was on one of these transports from September 28, 1944 to October 28, 1944
. The SS deported approximately 18,402 Theresienstadt prisoners to Auschwitz.  By the end of October, approximately 11,077 Jews remain in the camp-ghetto.

Hana Grünfeld last few days.

I close my eyes to witness Hana Grünfeld torn from her mother’s arms; if her mother became hysterical Hana could have seen her mother shot. I witness Hana Grunfeld sitting in the dark on the floor of a rail car for two days and nights without food, water and parents. (Residing at the Terezin ghetto for 3 years, from age 6 to 9, Hana most likely has an inkling of what’s to come.)  I witness Hana in line walking with the other children, ages 4 to 12 years, too young to fear the finality of death, walking with old men, old women who have pondered their death for some time, all of them, both the very young and the very old, herded-off toward the final solution, a gas chamber. This singular constellation of Jews nameless, except for one, Hana Grünfeld.

This post is dedicated to nine-year-old Hana Grünfeld.

Hana Grünfeld. Think about her. Imagine this 9 tear old kid dipping her paintbrush into the watercolors, boldly, spontaneously making a painting of her room, totally absorbed in spite of the daily menace. 

Resurrect a 9 year old from the ashes.
Go viral with Hana Grünfeld

Leave a reply to Hana Grünfeld in this post — her post. Say hello to Hana, introduce yourself, tell her how you feel, reply to a nine year old that was murdered at Auschwitz. Acknowledge her existence. 

She’ll live again thru you. 

Leave a reply to Hana Grünfeld. Keep her memory alive. Honor her. Reply to her. Go viral with Hana Grünfeld.

I will never forget you Hana.  Brave Hana , frightened Hana, thank you for your life and your art. I am privileged to have met you, we have your teacher Friedl Dicker to thank and not to forget “google.” I’d like to give you a hug about now.

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The Czech garrison town of Terezin

In October 1941 the Germans moved in, turned Terezin into a ghetto run by the SS. Terrezin became The Theresienstadt ghetto.

Not like any other Nazi-run ghetto; it was a transit camp, a holding pen, for children and the elderly send to death camps and for able-body men and women sent to forced labor camps; it was a model camp used for propaganda, ultimately a concentration camp.

Living with a Death Sentence · Children’s Art and Poetry

The extensive educational and cultural activities in the Theresienstadt ghetto provided a distraction from the looming selections to Auschwitch, the harsh inhumane bare-bone living conditions, the food shortages and periodic brutal treatment by the German SS.

 Artist-in-residence  –  Friedl Dicker-Brandeis

Friedl Dicker, 1916

Imprisoned Bauhaus-educated artist Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a successful artist and designer, brought with her to Terezin as many art supplies as she could. For the duration of her stay in the camp she devoted her self to teaching art to the children, using methods that have become the foundation of art therapy. Before her deportation to Auschwitz in October 1944, Friedl packed some 5,000 of her students’ drawings in two suitcases and hid them. These remained undiscovered for the next 10 years.

( Possibly Hana Grünfeld and Friedl Dicke, teacher and student, were on the same same transport to Auschwitz. If so we can be be sure they gave solace to one another. )

The child’s art and the 9 year-old Hana Grünfeld featured here in this post is part of a permanent exhibition, the “Children’s Exhibit” at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

You can find a collection of the children’s art and poetry from Terezin in the book titled I never saw another butterfly.”

Hana Grünfeld Born May 20, 1935
Deported toTerezin Dec 14, 1941

Perished at Auschwitz 1944, age 9

Leave a reply to Hana Grünfeld.