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I never quite got the concept of a
muse until I met my friend who I shall
call by her Polish name, Dvora. Dvora
has proven to be an engine for
creativity and now warrants a series
named after herself.
We met in an unusual manner. I
was doing a website for Jewishgen.org
on the town that my grandfather had
come from. The website, a
Kehilalink, is designed to help others
who are researching their Jewish
ancestry from a particular
community. I had connected with
a gentleman in Israel who had told me
that he knew someone in Israel who
knew a survivor in my community who
was from this particular town.
He sent me the person's contact
information, but I was occupied with
other projects at the time and put it
on the back burner. It soon got
lost in my voluminous email box.
A few months later I gave a talk and a
woman came up to me afterwards to tell
me that she had just met someone from
this town in our community. You
guessed it, same person.
Dvora and I often say we met through
"beshert," fate. Six months after we
met, we went to Poland to exhibit my
artwork and the photos she had from
before the war and during the time of
the ghetto, photos that were hidden in
her family members' shoes during the
camps. Eighty--five years ago
our family members were listed at the
same address in Radom so it only seems
fitting that we should meet in the
United States and become dear friends.
Dvora was fifteen when the Germans
invaded Poland and was in the Radom
forced labor camp, Auschwitz and then
has been a long-time Holocaust
together we often give talks on the
Holocaust. It was a natural
evolution to begin to do paintings
that tell her story. I've also
completed a set of interviews with her
about her stories.
It is an interesting process to
interview someone on topics that most
people skirt out of discomfort.
I ask her questions about minutia that
allow me to envision and recreate the
setting or the feeling accurately.
Because she is sight-impaired our
communication is through words.
I can't ask her if I've gotten it
right, I can only describe what I have
done to represent her story. I
have used this work in Holocaust
education efforts as I believe it is
through story that we begin to
comprehend another person's