This sculpture describes my conflicts as a holocaust survivor.
When WWII broke out I was less that 2 years old. A week later the German planes bombed our Shtetl, in south eastern Poland, 10 minutes later a big part of the Jewish quarter of the town laid in ruins, burned, leaving hundreds of dead, wounded and homeless.
My parents and other family members packed their few belongings they could carry and headed east, to Russia.
We were sent to labor camps in Siberia suffering from hunger, chilling cold, hard work and diseases. Later we moved east and settled in Dzhambul, Kazakhstan. During those years my father undertook any work he could find as long as he can feed his family.
The work he could find was devastating to his health which consequently brought his life to an end at the age of 47.
In 1946 we returned to Poland only to learn that many of our family were killed in the Belzec extermination camp. Realizing there is no home to return to.
In 1950 we made Aliya to Israel.
As a child I remember my mother saying in Yiddish “If God could see it and do nothing – then there is no God in heaven”
Similarly asks the little Shmuelchi his grandfather in the poem “To the hills of the corpses in the snow” by the great poet Uri Tsvi Greenberg “Zeide, (grandpa) where have all my prayers gone? Where have all your prayers gone? Zeide why didn’t you come with all the angels in heaven? Zeide, where is the God of the Jews?
So I am left with Shmuelchis’ questions and have no answers. I feel something terrible has happened to the people of Israel and God did not do what he had to do as a good father – Save his children – and what can the child do?
What do I do with this God? I was born a Jew, I am part of this people, tradition and history flow in my veins. I stretch my protesting arm demanding explanation. Still demanding but in the morning I take my Tales and Tefilin and go to the Shul.
The promise God made to Abraham “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river of Euphrates.” is carved on the hand straps of the Tefilin.
Genesis 15, 18