A Random Image

Archive for August, 2011

|| August 20, 2011 || 2:56 pm || Comments (18) ||

Somewhere in the neighborhood of two weeks ago I pinned a photo to one of my Pinterest boards (the one entitled ‘loud as words’, where I post up images that are striking or powerful to me). It was this one, an AP file photo shot by Al Steinkopf on 20 December 1940.

eva and the others

The faces it depicts are those of Jewish children living, at that time, in a Polish ghetto (one in Szydlowiec, to be exact) under Nazi occupation.

A few days later I got an e-mail from one of my beloveds, a pocket person from way, waaaay back:

The girl, the defiant girl in the center, slightly unfocused…

She is the maternal grand aunt of my biological father.  She is related to me and to him because she was defiant.  She stayed in Nazi occupied Poland and helped Jews escape until she was captured in 1943 and sent to Auschwitz. She worked with Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi hunter, until her death.

She was the only member of his family that gave a damn about us after he died.  I think I get my devotion from her.

I have dim memories of her.

And her chicken soup recipe.

Her name was Eva. The photograph had struck me, but now –in a very real way– I am connected to one of its subjects.

But yep that’s her.  It makes me wonder how many quiet legends are also a nurturing figure in some boy’s room, adjusting his blanket as he stirred in sleep.  Just a sense of some indomitable Spirit passing through his life.

That that Spirit may have touched your life is frankly mind blowing.  As in physics and metaphysics I can’t comprehend were messing around with us.

And I know it is because I know you, but I would bet real money that she was the one that you identified with.  Visually she’s in position to be seen first, but I think she would be seen even if she was obscured by another child.

I’m about to set sail some experiments in my life. One of them involves telling a big story and a central character to that story is your basic snapshot; it has the feel of a good idea’s infrastructure….but we’ll see.  Another of them involves the realtime recounting of history in a vibrant and personal way. Something akin to a voyeurnal, but more exacting and more moving. In time I’ll be inviting all of you to come with me, some in more hands-on ways than others.

The longer I live, the more purposeful ‘accidental’ connections seem to become, and they leap out at me more often. I’m there, part of you, and you’re here, part of me. It’s messy and painful and sexy and expansively, terrifyingly wonderful. Take my hand. Let’s go look for the dots so that we can link them up. Then let’s tell everybody who’s not paying attention aaaalllll about them. Let’s feed them Eva’s chicken soup; it’s seasoned with defiance and care.

Let’s be seen even in obscurity.