Thursday, January 3, 2008

Anyone Want to Send Me to London on January 21st?

It's been a VERY busy month for me and I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and a very Happy New Year. I also hope you are all recuperating!

And, I am wondering if anyone wants to send me to London for what promises to be a touching and poignant art installation commemorating the Holocaust and the 11 million Jews, elderly, Jahovah Whitnesses, Mormon, mentally impaired, Catholic, Gypsy, dissident, Communist, educated, as well as the multitude of others that challenged the Nazi Regime and perished. The article is fairly short and interesting:

`Harry Potter' star donates eyeglasses

By ROB HARRIS, Associated Press Writer Thu Jan 3, 1:04 PM ET

MANCHESTER, England - Daniel Radcliffe, who has captivated moviegoers as the bespectacled schoolboy wizard in the Harry Potter films, has donated the first pair of glasses he wore as a child to an exhibition marking the horrors of the Holocaust.

The British actor joins Yoko Ono, talk show host Jerry Springer, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other celebrities and members of the public whose spectacles will be linked together in the shape of a railway track — recalling the trains that carried many of the Nazis' victims to concentration camps throughout Europe. An estimated 6 million Jews died.

The exhibition in Liverpool will open Jan. 21. The port city in northwest England will host Britain's Holocaust Day commemorative service on Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Muslim leaders are to attend the multicultural service, which is the culmination of a series of lectures, exhibitions, stage shows and musical events recalling the Nazi atrocities and more recent genocides. Jason Isaacs, who stars as the sinister Lucius Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" films, will also take part in the service.

The 18-year-old Radcliffe, whose mother is Jewish, sent the oval, gray metal-framed pair of glasses he wore as a 6-year-old.

In a statement, Ono called the project "such a symbolic piece of artwork, which will help people to learn how important it is to never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and to challenge hatred and prejudice wherever it arises."

Organizers are seeking a total of 110,000 pairs of eyeglasses. When installed inside Liverpool Town Hall's main ballroom, mirrors will multiply the number of spectacles and give the appearance of 330,000 pairs — the estimated number of Jews in Britain at the time of the Holocaust.

"We wanted to remind people of the horrors of the Holocaust, but we wanted an artistic response and not just ... a mound of spectacles," Jean Evans, the project's director, told The Associated Press.

The exhibition will also offer a legacy of its own. After it is dismantled, the glasses of the famous will be auctioned for charity while the others will be donated to people in developing nations through the charitable group Vision Aid Overseas.

To coincide with the Holocaust Day events, an Anne Frank Festival is to open Saturday. A replica of the Amsterdam bedroom where the Jewish teenager wrote her diary will be constructed inside Liverpool's Anglican cathedral.

The 15-year-old died of typhus in Germany's Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945 after being seized from the Amsterdam attic where she, her sister and parents had hidden from the Nazis.

The installation is called RESPECTacles. You can find more information by visiting this website: Be sure to visit the Wall of Commitment for a personal introspective or to leave your own.

It occurs to me that the Holocaust is part of the world's recent history. My father was born two months before Germany was defeated and my grandparents survived the Depression and were involved in US efforts during WWII. Thinking about it right now brings to mind two bits of wisdom you may or may not be familiar with.

The first, a quotation attributed to philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist George Santayana, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

The second, a statement attributed to Martin Niemoller, the son of a pastor himself and one-time Nazi supporter:

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

I'd like to end this with a recommendation for a simple and now obscure little play by C.P Taylor (Cecil P. Taylor) called "Good". While I have seen this performed only once - I was a member of the cast in college - reading this play provides a profound insight into the idea of good and bad people, acts - the idea of black and white when applied to human morals.

One of the most artistic references to the Holocaust is 'Maus', a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman. Wickipedia provides an excellent overview of the creative approach to explaining the recollected events of his father and their current relationship as father and survivor and son of a survivor:

And, quite frankly, any piece by Elie Wiesel offers a unique perspective by a survivor - as the survivor rate was small, but smaller still was the number of survivors willing and able to speak openly about their trauma. My favorite is 'From the Kingdom of Memory: Reminiscences'. Be sure to read his first pieces - 'Night', 'Dawn', 'Day' - before you attempt to bite into this work!

These are simply the truths I grew up with. If you would like my help in pointing you towards books or films for adults or children, I would be happy to offer any insight I can. My email is listed in the right margin and open to any questions you may have. Please note, I will not engage in any debates and any negative or threatening messages will be reported to the proper authorities. Thank you for your understanding.

But, today, I would like to offer a minute amount of insight and as much love as my body and mind can muster. Be healthy, be happy, be a part of the human race as best as you can.


dianeclancy said...

Hi Staci,

Thank you so much for this post! I had not heard of this remembrance ... it sounds so powerful. I have my post ready for the morning and I just went and added to it to tell people about this post ... and sent it along also.

Very informative and thoughtful. Thank you ... this gripped me from a kid onward!

~ Diane Clancy

Kris Cahill said...

Hi Staci,
This is a beautiful post! I hope you are able to go to London for this fantastic event. This is such an important thing to remember, especially now as our planet is consumed so much by hatred. We can turn that around, because there are already so many people who refuse to hate back.

I wonder if you know the film, 'Forgiving Dr. Mengele'? I saw this film 2 years ago when it came out, and I highly recommend it.

I like your blog, and your art. Happy New Year to you!

Staci Rose said...

Thank you Diane!

And, Kris, I have not seen 'Forgiving Dr. Mengele', but the title alone is very powerful. I have been thinking about 'Europa, Europa' since I wrote this post, though.

Thank you, Kris and Diane, for your interest and feedback!