Saturday, August 16, 2008

Trauma and Identity

In recent years I find an outlet for my thoughts in painting, prose, poetry and talking to people. I would like to share with you a recent talk I had with a student of Social Work.
He asked me two questions:
“What makes up your identity” and “How do you cope with your trauma”.
Being a Zionist, Jewish, Israeli and the Shoa have shaped my life.

Trauma and Identity .

I know who I am and who I want to be.
Growing up as a motherless daughter I had to find my own way through life. What helped me most was the fact that I had a goal. From early childhood, just like my mother, I had the dream of getting to our homeland, the Land of Israel and help build up the country as a Zionist pioneer. This is what my mother had hoped for to do and had hoped for her children. My mother remained my guide throughout my life.
Being Jewish was something my mother taught me to be proud off. That was a very daring thought at a time when anti-Semitism was at its height. Being proud has remained my attitude towards my Judaism till today. I am proud of belonging to the Jewish people with their ancient heritage, to keep to it and pass it on to the coming generations.
Being an Israeli is the fulfillment of a dream to be wanted, to belong, to be allowed to do so. This plays an active part in my day- to- day life.
The Shoa and all that it entails, the consequences of being excluded, deprived of all rights, unwanted, dispossessed, is something I hoped to spare my children from.
My children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren feel that they belong to this country based on our ancient heritage. In my way I helped to create the basis for that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Time in August

August is the month that most people go on Holiday. I am on Holiday the year round. So what is special for me in August, what can I do to fill my time in August?
Somehow I feel I have to do something useful, even when there is nothing to do. The computer is often my last resource. It is like a magnet. It has a constant pull on me to sit down and use it.
That is what I am doing most days.
In September, which still seems far away, I have an invitation to come to Berlin as part of the 60-year celebration of the founding of the State of Israel. The Project “Le Dor Dor”, organised by the German Government and ASF has invited 25 survivors accompanied by a child or grandchild to come to Germany and talk in schools. While I have been asked to talk about my childhood memories, my 23 year old grandson who will accompany me on this trip, should talk about his generations attitude towards the Shoa and the relationship between Germany and Israel as seen by his generation.
Out of experience I know that pictures convey a subject much better than words can. So I have been busy putting together a power point projection, looking for photos that will tell the story of what it was like for us to live as whole family in Glogau and in Berlin, that is my grandmother, my parents and my siblings. Showing three generations living together in Germany and following it with photos of three further generations who live in Israel. Putting together “Three plus Three” was easy.
I also crafted a projection for my Grandson to show. He supplied me with photos and I made a story out of it. While I have more time than is good for me, the young generation is always busy and never has time. Time for what? They have the time to do what is right for them, which does not always include what we old people think they should be doing.
Actually they are busy building their life, which is no longer comparable, to what it was like for me, when I did so 70, 60 or 50 years ago.
Much has changed since then. We have a State now, which for a long seemed like a dream to me but has become reality.
As one of my grandsons pointed out to me, my generation was busy with mere surviving. That has changed. The present generation has all the time in the world and they are busy living their life.
And that is how it should be.