Monday, April 12, 2010

Genocide Among the Flowers: Kaftan's Ponary Paintings: Holocaust Remembrance Day 2010

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I post these painting for Holocaust Remembrance Day 2010.


The Ponary massacre (or Paneriai massacre) was the mass-murder of 100,000 people, mostly Jews, by German SD, SS and Lithuanian Nazi[1][2][3][4] Sonderkommando collaborators (Special SD and German Security Police Squad "Ypatingasis būrys" units)[1][2][5] during World War II and the Holocaust in Reichskommissariat Ostland. The executions took place between July 1941 and August 1944 near the railway station of Paneriai (Polish: Ponary), now a suburb of Vilnius. Some 70,000 Jews were murdered in Ponary,[6] along with estimated 20,000 Poles and 8,000 Russians, many from nearby Vilnius.


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(I photographed the paintings without a flash. I tried to avoid the shine of the overhead lighting)

Seymour Kaftan signed his paintings using his Yiddish name "Szepsel." There are many more paintings in this collection. They are in exhibit at the new Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College, Bayside, Queens, N.Y.

"There are roads leading to Ponary - but there are no roads back."
~Kazimierz Sakowicz

27 comments:

Jew Wishes said...

Thank you for this poignant and intense post. The paintings are so illuminating.

I wish I lived in NY, as I would definitely visit the exhibit.

Maybe it will come to L.A. at some point in the future.

Zachor/Remember

Ponary is not far from where some of my ancestors were murdered in a massacre by the Nazis.

Jew Wishes said...

Is there any way to buy a book of his artwork, do you know?

Mary said...

Thank you, Mary. I wish I could visit the exhibit.

maryt/theteach said...

Jew Wishes, I will send you a 28-page brochure that the Holocaust Center has been giving out. It contains all of Kaftan's paintings for this series of Ponary paintings. Send me in my email your snail mail address... :)

maryt/theteach said...

My email address is in my sidebar of my Work of the Poet blog.

Jew Wishes said...

Mary, oh, thank you so very much for this! I know you realize how much this means to me...but...words can't articulate my appreciation.

Hugs and Love...Lorri

Jew Wishes said...

Email sent! Thank you, again.
xoxo

Leora said...

Thank you for this beautiful post of paintings. Too bad it commemorates such an awful period in history. May the world never, ever again know such evil.

♥ Kathy said...

Thank you Mary. My family was among the Polish.

Dimple said...

Thank you Mary. We must not forget or allow our children to forget that man can inflict such horror on his fellow man. And we must steadfastly refute those who would deny that such a thing ever happened.

judi said...

We will not forget, Thanks for the visual reminder.

Rinkly Rimes said...

For some reason I find the painting in which the officers are pointing the direction that people have to go the most moving. It's so clinical and Germanically efficient, somehow, and this was the moment when family members saw each other for the last time. Thank you.

Annesphamily said...

Mary this was a stunningly beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. Anne

Gattina said...

The way he expressed his sadness in such beautiful colors is so amazing ! In tragedies often black and white is used or dark colors.

Robin said...

Such beautifully tragic and haunting images. I'm in awe of people who can use their art to convey their deepest emotions.

Loree said...

Haunting images and a reminder of the atrocities of the past. Thanks for the reminder. These memories always bring tears to my eyes.

Ann said...

These are touching paintings. I always cry when I read or watch about the Holocaust.

Thanks.










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Snowbird said...

Thank you so much for posting this. My husband is adopted but when we discovered his birth family, we found that his grandfather's brother and his family all died in a concentration camp. Then when my daughter married, we learned that her husband's great grandparents and several other relatives died in the camps and that his grandmother and uncle had both survived a camp. I hope that the Holocaust is never forgotten. We must remember the horrible things that happened then and prevent them from ever happening again.

Annie said...

Achingly beautiful and sobering.

ilanadavita said...

Thank you for commemorating Yom Hashoah along with us. Poignant paintings.

boliyou said...

Beautiful paintings of a horrible time. They're so evocative.

Travis said...

This is very powerful.

Ann Flower said...

Just gone through your blog and found it wonderful. The header image of your blog looks awesome. keep on posting.

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modeflowers said...

This is a great post.I like the paintings, its so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Not enough is known about the genecidal murders at Ponary!!! My mom's identical twin sister, aged 19, after 5 months at Lukiszki prison (another horror!)- was shot in Ponary and later incinerated with so many others - to hide the evidence. Our Grandfather was a known Polish doctor and she, a girlguide carrying fliers for the Polish Reistance. Her ashes, like those of the other 20,000 Poles also shot there - are blended in with the dust and spilled blood of the 70,000 Jewish Innocents and ironically the Reichs' "new-new- Bolshevik enemies... (What Irony!) 70 years later, we weep for never having met our sweet Aunt, shared our days on earth with her... This art conveys the indescribable horror of this dispicable crime - is a warning to future generations -"to never again!" May we heed this call!!! One and All! Thank you...

A still grieving and deeply empathetic Canadian of Polish origin...

May they rest in peace...

Anonymous said...

GOOD