“We are given grief and sadness but at the same time we are given love and beauty. And for our continuation we should not hold on to the pain, at least not with all of our power, but believe and live the life that is given to us with love and beauty and start to climb out of the darkness.” Tamara
IN REMEMBRANCE OF MY PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS AND THE MILLIONS KILLED IN THE HOLOCAUST
I am one of the survivors of the hell in Europe. I went through the Holocaust as a child.
I was born in Kovno, Lithuania and had a normal and beautiful childhood. The day when the first bomb fell on my town, my childhood came to an end. My family tried to go to Russia but the Germans were faster than us and we returned to Vilna after innumerable frightening experiences. Within a short time we were placed in the Ghetto. After two and a half years, the Vilna Ghetto was liquidated.
My mother was murdered by the Germans the next day and my father was transported to a camp in Estonia and was murdered there. My grandfather and grandmother who were a very important part of my life were murdered in the Ghetto in Kovno.
My sister and I were sent to the concentration camp Kaiserwald in Latvia. Afterwards, we were transferred to a number of work camps, in which our only food consisted of several pieces of bread and a bowl of barely eatable soup in exchange for many hours of slave labor.
I was in the camps for 18 months. In this horrible era I did not stop hoping that everything would finish soon. This gave me the opportunity to hold on to the humanity inside of me.
Only at the end of the war did I realize that the world of yesterday would never return – not my family and not my childhood, nothing. Before the liberation, we were forced on a death march to the gas chambers. During the march many people were dying.
Every moment was dangerous because the guards knew that we were all going to be murdered. I wanted to help those who were dying and ran from one to the other but there was not much I could do.
I felt desperate, but an older woman came up to me and told me that I must not try to help but just continue walking.
She said “Child, look upward in faith and forward in hope”. What she said has helped me ever since. We were passing through a small town in Poland just before the death camp and I heard someone who was watching us go by say that the Soviet (Red) Army was just a day or two away.
When the guards were not looking, I pushed my sister out of the line of the march, and when I was sure she was safe and the last houses of the town were coming up,
I took the next opportunity to escape and was hidden by a Polish family for about 10 days until the Red Army came.I am in Israel where I have been since 1945.
I came to Israel because I wanted to help build a country for Jews where we would be free and there would be no hatred. I came to Israel separately from my sister and passed through Romania, where I was cured of TB.
Several months later I came as part of the Youth Aliyah. I fought in the war of liberation in one of the kibbutzim of Gush Etzion. We were captured by the Jordanian Army and released a month later.
I studied to finish high school and continued to study in different schools, and I am continuing studying until today. I managed to raise a family – a privilege for the few who had survived.
I act like every other human being so as not to transfer my burden to my children, but the memories of the horrors accompany me day and night. I am learning to live with the heaviness in my heart.
I was never painting but started more than 20 years ago and have been painting, sculpting and writing poetry in remembrance ever since.
I feel that by my art I am helping to transfer my experiences and feelings to others to help prevent this from ever happening again.
Every individual who survived that other world has a duty to leave documentation, art, music and personal stories behind so that future generations will not forget.
I hope that we will all live in a better world and that the horror of the Holocaust will not be repeated.
The war ended in 1945. For me, the Holocaust will never end
Holocaust Paintings Together with Sculptor Bernard Banville
for his encouragement and support
Tamara Deuel passed away a few years ago. If you’d like information, visit her web site or click below to contact.
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Vilna (writing under symbol is ‘Vilno Ghetto’ in Yiddish)
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©Copyright 1993-2007 Tamara Deuel. All right reserved. Downloading for personal use only is at no cost. Publication of any kind only under agreement.