Sunday, May 11, 2008
Yellow Badge on a doll is a motif used also by Paul Kor and in the bear postage stamp issued by Israeli Postage service in 2003. I guess it is also used by many others, because using an object, even though it is close to children, softens the impression (compared with using an image of child) - It seems that direct Holocaust impressions are unbearable.
Photo is courtesy of Ellen Wallenstein who wrote to me:
My connection to the holocaust is not direct; my immediate family is American/New York for many generations (since the mid 1800s) but I grew up in Washington Heights, a neighborhood of many refugees (my downstairs neighbors were from Belgium) and many of my classmates were the children of refugees. As a child growing up in the 1950s and 60s I was aware of WWII (my father had served in the war he was an army sergeant on the Queen Mary). I was also affected by war movies on TV that referred to those times especially "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Stalag 17".... and of course "the Pawnbroker" which I did not see until I was an adult.
The box work is about childhood fears, crossed with heavy-handed symbolism. The doll was originally a tourist-type doll from Austria (my grandfather traveled and brought me dolls which I despised at the time) and I painted it and made the striped pajamas and the yellow star. The box with the chicken wire of course represents the boxcars in which Jews were sent to the death camps, and there's a small dish, which contains hair & teeth (which the Nazis collected for various purposes.) There are also some pages containing Hebrew lettering from a prayer book, which symbolizes the prayers made from within those boxcars.
Copyright: Ellen Wallenstein 2008