Monday, August 6, 2012

Heros and Heroines Among Us.

On Friday, I played in a round robin tennis game with my dad.  Midway through, I had to use a restroom, and one of the men watching offered his nearby bungalow.  His mom was inside.  She's a sweet, tiny woman -- probably barely 5 feet tall, who visits every summer.  As we exchanged pleasantries about how lovely it is here at Pine Lake Park, I noticed the numbers tattooed on the inside of her forearm.   I had had no idea.

It turns out that Regina and Victor Lewis, my neighbor's parents, survived the Holocaust in an amazing story that intersects with Schindler's list.  You can read about it here.  What struck me was that I have known her for many years, and had no idea of the horrors she endured and the miracle that she survived.  It made me think about the people we encounter every day -- we have no idea of their back stories.  We think they are ordinary when they are probably extraordinary.

Reading the Lewis's story, I wondered whether Regina looked at the starry skies over Auschwitz and wondered if she would see Victor again.  The unlikelihood of ever seeing him again must have been overwhelming.  Even if she had known of his daring escape from the cattle car bringing his family to death, to believe that she would survive and that they would reunite would have surely been too much to bear.

Immediately after reading their story, I created this collage with a rough sketch of an angel in the stars:

I painted in the background using paint chips (more fexible than a plastic card) to drag various colors across the textured background:
And then more collage, more paint, some stamping and stencilling, and the words "I think of you in starry skies" from the song "Sound of Winter."  The next part of that lyric is "I keep you so alive."  Regina and her beloved Victor found each other after the war.  Perhaps it was their love that kept them alive.  I hope you'll read their story.
"Sound of Winter" is one of the songs in Scrapping the Music's current challenge.  It's a really cool challenge -- 5 songs with great lyrics.  Any art medium is allowed, so check it out!  Also, linking up to Paint Party Friday, Creative Every Day, Inspire Me Monday and Artists in Blogland -- great blogs for sharing your art!

Thank you for visiting! If you are so moved, please leave a comment. Hearing from you means the world to me.


  1. Jessica, this had touched me in such a profound way! I can't thank you enough for joining our challenge during our anniversary month! And for creating such a touching and meaningful entry! I have chills ad I type this note to you . I am off to read their story now, thanks again!!

  2. Gorgeous art work - I love seeing how it evolved.

  3. You are so right- there are extraordinary people everywhere. Your angel is stunning and the story that led you paint her gives her such strength!

  4. Wow Wow Wow. What an inspiring story, and beautiful tribute! Thank you so much for playing along with us Jessica!

  5. What a lovely story and beautiful artwork! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Jessica...lovely to see you over here. When your post opened...I thought...Cool...she just won the AIB challenge. And what a lovely piece of art you've been inspired to make. I'm off to find their story.

  7. When I lived in Israel (1961-1966) on a Kibbutz, there were a lot of people living there in this small community who bore those numbers on their arms. I was only 20-25 yrs old at the time, but I knew the history and it was jarring each time I'd notice the person's arm with the numbers. I heard some stories. Not many,and none from the person directly. I will go and read this story now. Your tribute to that memory is beautiful in your collage. It's very Chagalish looking. Lest we never forget I thank you for sharing their and your stories.

  8. How awesome to be inspired by such a terrible experience. Puts so much into perspective. This is so touching and beautiful.

  9. Beautiful artwork, and I admire the thought and heart that went into it! ~tina


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