Tomorrow, January 27th is Holocaust Remembrance Day. I’ll be lighting a candle for all of my mother’s and all of my father’s families, wiped out by the Nazis.
As I child, I was tormented by the fact that I never had grandparents, uncles, aunts or cousins. But my comfort was in this needle point, created by my mother’s sister, Amalia (Mantzi) Friebrun. Here’s a translation (From Hebrew) of a page in my diary, written when I was 12 years old:
In our house hangs a large picture that is not a traditional picture. It is needle point.
The entire picture is embroidered and each stitch is visible to the eye. It’s a work that takes years to complete.
The picture reflects a typical European mountain landscape: four houses made from wood with red or brown roofs. They look like toy houses. Near two of the houses there are bundles of chopped wood and the other two houses look like they are drowning in luscious greens. The picture looks so real that in its frame, it looks like a landscape that is viewed through a window: mountains of eternal snow, forests, thick green trees and little hills.
Ask me: how did this picture come to be with us?
I’ll tell you: this picture was embroidered by my mother’s sister who was killed by the Nazis. It came to us two years ago by a relative who got the picture after her mother died and this relative gave it to my mother.
Lots of whereabouts happened to this picture and that is why I like it so much. Now when I look at the picture, I feel as if my aunt, may she rest in peace, is sitting inside the picture and is seeing us and protecting us. When I gaze at the picture, I can see my reflection in the glass and I believe that through the glass, the dear soul of my mother’s sister can see me. And if the deceased will come out of the picture, the trees and forests in the picture will dwindle forever. Our entire room is reflected in this precious beautiful picture and thus Amalia, Mantzi (That was my aunt’s name and I’m named after her) can see us.
I am thrilled that this picture hangs in our room and not in any other place and that I can see it any time I wish.