31 August 2007



Welcome back to “Numbers”. It has been such a humbling experience to have read all your amazing comments on panel one. I hope you will enjoy this continuation of Esther and Sam’s journey. Documenting their journey, at least for this moment in time, has become weaved into a part of mine - it seems.

Like any of my artworks – I threw myself into this with gusto and extreme sensitivity, running all over Sydney or ebay-ing the world to get just the right elements.

Indeed, I received a number of parcels laden with gifts from my blogging pals overseas, they hoped that I could use some of their gifts, somehow in this piece. I did, and along the way I will let you know which ones were used in this particular panel. It seems that Esther and Sam’s story had stuck a chord with many.

All your positive energy represents the underlying theme behind the comments and emails – one of tolerance. I certainly felt and rode on everyone’s energy, an international energy of newfound friends and artists, when creating this second panel. Now exhausted and somewhat depleted of energy, I present to you the second panel of “Numbers”.

The entire panel is the same size as panel 1.

It is made up of 24 individual art pieces.

It was decided by Robert and I that this panel would mainly focus on Sam and Esther’s arrival from Eastern Europe to Australia.

The focus here is about friends, some of whom were to become more like family to the Fiszmans. As you will see as I take you through both sections of this panel, the atmosphere moves from the dark to the light.

It was a deliberate choice that this panel would not focus on immediate family, leaving that and Sam’s political history for Panel 3. In saying that, Sam and inevitably his entire family’s connection to the said political party has a direct correlation to them being allowed into Australia as refugees - under the policies of that party.

In fact, outside of Israel, Australia had the largest amount of Survivors migrating due to allowable intake- which by the way was by no means large.
I started the panel with the image of the photo I found in Annika’s scrapbook. These would have been Robert’s aunts and uncles.

After posting this photo on my blog, I received a phone call from Robert, saying,
‘Look, there’s my family”. It was said with joy and yet a tinge of sadness for they were family stolen from him. He didn’t have to say anything else, I understood.

Before I continue on to the process, I would like to explain that when I undertake a Visual anthology, I am given a number of photos. Without exception, each Visual Anthology is a dynamic process. Always changing. More photos’s sometimes come to light – or I see that something is missing and research until I find what I am after, even if it is symbolic. Hence when I stumbled upon this photo, I knew it had to go in.

It represented many things, not only family lost but the link to the baby photo of Sam sitting in the chair in panel 1.

It represented and served as a reminder that 2 million children were killed during that time.

It represented the link that would, by a chance of fate, one’s survival, bring Sam and Esther to Australia.

The photo is set in a frame. I deliberately use similar textures and colouring to that used for Sam’s parents in panel 1. For in this photo we see Lonia Walkenbreit. She and Sam’s mother Malka were sisters. Lonia had 9 brothers and sisters. With the exception of Lonia who married and went to live in Australia all perished in the Holocaust.

I have used mica to highlight the children. But you will notice, there is no mica over the image of Lonia. I did this in order to highlight the fact that it was Lonia and also to highlight that she was the only survivor of these children.

Attached to the piece of wood is what looks like an old nappy pin. (The pin was a gift from Rande). Stamped onto the pin are the words 9/10 killed. I chose the nappy pin as it represents babies, children. The pin holds the rusted chain which attaches to the frame.

What is REALLY ODD here is the RED stain that has APPEARED in the photo.

It looks like blood almost -don't you think?

It is NOT something I did!

It does NOT look like this in reality!

It has appeared in the photo's, as it were, by chance - or is it chance? NO WAY.

Say hi to SAM everyone!

He is working with all of us here, he wants to get his message across, I am sure of it,

Never forget and Never again!

Directly below is this piece.

I have cropped it just so you can see it before showing you the piece as it is.

You may recognize this photo of Sam, who is pictured on the right, from panel 1.

I needed to find the correct (by my standards) element or something here to serve as a reminder of what Sam had experienced. I found a piece of paper from a very old numerology book that is made up of lots of numbers and years.

1946 – was the year the photo was taken.
Perfect, I had found that.
What was even better for the purposes of this piece was the amount of number 6’s that accompanied that year.
6 representing million Jews killed.
Strangely this was from a Russian book that I had recently purchased.
Again perfect as this photo also represents Sam in his Communist days.

The copper wire, strung to hold the photo, is done in the shape of a star of David for when you see that it is attached to this vintage book…

you will now understand why I did that.

The fatal Star of David was the book I chose for these two pieces to sit on.

It seemed that logical choice when browsing my book collection.

On the right is the piece of wood upon which is placed watch parts, a number 8, leaves and the Hebrew word Chai.

This particular element was put together to represent the tree of life and Jewish continuity.

Pictured in Poland after liberation, this photo was taken just after Esther and Sam married.

For me this photo represents:

Hitler’s failure to achieve his plan to wipe all Jews off the face of the world.
That in the face of continual anti-semitism throughout the ages, the Jews have managed to survive.

Jewish continuity, a theme, a struggle and a reality that has been drummed into Roberts and my existence. The fight for the survival of our people is in our life-force.

8 does not stand for the number 8 – it stands for eternal. Our eternal struggle for survival.

The watch parts, wheels and cogs - representing the movement of our people throughout the generations. Always moving from country to country usually due to persecution.

The leaves - of the tree of life and the family tree.

These leaves represent:
the other family members in the photo Ishek and Bereg whom we saw in the last panel.
Esther and Sam’s survival and union in marriage – the creation of a new family which in turn symbolizes the continuity of a people through the birth of a child.
The vitage bronze "Chai" – meaning life in Hebrew.
Representing the tree of life and those lives spared.

I know you must be wondering if I had had a strange moment placing pink in a piece of my work and especially here.

Ahh but you already know that it must symbolise something if it found its way in one of my art pieces, right.

The pink and blue silk weaved on the nameplate –
When I visited Esther, she mentioned to me that she, to this day, recalls exactly what she wore, the day she met Sam. She wore a pink jumper and a navy blue pleated skirt. The people looking after her insisted she get dressed very well, as she explained she cam from a family of elegance prior to the war and if you were to meet Esther today – you would be struck by her elegance.

I had to represent that somehow – so I did it on this photo, the only one from the relevant time frame.
So that is it for this post but as always...
To be continued.


Shari said...

Hi Judy---
I haven't been online much lately, but I always check your blog when I have time. I am always amazed and left speechless after viewing and reading your posts. I get goosebumps and the chills as I get drawn into your/their stories. I don't know which I am attracted to more---your wonderful art, or your brilliant story telling. I love them both. Thank you for sharing. Aside from this I wanted to mention that my son Mike has registered to participate in the December Israeli Birthright Tour. I am excited for him to see Israel and connect with his heritage. I am sure that being in Israel will touch his heart and something even deeper within him. Your blog and your posts do that for me.

Annieta Vries said...

Dear Judy, this is a very emotional process you'r going through making this most wonderful, wonderful art! I feel so much respect for you! I am glad you have so many lovely responses all the time.

Steph said...

Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww and wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww and wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... Thank you so much for sharing...

nina said...

as always, quite incredible. INCREDIBLE. x

azirca said...

Judy this is amazing. Yet again all of your attention to detail is what really pulls everything together. Absolutely wonderful!

Linda Manning Findley said...

These are just awesome .... the photos are wonderful but you have done the quintessential job of making them speak ..... wonderful work ... Linda F

donnaj said...

just incredible! every little detail has meaning~

Nancy Gene Armstrong said...

Yes I agree about the red-Sam is guideing you.Once again although my heart is heavy with the sadness and tears fall from my eyes I am glad to share in the story. thank you.

Jen Crossley said...

SIMPLE STUNNING what can I say Im speechless
(I know thats a first)

Emmcee .... Marie C said...

Fabulous work Judy - love all your elements and how they concect with your story....

lindaharre said...

Judy.....this is wonderful!!!!! I don't have words to express my admiration of you and your work! I can hardly wait to see the complete panel........oh my, your work makes me feel so humble. Thank you for all the explanations. That really makes the pieces come to life for me:D XOXOXO

Anonymous said...

judy thank you for sharing your passion, I find myself drawn into your story telling and find your artwork so inspiring. Looking forward to the next episode.

Debbi Baker said...


Your work is incredible and every time I come to your blog I get goosebumps. I am with Shari - your story telling is as powerful as your visual representations!

megan pickwell said...

wonderful Judy - love the way you have worked on the photo to illustrate the significance. How wonderful to spend time with Esther. What an incredible woman she must be, how inspiring. Thankyou for once again sharing your vision.

Ro Bruhn said...

Again Judy it's obvious to see you put so much thought into your work, it's fabulous.
It's hard to image 2 million children killed, it makes you go cold.

Great work

Night Owl Designs said...

Amazing work! Love all the special little touches, like the blue and pink fabric. You tell a wonderful story :-) Sephi

annie said...

judy...i sit here stunned at your ability to convey this very unbelievable & inconcievable tragedy...you share it with such love, compassion, & passion. really, when i sit to read what you have written, it takes me there. i usually have to have a quiet time to stop by here...because of the sensitivity of your work and message. i feel so fortunate to have our paths cross here so many miles away.

Ev said...

Thank you for sharing once again the journey of Ester and Sam, and your journey through the processes involved in creating such wonderful art (well what you do actually surpasses art). I know you give a lot, but I do hope that we can in some way help you along on this journey. You have chosen your path well.

Julie H said...

Oh Judy, the detail and symbolism blow me away. After seeing the photo's of Esther now I can imagine her dressing up for Sam - and I lve that you have been able to include this tiny detail.

Karen Owen said...

Judy, I continue to be amazed at the saga of Sam and Esther and your visual representation of it. I look at the photos and see people of such beauty, strength and intelligence. Thank you for keeping these people alive through your work.


Kristen Robinson said...

What can I say, you know how deeply all of this affects me. Another panel, shrine if you will that holds sacred memories, pieces that represent more than what is seen and above all shouts never forget.

Amazing my friend!

kelsey said...

Only 3 panels???? I'm afraid that we fellow bloggers will find it hard to not have your insightful and aesthetically amazing imagery and words to pour over, when these 3 panels are complete! It's like coming back to a good book that you can't put down...but you only get a page or two at a time! Fantastic and humbling all rolled into one.

Sharon said...

I've come back to enjoy again and I have visited for a good while. Not rushed. Just spending time with every detail. It is the details that draw me in. Well of course the story and the photos and the presence of Sam do. But then I must look at each little twist of the wire and all the elements and layers. During the day, during the week, at my office, I'm always so rushed and often get interupted. All I can say is thank you for sharing this part of you.

colita said...

I actually can't think of anything to say. It has all been said. I just keep watching in wonder.

kate said...

I am fascinated by your work on these panels. It is an amazing trip into history and survival... I love the way you've selected each element to represent an important part of the story.

Jamie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with us all Judy. You have an amazing heart and it shines through all the pieces you create. I had to write you also to comment on your finds from Willy and his past. I too dig in the garbage and I am always amazed at what people will throw away. I had a similar incident happen, but was lucky to find the person whom owned the photos. I wrote about it a long time ago, but if you are interested it's here: http://talesfromtheterracottage.blogspot.com/2007/04/there-are-good-things-too.html

Thank you for saving Willy's memories. Love, Jamie

Amy said...

Hi, I am a newcomer to your blog, but I wanted to say...wow, thank you. Thank you for sharing so much about your art and the process behind it. I really appreciate that you have gone into such detail explaining what you have done, and why, in addition to giving the historical background. You put so much powerful symbolism into your work, and I am in complete awe. I will be back often.

paris parfait said...

I am just knocked out by the power of this work! Thank you for sharing your immense talent.

jo said...


Thankyou for sharing what must be an emotional and exhausting journey with us all.

Love Jo xoxo

Ursula clamer said...

Again I am amazed at your attention detail is amazing and feel that ir is so wonderful that you are there to preserve these memories for generations to come.
When you hand over these pieces of art, these treasures, do you give, or have you thought about giving, a booklet of some sort explaining things as you do on your blog - such as the pink & blue to represent what Esther was wearing - purely to preserve the memories further still for the future generations, not the 'how to' side of it? Ux

fromthepines said...

Once again, amazing as usual.


Tricia Scott said...

the symbolism in your work really tugs at my heart. i can't get the images of your work out of my mind---they stick with me---the art and your words, esther's story.

thank you once again, judy.

Audrey said...

Amazing, just amazing, to have such meaning behind your art, your and your work are amazing Judy.

Judy Wise said...

Judy, I've been saving this latest post until I had the amount of time and proper frame of mind to read it. Because reading these posts you've been putting up take an emotional toll. I always end up with tears and horror for what humans do and have done to other humans. Your work speaks to my heart and breaks my heart. I love the photos and careful attention to detail. You have made an era come to life for a generation that has only heard stories. These faces speak to us across the years and remind us to slow down and THINK whenever confronted with hatred. You are wonderful.

Cre8Tiva said...

judy...i once painted a home for a couple whose parents were interred by hitler...they had a special request to paint 8-3-1 into the mural...it was their signal meaning i love you...8 letters...3 words...1 heart...i remember it often and use it for those i love...missed you while i was gone...blessings, rebecca

Susan Tuttle said...

Judy My Dear,
No blogger moves me as you do. Your work is miraculous--I cannot find the right words--your work, the story, the synergy of it all moves my soul at such a deep level.

The 2 million children who perished--that figure just crushes me--more so now that I have children of my own, and I cannot even fathom....

The red that showed up in the photo--wow--definitely meaning from the other side.

Weaving the pink and blue together to represent Esther's outfit when she met Sam--that is such a powerful representation of her memory.

Hats off to you--hand on my heart to you--this is incredible Judy.

Love and Hugs,

Stacey Mattraw said...

you keep getting better!

Lynn said...

I hope you never tire of hearing praise for your art and story telling, nor from the emotions and memories they evoke from others.

I have a Sam and Esther in my family (elder, now deceased cousins)...i am sure there are many such Sams and Esthers...yours are brought to life here, bigger than life epitomizing Jews who suffered unbelievable sufferings, and those who survived it all. I am interested in all of this, and what it is to be the child of survivors as well.

Your art is such a gift to you and to us. to you as a way to process what this birth right has given you...child of holocaust survivor...not an easy road...

Not at all surprised that the dead speak through you...lead you where you need to go/do/be...

Books, movies, more art pieces all in you waiting to be brought out...
Awesome that we have this medium in which they can be instantly shared with millions. I wonder how many millions?

A bird in the hand said...

I just discovered this monumental work. It has moved me to the core. It must have been such deeply emotional work, but full of love and remembrance too, I'm sure. My maternal grandfather was the only survivor of his family, of the Armenian Genocide. Working on an assignment for Somerset Memories, I used my family pictures and while working I got very emotional. It took me a week to recover, but it was cathartic, and I created some of my best work.

Thank you so much for showing this work.