Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 5

This weekend's inspiration card is a playful approach to a very serious topic. Jilian Curtis from blog-me-til-midnight.blogspot.com invited me to create an illustration for a home-schooling project that she was doing with her children. She was building a small Holocaust memorial in their front yard, to help the kids remember all the Jews that lost their lives.

Jilian's invitation made me recall a speech that I was able to attend recently, by Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein. The lecture hall was extremely full, people were sitting in the aisles, standing in every free spot, and listening intently from the crowded entrance. Her lecture transfixed the entire audience, you would have heard a penny drop. Instead of seeing a defeated elderly war-survivor telling horrifying stories from the war, I was baffled to encounter a still very good looking, warm-hearted, positive woman on the stage, with a big (though sometimes sad) smile on her face. I was fascinated how a woman who had lived through such atrocities could be so positive! I left with some of her inspiring words resonating in my mind. This is a part of her speech that I remember (not her words, but mine, recalling): "Imagine wanting to go home, but not having a home. Not having a passport. No money, no own clothes, no rights. In one of the camps I was at, there was hardly enough food for us. A large pot of soup for too many people, with maybe one potato at the bottom. If by pure coincidence one day you received this one potato, the happiness you felt was unbelievable. I lost my father, mother and brother, I was deported to work. This happened to me and many others. When I was freed it was a miracle. I was given my life back. I feel extremely lucky that I was allowed not only to survive, to be rescued, but to be able to marry, and live a long happy life with my later husband in the United States. My message to you is that we should all be happy for what we have. Let's enjoy every day and everything to its fullest. We have it so good. Let's appreciate every little thing we have."

Mrs. Klein has written many books, won an Academy Award, and founded the "Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation". Her speech, wisdom and attitude to life is a great wealth of inspiration to me. The topic Holocaust is also almost overwhelmingly complex to boil it down to a small inspiration card. But I had to choose. While this inspiration sentence doesn't reflect any core reason of the Holocaust, it reflects a contributing factor (that was missing in Germany at the time), and one of Ms. Klein's missions with the "Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation": to be tolerant and respectful of others.

6 comments:

Be Inspired Always said...

Beautiful, I will surely print this out and show my kids.


:)

ValGalArt said...

It is so meaningful and beautiful :) Incredible post!

Andi Butler said...

what a faboo illo for such a meaningful theme, and thanks so much for sharing your experience from the lecture you attended!

a : )

Bella Sinclair said...

These are words I try hard to live by and teach my children. There'd be so much more peace in the world with just a little more tolerance. Wonderful card and sentiment.

Thank you for your kind comments on my blog!

Mary said...

Hi, I have just found your blog and work, this is the first post that I have read, not only is your work beautiful but I like that there is meaning behind each piece. I have just read The Book Thief by Mark Zusak about a girl in germany during WW2 so this post struck a chord which was awoken by that book (I recommend reading it, it is beautiful and sad and narrated by death).
I wanted to write to you also as a fellow illustrator, I have recently graduated and I am trying to find illustration work, I was wondering how you made your work successful and if you have any tips, I am also a fellow potatoe lover!
Beautiful work, keep it up x

PotatoMamma said...

Thank you everyone who posted here - thanks for contributing your thoughts!!

Mary, I'm happy to give you tips about starting out as illustrator. Bear in mind, I'm not the ultimate guru, I just started out in 2006. But here's an article I posted for you and other new illustrators who are interested. You find a link "tips for illustrators" if you scroll down and look on the right hand side of this blog.

You're welcome to stop by again for further tips in future - I keep adding them as I find more.

Good luck, and
Happy Potato Greetings!
Astrid