Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Painting of The Pianist in the Warsaw Ghetto


On this day in 1943, April 19, the Warsaw Uprising started.
The thumbnail print, cut from a contact sheet, is the only image that remains of The Pianist in the Warsaw Ghetto that my father Jaap van Praag (1898-1969) painted in the early 1950's.
He destroyed the original, because he couldn't stand looking at it. Too painful. Even when he showed me, his young child just this tiny picture he wept.






This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Remembering - Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial

It's 75 years ago that Japanese-Americans were forced to leave their homes. Tomorrow, March 30th, the public is invited to attend several events at the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial on Bainbridge Island.
Coming from the Netherlands to Seattle, I know of two, no, three distinctly different points of view in regards to the role or position of the Japanese during WWII.

  • Some of my older Dutch friends were, as little girls, imprisoned in Japanese camps in Indonesia, the adult males in their families tortured if not killed.
  • Most all of my Japanese American friends' families in the Pacific Northwest were interned in camps in America. 
  • And then there's the memory of our beloved friends Shinkichi and Ferdi Tajiri.

While the Tajiri family was interned in the US, Shinkichi joined the 442nd Infantry Regiment to fight the Nazis in France, Italy and Germany. After the liberation, Shinkichi didn't want to have anything to do with the country that had betrayed his relatives and friends so badly. He returned to France to study with Zadkine in Paris. There he met Dutch soft sculpture artist Ferdi. He relocated with her to the Netherlands. They made their home and raised their two daughters Giotta and Ryu in the southern province of Limburg.

Thanks to Giotta I first learned about the ambiguity presented by "Japanese camps".

Over time, I learned it's important to not just go by the heading, but to take in the whole story. If you learned one thing, there still may be another point of view that's equally important and equally true.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License