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Topic: BOOKS ARE MAGIC! (lots of pictures)  (Read 15233 times)
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selkie
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« on: July 05, 2008 05:32:17 AM »

I was one of those kids who preferred to live in books...
Most of my childhood heroes were the heroines in my favorite books.



Although I'm sure I'll remember tons of other books that were influential, I've focused primarily on three...
Anne of Green Gables
Laura Ingalls Wilder
 & Raggedy Ann.

To balance the visionary/social justice/Utopian part of my Aquarian spirit, I devoured books about the Holocaust. There's no ready explanation for this, my family is not of Jewish descent (at least not that we know of - there is always a possibility...) I would bring home books with heart wrenching pictures from the camps and sit there for hours, sobbing. My mom kept asking me why I brought them home if they upset me so much. I didn't have an answer then and I still don't - the only thing that occurs to me is that perhaps I was looking for someone...

I decided to pay homage to books by altering a mid 1980's Encyclopedia Britannica. I've already used some of the set for a "book shelf" in my office - there are a lot of books in a complete set. So I grabbed one without checking to see which volume it was.


I started as you would with any altered book, ripping out pages...

I decided to use maps of the places where LM Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Johnny Gruelle were from/where there stories were about, for section dividers and headed to AAA with a LONG list.







Every storybook needs a once upon a time...








And then my project took a turn of its own.

I realized that I had grabbed the H volume and decided to look up Holocaust for that section of my book. I flipped through, found the 5 pages about Hitler, got to Hob and the next entry was Holocene Epoch. After flipping back and forth for quite some time and realizing that none of the pages were stuck together and I really hadn't missed it, it just wasn't there...
I decided - metaphorically speaking - to put the Holocaust back into the Encyclopedia - at least mine...

When my husband got home - I told him about it not being there, he looked at me and said "So you're putting it back in?" It was really more of a statement - he knows me quite well.









I wanted to show my frustration with Hitler, but I realized that taking him out would symbolically show forgetting him and that would be as dangerous as taking out and forgetting the Holocaust - It was difficult to leave it in, but I settled upon the duct tape as a way of saying NO MORE...





I also decided to put in a lot more than five pages - so I'm guessing this will be a work in progress for quite some time - there are a lot of pages in an encyclopedia.

Selkie
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2008 05:56:41 AM »

Wow, it is so great that you did this, I am of jewish decent and I always wondered about my history, you have just inspired me to find out more. The point about hitler having so many pages and the holocaust victims having non is very thoughtful, how could the encyclopedia people miss it out?
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nataluna
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2008 06:08:48 AM »

wow, duct-taping Hitler.  it's almost poetic.  if only guys like him could all be duct-taped...

ETA:  not sure about the numbers, but while we're in Never Forget - Never Again mode, don't forget the non-Jewish victims, too.  nowadays people tend to remember that the Holocaust also targeted Gays, but often Gypsies(Roma) are still forgotten and there were also many political and "social" targets.  And before the Holocaust, Hitler practiced his extermination techniques on Disabled people...

and, sadly, the whole "never again" is very unlikely, as this sort of thing keeps happening all over to different groups.  i'm part Jewish and probably part Roma, but we sure don't have a monopoly on genocide...  this is the worst thing to remember...
« Last Edit: July 05, 2008 06:14:14 AM by nataluna - Reason: never forget... » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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selkie
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2008 06:34:44 AM »

I had a really long conversation with a Rabbi at one point about the word Holocaust and his feelings about using the term - I don't necessarily agree with his thoughts, but they made me think long and hard and I'm no longer certain what I think... He told me that, for him, the word Holocaust should be used for the Jews because, for no personal reason whatsoever, the Jews, even those who were not practicing religious Jews, were targeted for ethnic genocide, babies, those who didn't even know they had Jewish grandparents because they had been practicing Christians for generations, etc...
Like I said, I can see his point, but it doesn't feel right for me...
It's not about political correctness for me, but I need to find a way to speak the truth as I understand it. Most of the Holocaust websites I found with my google search dealt primarily with the genocide of the Jews - that and I haven't come close to finishing the book - I've only got about 15 pages about the Holocaust at this point - and lots of room for more...

Thanks for the feedback - Selkie
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2008 06:47:02 AM »

hey, selkie, i didn't mean my comments as a criticism, but more in the spirit of remembering the forgotten. 
and plus, seeing as we both are connected to the Autistic community and Autistics were also targetted... for example, i've read that Hans Asperger was separating out the people that later got labeled with his name, trying to show they didn't need to be killed along with the other Autistics and other Disabled people... (*_*) ?!  those were some twisted times to be a scientist in...
... i donno, i hope my comments weren't out of place or too negative: if they were, i am sorry...
sometimes i do get too tangential.

and i also, in the hurry of writing, forgot to say that the concept of your project is among my favorites in this competition.  for the protest/memory aspect, the coincidence aspect of how you took the H volume unintentionally, and because i was/am one of those that lives in books...
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selkie
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2008 06:54:04 AM »

Nataluna - I didn't take it as a criticism - I tend to OVERTHINK things - A LOT - and the whole speaking truth thing gets me as well - I'm sure if I had been there - I would've been on their list for many reasons - politics, books I've read, hopefully helping those who were targeted, resistance... I aspire to live my highest ideals, but it's easy to say that when your life isn't on the line...

You have to try really hard to offend me - and these are my favorite kind of dialogues!!! (I was on the speech and debate team in high school - go figure)  Grin

No offense taken in any way shape or form!

Selkie
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Power is strength and the ability to see yourself through your own eyes and not through the eyes of another. It is being able to place a circle of power at your own feet and not take power from someone else's circle.

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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2008 07:19:07 AM »

ok, (^_^)
and i am another overthinker -  Grin
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oxynitrate
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2008 10:31:43 AM »

This is pretty awesome.  One of my favorite books when I was younger was "Number the Stars" by Louis Lowry. Have you ever read it?

Unfortunately/ fortunately, in high school I went to a holocaust symposium and heard tales from people that survived the holocaust, they were harrowing.  I say unfortunately because we then had to listen to these ridiculously rude "second and third generation survivors" tell us that we were all racist because we weren't Jewish, and we'll never understand what it was like.  Funny thing is, they will never understand either, they didn't live it, they didn't survive it, their parents did. Also, stating that a race of people is racist for not being of your race IS racist.  There are two things that really ticked me off about the symposium (besides being told again and again that I'm a horrible person), the first being that a "Second generation survivors" shushed the 80 something year old man who had actually survived something, (he told us stories of children having to burn people alive in the ovens when they didn't quite die from the gas, in some cases these were family members and even parents), screaming at him to speak up and reducing him to almost be n tears.   The other thing that ticked me off was the mentality they were trying to instill in us that the war only happened to the Jews.  As Nataluna brought up, it happened to others as well.  An exterior wall/living room in my grandma's home was destroyed by the bombing, they had been sitting in that room shortly before, it was only their neighbour saying the bombs were really close that day that saved their lives. (I would like to find and thank that family).  My dad's dad was a sniper in the war. The people that were appalled at the atrocities being committed to the Jews, Gypsies, Communists/Socialists, etc, were also killed.  The "second generation survivor" said that she couldn't talk to her dad's side of the family and was there anyone there that could say the same thing.  I raised my hand, she said that's right no one (which ticked off half my classmates).  It was sad how blind she had become by trying to cash in on such an awful tragedy. It seems that she isn't living in today, rather reveling in what happened.  I'm not saying we should forget the holocaust by any measure I'm just saying that we should love each other because of it and not place walls between us because someone is or isn't a Jew.  Incidentally, I would have been persecuted myself, as my great grandmother was Jewish (at least we're assuming so, her last name was Lazarus).   

Sorry about the rant. 
I really do like your book.  And this by no means is an attack at anyone on here, just a statement against that blindness that was displayed to me on that day.
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nataluna
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2008 03:13:57 PM »

ok something i didn't mention before, cos i was on another point, but right now i think it fits in the discussion...
i'm also part german. 
and i used to have like complexes about it, you know, did some distant relatives on one side kill or persecute some other distant relatives on the other side in the WWII??

... and i told this to my husband (he's colombian) and he said, "if you were a mestizo (mixed-race) south american, you wouldn't worry about this, because you wouldn't have to wonder.  you would KNOW that you were descended from the murderers and the murdered, from the rapists and their victims, from the colonizers and the colonized.  and that was the past, and you really can't do anything about it by worrying, so what matters is what you do now."  which was a really interesting way of looking at it.  it doesn't mean forget the past, but learn from it and do the right thing in the present.

maybe this is what those people, the ones that oxynitrate mentions, didn't understand.

ETA:  i was afraid to ask my German friend what her family believed during the Nazi-time.  but one day i finally asked her and it turns out that her mother's parents taught her not to believe the Nazi ideas.  and i was a bit relieved, because her mother is such a nice lady, very much a practicing catholic, and into protecting even animals as well as people.  so there was some quiet resistance going on, that i was not aware of, because you only ever hear of either the people who died for their resistance, or those who capitulated.  you don't usually hear of the ones who just stayed under the radar trying to survive, but not agreeing with what went on, either.  i suppose they were one other kind of victim of Hitler. 

ha... i will always think of him with duct-tape over him, from now on.
as Charlie Chaplin and Roberto Benigni showed, not taking dictators as seriously as they take themselves is also a great revenge.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2008 03:22:06 PM by nataluna » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2008 03:30:58 PM »

You made a wonderful, beautiful journal book.  Lovely!
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