December 21, would have been my father's birthday.
He died on September 29th,1967.
I was 17 years old.
My destiny turned out to be an incredible path of challenges.
Since I was a little girl,I watched,my two parents,.
They were all the family I had .
I always had dreams that one day,besides my art,I would have a family.
I struggled through life, I achieved success at an early age,on my own, while taking care of my mother,as she would be my child.
Both after losing all,their families,their country,their social status,never lost their joie de vivre.
Both,imbued in me the sense of having moral fortitude and love for life and beauty.
Moreover,never to have anger. but to be always alert against injustice,
to own myself and speak out for human rights.
I stand by these beliefs and through my art,I try to bring a smile on someone's face and soul.
After all,to achieve inner peace,is to be able to see what life is about.
My mother,a descendant of the rabbinical dynasty of Akiva Eger,always reminded me of
his teachings and sense of humor.
To carry love in my heart,passion and a strong sense of humanity.
My parents witnessed how evil Man or Woman can be.
Life is not about possessions, not about competition,but to be humble and thoughtful about other people's feelings.
A sense of consciousness.
I was able to tape my mother's words ,years ago,when I began to write about her.
She was so beautiful in her old age,that I never even realized her real age.
One day Jane Lahr interviewed my mother.
She asked her how was her life before Auschwitz.
My mother ,Salomea Fleischer Lauer ,was a wealthy woman,from a well to do home,. She belonged to WIZO,devoted herself to help others who were in need,besides attending Asian studies at Jagiellonski University in Krakow.
She was married to Josef Lauer,a lawyer,who was murdered by the Nazi.
And all her family as well,her father one of the first to be shot by the Nazi,her mother Ita Seltzer, killed in Treblinka ,her brothers,and all her cousins,safe one. A family of more than ninety members all turned into ashes.
The same happened to my father's family.A prominent family,involved in Poland's social and industrial life.
Watching the pervading violence throughout the world,is a consequence , paraphrasing Balthus
the artist, who once said that Hitler opened the pandora box.
In 2004 when I visited Poland, met Teresa Swiebocka,the writer and Auschwitz curator
,we talked about Consciousness.
She gave me a few books, one of them remarkable, KL AUSCHWITZ SEEN BY THE SS.,the authors Rudolf Hoss,Pery Broad ,Johann Paul Kremer.
The sheer indifference for Life.
The greed and cruelty.
The song Louis Armstrong singing : What a Beautiful World...
I see trees of green......resonates so well.
Here I stand alone.
The family I thought I had,turned their backs on me.
My husband,a caterer, a party planner, who I helped and devoted myself for years refused and refuses to provide me roof and food.
The man I devoted myself to, for 25 years, our children,influenced by his sister, ,who for years tormented me and tried to separate us she tried to murder my second son,poisoned our lives,achieved her goal.
How could I envisage such a scenario?
One of my husband's cousins years ago, invited us to a play,a story ,maybe by Neil Simon,I cannot remember ,where a Jewish American family ,during the IIWW, was discussing how they did not want their cousins in Europe to come to America,as they would become a burden.
And when that was happening on stage,my husband's cousin turns and looks at me?
I came to the US to work as apolitical cartoonist for the NYTimes OPED,with a green card.
Yes,I suffered a setback,where my career was paralized because I did not play the game.
That was in 1976.
The commonplace and image that Americans have about the world,is that beyond the shores,the rest is bellow the American standards.
So here I arrived to work, an internationally recognized,a legitimate artist, only to fall into a place where ethical standards where absolutely corrupted,rampant drugs and rock and roll.
For many years,having my mother as my dependent,I worked on odd jobs,while freelancing. designing,illustrating for publishing, posters, ads, creating animation for PBS, showing in group shows and never losing my faith that someday,somehow I will prevail.
My art is getting back on its feet
My dream of having a family together,which I cherished so much,was torn away from me.
To justify my integrity,I am called crazy.
No,I am not crazy.
I never was.
Just a dreamer.
And YES,very intense.
So,Vive la Difference!
As a wonderful friend of mine in Brazil would say, rubbing his hands on his elbow: FARINHA.......(flour dust)
When I achieved success in Brazil,through my drawings for O REBU, I was then tagged as crazy too, because I dared to challenge the TV Globo,to pay me,which they denied on the basis that being a woman, I had no rights and I ruffled the macho gang reigning at the time.
At another case,where the owner of an ad agency for whom I did a number of ad campaigns,my concept and drawings,when we discussed my payment,he got red as a tomato and yelled at me: You earn more moneys with one drawing than a prostituye at La Licorne! a trendy whorehouse in Sao Paulo,ha.
I was 24 years old.
That was in 1974 and 1975.
Now 35 years later TV Globo is airing my artwork,without contacting me to follow through what I am owed.
So being an independent and honest individual,one is faced with challenges that only evil can explain.
My art is my passion,runs in my veins along with my blood.
My intensity which comes from my heart,,as I am called by some" too shiny" is considered "overpowering".
My sons taught by their father ,that they should disrespect me ,because I do not produce money to his satisfaction.
I married for love.
I wanted a family ,because I wanted to share my life,have a companion,dream a dream together.
I was creating a home, and that was trashed.
My children became hostages of outside problems .
I am in great pain.
The man I love,the sons I brought to this world,nourished them,gave all of me ,now become my enemies.
Hostile to me,as my views were discredited as they were told that I was not their mother,meaning that the cleaning lady was who brought them up?
To hear my sons like parrots talk to me as I am worthless,because I have not made money in the last years,ignoring the fact that I was there for them full time,guiding them to be strong and face life with the same strength that my parents passed onto me.
My art,my raison d"etre,I put aside to stand by my family.
So now I am discarded and left homeless.
My father's spirit and my mother's spirit will guide me through this challenge.
I know I am not alone.
I believe in my heart,my feelings will prevail,and open all the doors I try to open.
As Confucius says: No Man Should Be An Instrument.
My mother would always remind me: See the cheese not the holes.
My dear Daddy,
I know you are with me.
You died,holding my hand and worried about my future.
Fate has given me a lot of sorrow .
I see forever you bringing me pieces of different materials,producing for me acrylic paints,copper wires to create my mixed media.
As much as my mother wanted me to be a concert pianist,you saw in me as an artist and dreamed that I will become known for my art and spiritual strength.
That I should never succumb or have fear.
That I should have morals and stand up for my rights, carry his and my mother's way of being.
To lead and not be lead.
Thank you Daddy.
I am facing the hurdles and finding support,despite my frightening passages.
The price is high.
The sun will shine again for me.
I promised you not to worry.
My dear Daddy I miss you and Ma so much.
Look over me.