Wednesday, January 20, 2016


1/18,2016, 4:30pm sky!!!
So, I've been a bit quiet. January, 2016. Let's see, there is Iran, freed hostages, Syria, starvation, retiring elephants from Barnum and Bailey, a massacre just this morning at a university in Pakistan, The Oscars or not, a blizzard getting ready to pummel the East Coast, 5 planets aligning which we can see, lead riddled water in Michigan, Trump and now Palin, a mother of 6 stabbed to death in Israel, did I say Trump? I skim the surface. I am trying to pay attention, but I got a 2 day migraine and missed Pit Bulls and Parolees on Saturday. Wow, good thing they repeat the show from the week before. Winter, although the days are markedly longer, has settled in. The skies have been inspired, jaw dropping, majestic, gifted. How do I tie all this together? 

I return to my visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, in my head. Our docent extraordinaire, Earl Simons, recommended, strongly suggested some reading material. 'Mila 18', by Leon Uris, and 'The Wall', by John Hersey. There were more, but 2 books was definitely enough. I picked them both up @ Barnes and Noble when I returned from my East Coast jaunt. I started with 'Mila 18'. Pool reading this past summer. Both books about the Warsaw Ghetto. I am not sure how I missed reading 'Mila 18' or 'The Wall', which I know I have packed away in a box, someplace. It was Mom's. I am a fast reader, but once I got going into 'Mila 18', I went from around 100 to 15, just about 1/3 of the way into the book. 

This is just an overview of the Warsaw Ghetto. On October 12, 1940, the Germans decreed the establishment of a ghetto in Warsaw. The decree required all Jewish residents of Warsaw to move into a designated area, which German authorities sealed off from the rest of the city in November 1940. The ghetto was enclosed by a wall that was over 10 feet high, topped with barbed wire, and closely guarded to prevent movement between the ghetto and the rest of Warsaw. The population of the ghetto, increased by Jews compelled to move in from nearby towns, was estimated to be over 400,000 Jews. German authorities forced ghetto residents to live in an area of 1.3 square miles, with an average of 7.2 persons per room.  Eventually, as the ghetto was reduced to rubble, a few courageous (understatement, remember the Maccabee Brothers, this was the very same DNA) individuals with few weapons and no outside help assume command of ghetto defense, formed a makeshift army and made a stand.  Later, this army led to the formation of the state of Israel. All this to say, that the individual stories, (and the yet and still, simply impossible to wrap one's head around the big picture), which were being told by Leon Uris in 'Mila 18', although fictitious, were so graphic and so horrifying, that It took me 3 months to get through the book. I kept on putting it down. But, finish it I did. Then I binged watched 'Call the Midwife' on Netflix. A helpful antidote.

Last night, I picked up 'The Wall', and just read the introduction. One of the things I learned @ the Holocaust Museum was that there were time capsules buried throughout the Ghetto. 'The Wall', like 'Mila 18', a book of fiction, based on truth, is about The Levinson Archives, a wonder of documentation. The story overview is: It was the summer after the war. There were 17 boxes and small parcels, wrapped in rags and old clothes. There was nothing left, I repeat nothing, of the Warsaw Ghetto, except the wall, and a small handful of survivors. Levinson made sure, through smuggling letters out of the Ghetto, having people memorize where everything was buried, down to the depth in meters and centimeters, how far out from corners of buildings which no longer existed, where the boxes could be found. Two days' digging brought up the whole treasure. Long after the archive had been found, other sets of directions were still drifting back to Warsaw from as far away as Shanghai. Levinson was a meticulous man, as was Hersey. We shall see how long this book takes me plow through. I remain, compelled.
Old milk container used as a time capsule in the Warsaw Ghetto. There were, 3, yet only 2 of them have been found!
The atmosphere today, the singling out of groups of people is all too reminiscent of the pre-Holocaust era. There is allot of fear and hatred being spewed from around the globe, and very much so in our own country. I am going to repeat myself, sort of. We are living in difficult days, as the world, planet Earth, feels at times like it is spinning off its axis. We all see it unfold before our eyes, everyday. I pray that those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, will keep precious oil in their lamps, and pray for those who do not, as we are into week 3 of 2016.

'Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.'
                                                             Psalms 119:105 


Heather said...

Gorgeous clouds...they are one of my favourite things to photograph!!! These are trying times Amy...
I hope you are doing well!

Amy Lilley Designs said...

I LOVE that pic as well...just amazing skies🌠🌠🌠 We are all well, thank goodness, as I pray you are the same...yes, these are very trying times indeed😥 TAKE GOOD CARE💖💖💖