In my youth I liked the company of older individuals. I listen a lot and respected their life’s load and experience. One neighbour was a Jew who survived the Nazi camp that had only a few survivors, Tremblinka, or something like that.
He used to tell me, not really stories, but reality, yet he had a way of getting my attention, and I listen and grew.
Much, much later I have portrayed it in allegorical expression in my Multiple/ Multilateral sculpture (never exhibited and still in a raw casting in plaster), titled simply, “The Story Teller”. Nothing spectacular, just ‘Ars est celare artem’. One day he was telling me about a smart and at the same time stupid man from the camp (the “duoset”). This man was outliving the many Jews who were falling like flies every day. The ‘capos’ were to find out (to please the nobility, the Nazis), and for an extra serving of their daily ration, they were busy searching until one noticed that the man would take the crust from his bread and would be sucking on it during their laborious misfortune. The secret was out, and ‘the nobility’ had his crust removed from his small portion of daily bread, and shortly the man joined the pile of his dead co-prisoners. It was very sad story, but for me and my unsatisfied curiosity, very educational.
And as we were living in peacetime, I asked him: “How did you survive? “. The neighbour explained, “I was brought up in a poor village and my mom taught me to recognize wild plants; one plant we call ‘God’s bread’ – that is how I survived!”
And I too have learned how to survive without or within any -isms or tricks, just a little knowledge.