Beauty for Ashes
Artists from around the world give their works to survivors of the Holocaust
A unique and heart-warming project is currently taking place across Israel, initiated by Helping Hand Coalition Israel. The association recruited volunteer artists from around the world who came to Israel and brought with them some of their works, which they gave during exhibitions held around the country to survivors of the Holocaust living in Israel. The Beauty for Ashes project was started by Bjorn Leng, a self-employed artist who joined a group of artists from around the world who are painting paintings for Holocaust survivors. The artists, Bjorn reveals, a believing person, prayed before they started painting and some believe God can speak to them through art. A number of exhibitions attended by hundreds of survivors of the Holocaust and artists took place from June 23 until today throughout the country (including in Jerusalem, Katzrin, Maalot, Carmiel, Caesarea, Tel Aviv and more). The exhibitions regularly feature about eight artists from Israel and around the world and survivors of the Holocaust from the area invited as guests of honor for the events. All pictures and artwork were given as a gift to the survivors at the end of the exhibition as a token of appreciation from the artists. Dr.Andre Gasiorowski, chairman of Helping Hand Coalition Israel – an organization that helps tens of thousands of survivors of the Holocaust in Israel – emphasized that the goal of the project, like other nonprofit activities, is to remember and assist survivors of the Holocaust in every way, including through art. The artists, needless to say, were very excited about meeting survivors and the ability to help and make them happy.
For example, one of the survivors who participated in the exhibition told nationalist Claudia that she fell in love with her painting which was finally given to her because the painting was of a little boy sitting in the woods reading a book and bright light from the pages, illuminating the child’s face. With tears in her eyes, the survivor told Claudia that the painting reminded her of her little brother who died during the war. “The child in your painting is very similar to my brother. Your painting in my home is to me as if I were bringing my brother home. Claudia said she was proud and happy to give the painting. It was as if the survivor was getting a memory, enlightenment or a little piece of her brother back, after all these years.”
Another survivor fell in love with a painting of her hands that reminded her that while she was in the ghetto when she was a child, she used to pray with her hands as she did. All the works brought to Israel by the artists were given to them during the exhibitions and especially to survivors of the Holocaust who fell in love with the works at first sight.
Written by: Yitzhak Rabiah