A Girl from There – Now available online

Saturday, April 10, 2010 · 4 comments

I am told she is coming back from Germany today.
A woman who is my mother.
It’s already dark, and she isn’t here yet.
I’ve been in bed for ages. I’m facing the wall.
I hear a knock and the squeak of the door opening.
I’m still facing the wall. I don’t turn round, I pretend to be asleep.
Everyone is talking excitedly. Aunt, uncle and the woman who came.
They think I’m asleep and they don’t wake me up.
A little while later someone comes into my bed.
Not really close, but next to me.
I know it’s her.
I don’t turn towards her.
I don’t see her.
My face is turned towards the white wall.
I shut my eyes. I listen:
She breathes.
I breathe.
So it goes on, all night long.
“Mother-Woman Returns” by Hava Nissimov, from A Girl from There
Translated by Linda Stern

Since this book was not available in bookstores for the last two years, I am glad to let you know that a limited amount of copies is available for purchase online through my website: http://www.ofra-amit.com/, under the “illustrations” category (you have to click the icon that refers to this work).
The book was designed by studio 0304 and contains 112 pages which are partly illustrated. It is in Hebrew language, but there is a separate English translation attached as an option.
Whenever I think or read about the Holocaust, I cannot understand how it is possible that in Israel there is no tolerance to minority groups and there is such a violation of human rights on a daily basis. Maybe it is naive to wonder about it, but this is a very bothering question.
I have met Hava Nissimov about 3 years ago. We sat in a small coffee shop in Tel Aviv, while Hava was telling me about her own personal project – arranging her thoughts and memories as a Holocaust child, into an illustrated book. Since she was a very small child in WW2, there were many details missing, especially visual details.
There began a long, deep process of penetrating Hava’s mind, to create the book “A Girl from There” – a life story revealed gradually by memories, thoughts and dreams. Working on it wasn’t easy for me, and not only because I had to be intensely exposed to Holocaust documentary, but also because I felt I was somehow a trespasser into a very personal territory of a woman who’s been through things I could never really grasp. Hava was very open and was always encouraging me to go on. Later on,&nbsp
;she said that the illustrations became so inherent in her mind, that the images and memories are now inseparable. This made me feeI like I was somehow designing, or redesigning, her visual memory. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know this wonderful woman.

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