GIRL WITH THE GOLD COINS
She was waiting for me at the entrance to the gallery. "Thank-you for validating my life", she said. "Are you Second Generation?" I asked. "No," she replied, "But I did not know that my father was Jewish until I was an adolescent" .... and then she proceeded to tell me her story.
Her father was an American, born In Prague. He became a career diplomat. In the late '30's, people began to approach him, begging his assistance to help them leave the country. He could do nothing. However, he agreed to take their money and keep it for them until after the war. He drained the oil pan in his car and hid all the gold coins that had been entrusted to him, then replaced the oil. That was where they stayed for the duration of the war. After the war, he went searching for all those who had given him their gold coins. They were all dead.
When he died, his daughter inherited the gold coins. "People have suggested that I melt down the gold," she told me. "But I can't. The souls of all those people are in those coins." "You know, you ARE Second Generation," I told her. At first she denied it. But after I had returned to Austin, I received a letter from her. " I feel like an abandoned child who has finally found refuge," she wrote.
As I had experienced so often in the past - after speaking with children of Survivors, I could not get her story out of my head. So, I did the painting - 'girl with gold coins'.
Our brief conversation on that blustery cold night in Alma, Michigan has grown into a friendship of mutual respect, admiration and love. This elegant, charming woman bears the burden of her generation - the Second Generation. Her eyes tell you that she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders.
This woman with a heart of gold and the spirit to match, has contributed as much to my healing as I have to hers.
carolyn h. manosevitz
Snowmass Village, Colorado
20 July, 1999
h. manosevitz studio
p.o. box 3705 basalt, co.81621