The Benches

The Benches, front of Jewish Cemetery, Stiphausen, Germany

A few years ago, appre­hending the old ceme­tery — and standing in front of the ceme­tery gate, I thought that i really wanted a place to sit down, to rest and to think: to absorb all that this place meant to me: my memo­ries, emotions and history. Imagine — there are Jews living here — a commu­nity, and now no more. Maybe they looked out from this very spot, as I was doing, at the rolling green fields and the soft and so still brown and white cows.

I love Stipshausen. I have very good friends here and have returned many times. The chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of those who are buried here in this ceme­tery, were a commu­nity that has vanished, will­ingly or unwill­ingly. I could not help but involve this thought in contributing to this project of this village and to remember. So when I was asked to do a sculp­ture for the garden in front of the ceme­tery, I knew that i wanted to create the benches instead, to invite a place to welcome our thoughts and welcome reveries and memories.

The progeny of those buried here are long gone. Our history — inter­na­tional, regional, personal — is perhaps to compli­cated to mention here, but the phys­ical, familial and spir­i­tual: needed recog­ni­tion, for these are souls here, and this fact invites all our reflec­tions. The focus of this commu­nity project in Stipshausen, for me, is for remem­brance — to remember it all, our history, for all of us, for it will, as well, educate future generations.

The benches are constructed of iron, wood and brass (chosen for their aesthetic, compo­si­tional and the construc­tion’s integrity.)

Dedicated October 22nd, 2006.[/column]

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