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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