Being the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors has meant that, despite my best intentions, those years loom over my writing. The stories I grew up with inform who I am, and how I see the world. Never forget was an injunction my grandparents took very seriously.

So I get inappropriately excited when other writers and artists take on this subject matter and shoot new light through it.

You can imagine my private thrill this morning as I read about French painter Linda Ellia in The New Yorker’s book blog. Hugely disturbed when her daughter turned up with a found copy of Mein Kampf, Ellia struggled for three months to find an appropriate, just response to this book. She eventually decided to leave her mark directly on the pages themselves, with poems, paintings, wire, a gold tooth. Then she encouraged her daughter to create her own response directly on a page. (Note: This act inspired her daughter, who had never before created art, to become an artist.) Next, Ellia reached out to her sons, other people, including Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, and then strangers she encountered in cafes and on the streets, inviting them to add themselves to the conversation. The result looks remarkable. I hope they publish it here.

(Artist: Philippe Marchand;  Photograph courtesy of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 2007.)

Ellia’s favorite page? The last, which features a picture of an angel, with the word aile (French for wing) written vertically. For her, it represents resilience and the opposite of passivity. Only afterward Ellia realized that aile is her last name spelled backwards.

See the artist talk about her process and the work itself here, and check out more images here.

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