Friday, January 8, 2010

Reflections on a life saved

Reflections were everywhere at Ticho House, just waiting to become part of James' (Newtown Area Photo) meme, "Weekend Reflections."

A Ministry of Tourism website begins to describe Ticho House like this:
" Long before anyone ever thought of rebranding Jerusalem, the archetype for its user-friendly, family-atmosphere cultural image existed in the home of an ophthalmologist and his [artist] cousin/wife from Austro-Hungary -- a building purchased from a 19th century Arab dignitary."
But in addition to being a gallery for the late Anna Ticho's artwork, the place has an exclusive cafe/restaurant called Little Jerusalem.
A friend visiting from Europe invited a few of us to celebrate her 80th birthday there.
See us reflected in the flower pot?

I had Saint Peter's fish from the Sea of Galilee.

"Here's lookin' at ya!"
But seriously, I want to tell you about the amazing lady in the white shirt who is over a decade older than the birthday girl.
When she told her story I got shivers up my spine. She was delivered from death by a miracle I had only just read about in history books.
Quoting from the synopsis of the film "Transport 222":
"In June 1944 a hundred and twenty Dutch Jews were released from Bergen-Belsen and transported by train across war-shattered Europe, arriving ten days later at Atlit, in Palestine. Years later these Jews learned that they had been part of a deal in which the Nazis traded Dutch Jews for German Templars detained in Palestine by the British as enemy aliens.
Transport 222 retraces the incredible journey of two groups of people: Germans returning to a collapsing Third Reich, and Jews making their way to what would eventually become the State of Israel."
(Templers were a sect of German Christians who came to Eretz Israel in the 1860s and established colonies, including the beautiful German Colony in Jerusalem.)
The "emaciated and bedraggled" Jews rode in the trains for ten days, all the way from Germany to Israel.
I remember standing on the railroad tracks decades ago at Rosh Hanikra, at the border with Lebanon, looking sadly at the bricked-up tunnel. Tracks leading to a brick wall. So symbolic of "the situation."
I had wondered what people had ridden the train when things were still open. . .
At the birthday party I found out.
That lady is one strong woman!


Nadege said...

Amazing, beautiful story!

gracia said...

Wow! I picked you coz I love jerusalem.. The place of Jesus. It's my dream to visit the place someday.. are you a jew?

Dina said...

Nadege, yes indeed. I was fortunate to hear the story from a living witness.

Gracia, you are right to love Jerusalem. So do I! I hope you can come and experience Israel someday.
Yes, I am a Jew. But I try to blog about all the peoples who live in Jerusalem.

Louis la Vache said...

Dina, «Louis» is always amazed at what he finds at your wonderful blog. Reading about the woman who survived the Nazis brought tears to his eyes.

Anonymous said...

INCREDIBLE! First time reading this story.

Serendipity said...

What an amazing story (I like the pictures too, but the story is so poignant).

Thérèse said...

That's why it's so important to be able to listen to all witnesses and read and hear their stories.
Nice reflections.

Anonymous said...

A very moving story and a wonderful photo story as well. I like the second reflection photo best of all.

Chuck Pefley said...

Dina, thank you for sharing this story. I'm so glad you were able to hear her story from her own lips. How wonderful and powerful that must have been for all of you gathered together. God bless you all!

Leif Hagen said...

That's an incredible dinner to bring the 1944 Jews' story to life! Someone should have had a movie camera rolling when she was talking!

Dimple said...

I am always moved by stories of people overcoming the odds. I agree, she is one strong woman. The bricked up tunnel is plain sad, and a true comment on the usual way things happen.
Shalom, Dina!

Kay said...

You, Dina are the most beautiful Jewish person I know, inside and out. I mean that sincerely. If everybody treated people like you do, this world would be at Peace.

Gena @ thinking aloud said...

Clever reflection capture!

Hilda said...

And I just had shivers up my spine too. And that's just from reading your second-hand account.

That fish really looks good, btw!

Happy weekend, Dina!

Yaelian said...

What a touching story,Dina! And that fish looks so tempting!

RuneE said...

The reflection in the Grand piano was a beauty. The reflections on the story of you friend and the railway tracks leading to the wall was thought provoking.

Sylvia Bolm said...

Good morning,Dina,
this is a very interesting story, which you have heard directly from a living strong woman and I would tell you once more how interesting the contents of your blog is including the photos.Maybe it is a lot of work to put photos and storys into a blog every day, so I have to say: Thank you and do it, do it, do it.......Sylvia from Germany

VP said...

Beautiful images, but obviously the most important part it's the story. I can't find much more about the movie: I followed your link but there is no trace of the title in the IMDB filmography of the director. Any help?

cieldequimper said...

Dina, your blog is simply marvellous! Your posts are so great!

Dina said...

Dear friends, thank you all for sharing your own reflections on this subject.

Sylvia, yes, sometimes it is a lot of work, when I have to research my topic. But in a way it is "holy work," and I love passing on knowledge and picture opportunities that have been granted to me.
Sylvia, in Germany do people know about the Tempelgesellschaft Templers who came to Israel to build communities and prepare for the coming messiah?

VP, I searched some more now. All I can find is that "Transport 222" is a 30-minute video and the vendor is
Israel Video
Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza
47 King George Street
Next time I am downtown I'll stop in and ask.

Anonymous said...

I like the looks of all these photos. It is a reminder, of sorts, that each part of the world is different and probably unique.

I used to reflect on what I would be doing if I lived in the Congo, along some murky river? I would get up, never read a newspaper or watch television and would not sup on coffee and crackers. I wonder what that guy in the Congo thinks about how I live?

Woody said...

Perfect alignment on the piano shot!

Suzanne said...

Thank you Dina for such beautiful reflections, especially the one of your friends.

Sylvia Bolm said...

Hallo Dina,many thanks for your answer. You are right, it is a kind of holy work you do.
Although I am busy with religous themes, I didn`t know about the Templers. I only knew that they are a religous group. Here in Germany they are not very known. On the other hand, many German people are very interesting in that, what in Israel happens in politics and so on. It is always a theme in the news. Warm greetings to you - Sylvia

mbkatc230 said...

Beautiful reflection shots, I think my favorite is the "still life with friends in a flower pot"! But I love the story even more. It's so important to record these accounts so that these stories are never forgotten. Wonderful post. Kathy

James said...

Great post Dina! A really amazing story, delicious looking food and cool reflections. I love it. :)

toby said...

That is an incredible story. Wow!

Petrea said...

Dina, you know I'm constantly in awe of the stories you have to tell. This one reminds me of the end of Spielberg's "Schindler's List." Have you seen it? Seeing those people coming across the rise at the end--those real people--made my heart jump.

Robin said...

What an incredible story. It's one of the things that amazes me most about living in Israel - how it's possible to meet people who've lived through events most of us only read about in history books. I remember years ago taking my parents to visit the battle memorial at Yad Mordechai. My mother was absolutely stunned to realize that the old men in the concession booth were those same young men she'd just learned about.

JM said...

My favourite reflection is on the piano(?).
Amazing story I've never heard of! Thank you for sharing, Dina!

Eki said...

I like the photo of the reflection on that piano. And the fish looks delicious. Will try to find the film and watch it. It sounds like an interesting film.

Regina said...

Beautiful reflections!