As many of you know, I spent 9 years researching and writing the book INTO THE LIGHT: The Healing Art of Kalman Aron, a story of courage, hope and transformation. Born an artist in Riga, Latvia, Aron was caught in the Holocaust for 4 years and immigrated to America in 1949. I met him at age six when he painted my portrait. Fifty years later, he asked me to write his story.
In 2004 I went to Latvia to see the places of his childhood in Riga, the ghetto and camps where he was imprisoned. I also went to the Rumbula forest outside of Riga where 25,000 Jews were killed over two days within 5 months of the Germans entering Latvia in 1941. I had a stone placed in honor of Aron’s parents. Last November, I was asked to present Aron’s story at an international conference in Riga. I took time to return to the Rumbula forest to see the memorial to those lost. I share this film with you.
What happened at Rumbula was unimaginable…beyond words. Aron lost his mother there, but he survived, and over six decades of painting, Aron worked out the evil he experienced on canvas and turned it into truth and beauty. More intimately, his paintings in the book reveal his remarkable journey of personal alchemy as he overcame evil and reclaimed his light. His life is a testament to the power of the human spirit to heal. On this Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), let us remember those who were lost, celebrate those who survived and commit to living in peace with ourselves and each other. Blessings to all.
© Susan Beilby Magee, 2015. All Rights Reserved.