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  • Writer's pictureAllon

012~ Subtle differences in the sculptures tell more than meets the eye...(Part 2)

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Continuing the thoughts regarding the differences between the two sculptures that I began last week, I wish to continue.


According to the book 'The Seventh Million' by Tom Segev, the entire Holocaust ritual has undergone changes over the years, becoming more influenced by Jewish religious motives. For example, the Day of Remembrance, which used to be commemorated during the day in the early days of the young state, gradually acquired various Jewish flavors. Israelis would wake up in the morning to the sound of a memorial siren, participate in different ceremonies throughout the day, and by nightfall, it would conclude. However, as the Jewish emphasis began to take hold, the memorial day started on the evening before, similar to how Saturdays begin on Friday evenings and how any day begins the evening prior (as our calendar is moon-based, etc.). In the same vein, every Jewish commemorated day follows this pattern, including Holocaust Memorial Day, which also begins the evening before.


So, even though the artist Natan Rapoport wanted to pay implied homage to Marianne, the brave woman leading the revolution against tyranny, once the funds became available to recreate the sculpture in Israel (also known as the Holy Land), the sculpture needed to be "tweaked" as well. The classic homages had to be converted, adapting it to the Jewish-conservative crowd.



Marianne detail- Delacroix

the Lady in the original memorial sculpture, Warsaw



The pious Lady in the sculpture "replica" , Yad Vashem, Jerusalem


It's 'funny' in a way that exposed bosom is what some sectorial Jews find offensive, rather than the fact that millions were persecuted for their heritage and beliefs. "funny" may not be the right word, but it's the first one that comes to mind.


The second observation I made, though I'm not entirely certain, is that the characters in Poland appear slimmer, resembling what one might expect an exiled Jew to look like, unlike the Israeli Jews who seem more "puffed up" in comparison—some of them almost resembling Hollywood stars.


When you add to that the "cleanliness" of the sculpture in Yad Vashem as opposed to the interactivity that passersby can experience in Warsaw, you get a completely different approach to dealing with the memory. In fact, it sadly suggests that while visitors in Warsaw are actively engaging with the memory, approaching it, and interacting with it, Israel seems to be avoiding dealing with the memory by keeping it framed, untouched, and unattainable. It almost seems like Israel is leveraging the memory for other purposes, perhaps?


This notion leads me to an insight that I will illustrate in my next post, next week, to conclude this trilogy.

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