On May 15th 1948 Shoshanna Maze, Polish by birth, entered an unknown country completely alone. It was the first day of the new State of Israel, which from this moment onward would be her new home. She does not speak of the years she and her family spent living in a tiny cramped space, hiding. All the more vividly she remembers her childhood in a happy family, birch trees and lilies of the valley.
»The Difference between Anne Frank and me:
She had a good place, we lived underground a place not bigger than this table we were but Anne died and I am still alive.«
born 1932 in Poland, now resides in Jerusalem
Shoshanna Maze is a proud woman. With her head held high she stands in front of our camera in her living room, as if she wanted to say: >>I won’t let it bring me down.<< A moment later she grimaces and makes us laugh, invites us to do a little dance. She persuades us to stay for dinner. However, there are the bits in between. Moments in which she glances out the window wearily. There are pauses in the conversation because she cannot continue telling.
Shoshanna has found a new home in Israel. It is the county, her art , and above all, her family that she talks about when being asked about her >>life after<< . Her living room is a large gallery displaying all her artwork. In sculpting, her biggest passion, she has found a way to deal with the images in her head. She processes in her very own way.
She prefers not to speak of the time during the Shoah, she has put it behind her. We recognize a small glance in her face, the pain of remembering. She lives in the present. And she lives with joy. When one of her daughters comes to visit, she proudly talks about her grandchildren and their lives, as a grandmother does.
Towards the end of our visit we sit in the kitchen comfortably and Shoshanna inquires about our lives in Germany: What are our interests? What are we doing with our lives? The issues that drive us are almost similar to the ones drive the youth in Israel. With the difference that life in Israel is still characterized by a political uncertainty. Shoshanna is weary of it.
She has only visited Germany once, but she does not want to go back. Her home is Israel. It is here she finds calmness, and is able to sleep at night.
We met her grandson Daniel at the big market in Tel Aviv. He is our age, loves Israel and spoke of his grandmother with so much warmth that we photographed him as a part of this portrait.
There are bright sides, as well as dark ones. This is what we have learned during our first encounter. But most importantly: Shoshanna Maze is alive.