A decade ago, I first saw the photograph commonly referred to as “The Last Jew in Vinnitsa.” It rekindled my interest in things Jewish that was first fired when I was a young boy. My father’s best friend, Louie Green was a Jew and we shared Passover with his family, and they, Easter dinner with ours on those few occasions when we weren’t with Babcie, Auntie and Aunt Sadie.
Within months after first staring into the eyes of the would-be ‘last Jew,’ I learned about Witold Pilecki, the Pole who volunteered to infiltrate Auschwitz, and his report led me to Bronisław Czech. Three years later, I published The Hamsa in 2010.
Early in 2017, I found myself staring into that unnamed man’s eyes once again, and I remembered something I read by Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel.
“To forget means to deny the relevance of the past.”
Inspired by Elie Wiesel’s words, in February, I initiated a new manuscript I’ve titled Tree Rings. I explain it this way …
“Life lives in images. In photographs, finger paintings, watercolors, petroglyphs, oils, and charcoals …. Pictures embrace memory like tree rings, memories held not as captives but as free spirits willing to reveal their secrets to those who care to examine them, to relive them, the good and the bad.”
Tree Rings is a series of essays inspired by images.
As I complete chapter eight, I’ve decided NOT to publish the manuscript as a book. I’ve decided to present it on this website as a series of monthly essays. Beginning in May 2017, I will post one chapter of Tree Rings every month as a downloadable PDF so that you can read it on your tablet, computer, smartphone, etc. whenever the muse moves you.
Thanks for your continuing support. I hope you will enjoy this series of essays. The eight chapters I’ve completed range from 750 words to 2,500 words and each is accompanied by the image that inspired it.