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Preacher Boy

When we know better than GOD …

kneel

Sometimes, we in sobriety, think we know better than God, we call this “taking back our will!” I have been guilty of doing this on the odd occasion. But far fewer instances have happened as of late. And sometimes it takes my sponsor to point this out to me when I insinuate that I know better or that I am the center of the universe and that I am indispensable. That is a new one for me. But Jeremy hits the nail on the head with this writing.

Lifted from: Don’t Eat Trash

Jesus is sitting on the mountain crying out to God, he doesn’t really look forward to the cross, he’s not the biggest fan of pain or ridicule or, for that matter, injustice and just imagine that moment of clarity.

‘Actually father, I know a better way than you do. I’m just going to fly over to the Americas and chill out with the natives… and then make a new religion.. that’s better right?’

A ridiculous thought, but one that we replicate very often in our own lives. We live for God, we worship him, we serve him with our lives, but when that moment of needing to say yes to something we don’t really want to comes, we conveniently hear something else.

The classic one in my life is street evangelism. I’m not the most shy of people, but there have been moments in street evangelism when I hear quite clearly from God a thought, an idea, a person, a moment.

And i make excuse after excuse.

And in my mind they are very legitimate excuses. In those moments it makes sense for me not to do what I’ve been told, to come up with ‘better’ ideas than God. But it all boils down to, arrogant disobedience.

Another good one is big life decisions. When Abraham got called out of his home town, into a lot of new things, a lot of unknowns, he does so. But very easily when we are called away from our comfortable lives, or into lives we’ve even hoped for but don’t feel we deserve, we look up at God as if to say

‘Nope, I got this buddy, I know better, I’m going to get that full time job, get into debt, marry the wrong people, get distracted from the ministries you’ve called me into and then live a slightly dissatisfied life.’

This isn’t to say that God can’t use us in that life. This is also not to say necessarily that God only has one perfect will for you. (or does he?) This is about those moments when we – humans, saved, created, unimmortals – tell GOD – saviour, creator, immortal – that WE know better. That WE somehow know more than him, can see more than him…

Like a baby looking up at its parent at 2 months old and speaking perfect English to say

‘I got this Dad, I’ll change my own nappy’

Its ridiculous.

You know what is not ridiculous?? – Doing what God wants. Listening to him. Understanding and trusting his love.

The old testament is filled with moments of God speaking, the Israelites not listening and the consequences of said militant deafness being not great.

What do you know, that God does not?


Eden Citizenship … Belong – Believe – Behave …

Do you believe in Love

Somewhere in my minds eye, I wrote about this topic, once. And a friend I read today, wrote about it just a few days ago. So I am offering it up to you to read.

Where we come from, our community of friends, People come from the world tarnished, wrecked and used up. And they come. And we welcome them. As they say, you belong as soon as YOU say you do. Over time, folks learn the ropes and they learn about behavior, how they acted, how they reacted, and how others treated them in the past. Steps will do that to you, you see…

I am not one to push “The Work” on anyone too soon. Gotta let them sink into their seats, as I have said before, get used to it and learn to love it. Because one day you never know (from your seat) you may change a life in ways you may not even imagine possible.

Then we work on Steps … We Come, We Come to,

And finally We Come to Believe.

From Day One, we hope for each other. We give people a place to come, to gather, to mend, and to learn how to live again. They themselves suss us out, as Jeremy writes to see if we are legit,

“Then, through the belonging and the beginning to believe, behaviour starts to change because priorities and value and understanding changes. We see this all the time.”

We see this all the time as well. We are a community of people who would not necessarily mix in the outside world. But once you cross that threshold, or doorway, or come down those stairs, we are unified in once main objective.

To rid ourselves of the addiction to Drugs, Alcohol, Pot, we are kind of a one stop source for all things recovery, because let’s face it, the percentages of cross addicted people is much much higher in the 21st century.

To Hell with the Primary Purpose bullshit …

I just remember this teaching as important. I may have written it before. Or maybe Jeremy here, has said it before and I lifted it for here. Anyways …

Read On: Lifted from: Don’t Eat Trash …

“How much closer can you belong somewhere then in family adoption?”

I want to broaden this a whole bunch more, to almost epic proportions. The people I work with have this awesome almost motto to how we do youth work. and it flies in the face of how most organizations seem to want to work.

In a lot of communities the expectation is on new members to behave, then believe, then they can belong. Like a rite of passage. If you can behave just like us, then you will learn how to think like us internally and then we will allow you to belong with us, we will give you the name badge.

In the youth work we do, we have taken the opposite approach. Our crew belong. They have a place with us. We love them and want all of our crew to be involved in everything we do. We then give them that belonging space to start riffing and engaging and experimenting with Jesus.

They suss out, to see if Jesus is legit. Then, through the belonging and the beginning to believe, behaviour starts to change because priorities and value and understanding changes. We see this all the time.

Crew have no other place that just lets them belong. So they love coming because it’s a special place where they can actually be who they are and still get to belong.

I was sitting and listening to this being explained to new students who have started working with us and it dawned on me

Belong believe behave is the gospel story

It echoes through history from the beginning of time till this moment i sit in a dinning room listening to Mumford and sons “that’s exactly how this grace thing works” (the exact line that was just sung)

God created us to belong with him in a pretty garden. (The aesthetics of which he created, and continues to create) The garden of belonging never left. The garden of belonging was never destroyed. But, as we know the story, Adam and Eve left the garden and the people of Israel decided to not belong to God as their king, they chose their own… Multiple times. The garden of Eden was forgotten about.

But God never forgot.

God never forgot that he had designed us to hang out with him intimately in a pretty place. He designed humanity to be clothed with him, unashamed, un-comparatively belonging. But, even more than that, before time he had already decided with his trinity brothers that Christ was going to come to earth and adopt us into their community.

As family.


Who told you that you were naked? (Part 3 of 3)

Lifted from: Jeremy (Don’tEatTrash)

As Gods amazingly loving voice called to Adam and Eve, who had decided that hiding was a good idea, he was commenting on more then just the physical coverings they had decided to don.

‘Who told you?’ Is a question that God continues to ask us.

Who told you that you are ugly, stupid, unworthy, broken?
Who told you that something is wrong with you?

And God follows that up throughout the entirety of humanities history with a firm

“BECAUSE I MADE YOU, and I THINK YOU ARE DELIGHTFUL”

Our reaction to God redeeming the truth in our heads should be ‘Oh yeah’ but usually we begin a lifelong argument.

‘But I am stupid – the teacher told me in fourth grade.’
‘But I am ugly, because i don’t have blonde hair and perfect abs’

and we rationalize it quite well. We’ve been very well trained in rationalizing our insane conclusions whilst God looks us right in the eye and asks ‘BUT WHO TOLD YOU?’

And we stammer and murmur and whinge and complain and shift the blame and compare ourselves over and over again.

And God waits.

He doesn’t take away our masks, he waits.

Because if we don’t listen to his much communicated delight of us, taking away our masks and our safety blankets will reveal the very thing we are hiding from and push us further and further into hiding.

God wants us to experience real freedom.
God wants us to be real with him and allow him to speak life and love and delight deep down into our souls.

Are you listening?

What parts are you trying to hide from God?


I want to be naked all the time. Eden. (Part 2 of 3)

Lifted from: Jeremy (Don’tEatTrash)

Adam and Eve were in the garden butt naked. Fully clothed in Gods holiness. Fully secure in who God said they were. Walking with the father. Entertained by the spirit. Conversing with Jesus. No insecurities. No comparisons. No jealousy. Just good old fashioned united and beautiful love and purity.

When you step back from the story a little, it makes absolutely no sense that the two humans believed the snake. The goodness of God should’ve been apparent enough to be truth and love rolled into one. But as child-like innocents, what reason did they have to be suspicious? What reason did they have to question anything in the garden.

They had never had their hearts broken – so had no reason to wonder if this was just another sleazy guy trying to get into their pants, leaving them violated. They had never been stolen from. They had never been insulted, never encountered a sarcastic comment followed by laughter, had never been lied to. So why would it start now? Yes they didn’t check with the God they knew and loved, but at that stage they didn’t have reason to either.

Fast forward a few millennia. Standing on a hill 11km from one of Australia’s largest ports and therefore – largest importer of prostitutes and illicit drugs and paraphernalia, I exist in amidst the story of humanity rife with disappointments. I am suspicious of everything, i ask why of every person, principle, commandment. I am cynical, I am a self appointed judge of quality. And I know exactly who the devil is. I know his ways and his means to get me to believe lies. And yet – in the midst of all my questioning i still find myself often, believing death, and following after it.

In a way i am in a much more informed position then Adam and Eve. I am not naked. I am defs very insecure and fearful. BUT, I live 2000 years after Christ came to earth to complete the adoption process that was started before the beginning of earths existence. I have read the story of Jesus many times. I have lived 27 years of Jesus fueled joy and love. I have conversed with God, and in many ways i have walked with him, as i have had the privilege of sharing the good news and have seen healing in the bodies and minds of the restless. I have created with God and experienced his forgiveness time after time. And yet i still hide behind clothes of comparative thought from an un-renewed mind.

What stops me from ripping off my clothes and walking around completely naked, so that everyone can see who I really am. So that i see who I really am. So that God can get at me more through a repentant and humble heart?

We live in the garden of Eden. Christ saw to that when he crucified all of humanity on the cross and commanded us to pull heaven down to earth. And the only thing stopping us from coming out from hiding and taking off our clothes is our FAITH and TRUST in that.

If we all knew who God made us to be.
If we all trusted that God was who he says he is.
If we trusted that God made others to be them.
If we knew why we are here.
If we held to the truths of Gods power in us and through us.

We can live, fully, in the garden of Eden RIGHT NOW.

The gospel message of Jesus Christ isn’t an insurance policy of “just in case i die”.
It is not a message of an angry father that needed Christ to bleed so that God would stop hating us.
GOD NEVER HATED US. – Jesus changed US.
From being not adopted, to being adopted.
From being lost, to being found.
From being dead to being ALIVE in the family of God.
The gospel message is not one of fear, or domination, or judgement, or assimilation. For none of these things are GOOD NEWS.
The gospel message is one flooded with hospitable love and belonging.

Wake up.
See the garden around you.
And walk out of the bushes and into the life and light of our beautiful loving creator.

Its a nice place.


We Live in Eden … (Part 1 of 3)

Lifted from: Jeremy (DontEatTrash)

In a whole lot of communities new members are expected to behave, then believe, then they belong. Like a rite of passage. If you can behave just like us, then you will learn how to think like us internally and then we will allow you to belong with us, we will give you the name badge.

In the youth work we do, we have taken the opposite approach. Our crew belong. They have a place with us. We love them and want them to be involved in everything we do. We then give them that belonging space to start riffing and engaging and experimenting with Jesus. The suss out, to see if Jesus is legit. Then through the belonging and the beginning to believe, behaviour starts to change because priorities and value and understanding changes. We see this all the time. That crew have no other place that just lets them belong. So they love coming because its a special place where they can actually be who they are and still get to belong.

I was sitting and listening to this being explained to new students who have started working with us in working with youth. and it dawned on me more strongly then it has in a long time. Belong believe behave is the gospel story that echoes through history from the beginning of time till this moment i sit in a dinning room listening to Mumford and sons “that’s exactly how this grace thing works” (the exact line that was just sung)

God created us to belong with him in a pretty garden. (The aesthetics of which he created, and continues to create) The garden of belonging never left. The garden of belonging was never destroyed. But as we know the story, Adam and Eve left the garden and the people of Israel decided to not belong to God as their king, they chose their own… Multiple times. The garden of Eden was forgotten about. But God never forgot. God never forgot that he had designed us to hang out with him intimately in a pretty place. He designed us to be clothed with him, unashamed, un-comparatively belonging. But more then that, before time he had already come to the conclusion with his trinity brothers that Christ was going to come to earth and adopt us into their community.

As family.

How much closer can you belong somewhere then family adoption?

So amongst a billion other things – when Christ came to earth he returned us to the garden with God. Adopted not only into a family, a nation, a people, but also we returned to the paradise that God crafted with his own hands.

We see with his eyes, smell with his nose, feel with his hands, function with his power. We are offered clothing that rids us of shame and comparison. We are offered meadows of joyfully coloured flowers to dance and prance in abandoned to Gods love and delight.

When we enter the kingdom of God, this is what we are offered. Eden. Our seed is planted in the soil of perfection and watered by the holy spirit.

When Christ died he died for ALL. He took all of us onto the cross with him. Death has no power over us because death has no power. None at all. We walk in the garden with the father, intimately.

BUT, just like the garden of Eden – Adam and Eve chose to put on leaves to hide their bits. Adam and Eve chose to hide.

We hide. We cover our bits. We run from God. But we don’t have to. We live in the garden of Eden. When Satan tells us a half truth that God didn’t mean what he says, we can go back to God and say

“OI, BIG FELLA – that weird leathery brosef told us you lied to us. Did you?”

and every time, God will gain our trust more, until the snake can’t say anything. Until we feel fine running naked around the place, until we never compare again.

God is good. He created belonging and fights for it every day. When we cower and refuse to talk to God because of his wrath God is screaming of his love. He wants – no HE NEEDS us to know his love. Other wise he loses more of us.

Enjoy the garden.

Enjoy freedom.

Enjoy God.


Friday the 13th … Prayers and Thoughts before bed …

Courtesy: Terry’s Diary

Yes it’s Friday at this hour, on the 13th day of July. In 18 days (July 31st) I will be 45 years old. Remember that date, because it will be festive.

I’ve been mulling over in my mind some things to write about, I had a head full of things the other night, that I decided to sleep on, therefore when I got up the next morning, all those things were gone.

So I had to sit and collect some new things to write about free hand and just off the cuff. There are many little things that happened this week, they are all important on their own, but collectively they all come together as community.

Jeremy has been talking about church and families lately. Randall is out there in the field moving with the seasons and the heat. Susan has been in convention for the last nine days the house of bishops is hammering out new ideas and concepts for the Episcopal Community. News is being made there …

Stephan is working on saving a relationship taking it one day at a time. I’ve been keeping a very close eye on him and his goings on from half a world away, it has been tomorrow there for half a day now and it is just gone on Friday here.

I have been very mindful of my sober brothers and sisters this week. I want to know what the woman see in sobriety, and why they do what they do, because whatever it is that they have, I want it too.

I see them around town going from meeting to meeting and we all travel the same circuit during the week. It’s good I get to see my friends more than just once a week. We’ve been learning a great deal in our readings and studies this past week.

I also met some new friends in a meeting this past weekend. And when these friends come to visit – the room is filled with a sense of urgency and emotion. Every once in a while we get to minister to out of towner’s who bless us with their time and talent. And their words of kindness and words of need.

A very special man I know from out and about came to us on Sunday, and he has some time, and came with a heavy heart, there had been a tragedy in his life and all we could do was to listen to him share and offer our genuine care and love.

It doesn’t matter really who you are, once you cross the threshold and come down those stairs you are family. So I ask you all to pray for our friends who have need for them.

These are the hours that I steal from sleep to think on and to pray kind of out loud here on the page. Every post means something in one way or another. I don’t post “just for the fun of it.”

Can you believe that we are halfway through 2012, and halfway through the summer? I heard earlier today that I should really read the Farmers Almanac because they always get it right.

This is what the Almanac says: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec.

Long Range Weather Forecast for July 12th – September 7th

July 2012
12th-15th. Fair and pleasant.
16th-19th. Thunderstorms.
20th-23rd. Mostly fair.
24th-27th. Scattered showers are followed by fair skies.
28th-31st. Changeable; mixed sun and clouds, with perhaps a shower.

August 2012
1st-3rd. Thunderstorms, followed by fair weather.
4th-7th. Turning unset- tled and wet; rain showers could dampen New Brunswick Day and also Natal Day in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
8th-11th. Becoming fair and windy.
12th-15th. hit-and-miss locally strong thunderstorms.
16th-19th. A pleasant spell of weather; Gold Cup Parade, on the 17th, on Prince Edward Island enjoys sun.
20th-23rd. Wet, then fair skies return.
24th-27th. Fair.
28th-31st. Thunderstorms, some heavy, followed by fair weather.

September 2012
1st-3rd. Continued hot. A possible near miss for Nova Scotia and P.E.I. by the 3rd from an offshore tropical disturbance.
4th-7th. The Labour Day holiday may have violent thunderstorms.

*** *** *** ***

As for me and mine, the timetable for hubby’s M.A. Defense has been pushed back until October. His summer defense failed to materialize. I was not pleased with this little development because now even if he begs, a teaching job is just not in the cards for this term seeing he doesn’t have the MA in his hands, so there is nothing to put on a CV…

Which means that until he defends and / or finds a job in the meantime, he is working overtime writing and polishing his Thesis. Which means all those little plans we made some months ago will not come to fruition. We stay where we are and I had hoped to make a few trips to visit some folks on my list of things to do will have to be put on hold until we start bringing in teaching pay.

I have failed on my running training, and I really need to get back on the horse because the doc wants me to loose 2 kilos before my next visit in September. And I have yet to begin week four of Couch to 5 K, it has been sitting patiently on my phone waiting to start again.

I survived the mid point of the year and my 18th anniversary last week, the usual thought is that if I make it to my birthday I will make it to Christmas and so forth and so on. But life isn’t about survival but more of living.

I need to find something creative to do with my time, now that I am retired from school. I only have one more month of QFA coming until I get to the end of the run in August. So hubby needs to make haste in whatever he is planning to do to supplement and augment our monthly money haul.

People are in need, and friends have been talking about community. How to build it – maintain it – and save it. To bring the word of God to the masses and sharing the Gospel with the many we come into contact with every day. And if we reached one person a day, the Kingdom would be ever closer.

Jeremy has a great gig and wonderful thoughts about community and what he is doing is his respective community down under. We could learn a great deal from him and his friends.

It’s just past 3 am and I need to get some sleep so I will close this little page and wish you all a goodnight, good morning where ever you may be…


A Holocaust mystery finds some answers

poland-copy.jpg

By ARTHUR MAX and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writers 

BAD AROLSEN, Germany – Deep in Shari Klages’ memory is an image of herself as a girl in New Jersey, going into her parents’ bedroom, pulling a thick leather-bound album from the top shelf of a closet and sitting down on the bed to leaf through it.

What she saw was page after page of ink-and-watercolor drawings that convey, with simple lines yet telling detail, the brutality of Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp where her father spent the last weeks of World War II.

Arrival, enslavement, torture, death — the 30 pictures expose the worsening nightmare through the artist’s eye for the essential, and add graphic texture to the body of testimony by Holocaust survivors.

“I have a sense of being quite horrified, of feeling my stomach in my throat,” Klages says. Just by looking at the book, she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid of being caught.

Now, she finally wants to make the album public. Scholars who have seen it call it historically unique and an artistic treasure.

But who drew the pictures? Only Klages’ father could know. It was he who brought the album back from Dachau when he immigrated to America on a ship with more than 60 Holocaust orphans — and he had committed suicide in 1972 in his garage in Parsippany, N.J.

The sole clue was a signature at the bottom of several drawings: Porulski.

Klages, 47, has begun a quest to discover who Porulski was, and how her family came to be the custodian of his remarkable artistic legacy. The Associated Press has helped to fill in some of the blanks.

What unfolds is a story of Holocaust survival compressed into two tragic lives, a tale with threads stretching from Warsaw to Auschwitz and Dachau, from Australia to suburban England, and finally to a bedroom in New Jersey where a fatherless girl makes a traumatic discovery.

It shows how today, as the survivors dwindle in number, their children and grandchildren struggle to comprehend the Nazi genocide that indelibly scarred their families, and in the process run into mysteries that may never be solved.

This is Shari Klages’ mystery: How did Arnold Unger, her Polish Jewish father, a 15-year-old newcomer to Dachau, end up in possession of the artwork of a Polish Catholic more than twice his age, who had been in the concentration camps through most of World War II?

None of the records Klages found confirm that the two men knew each other, though they lived in adjacent blocks in Dachau. All that is certain is that Unger overlapped with Porulski during the three weeks the boy spent among nearly 30,000 inmates of Dachau’s main camp.

“He never talked about his experiences in the war,” said Klages. “I don’t recall specifically ever being told about the album, or actually learning that I was the child of a Holocaust survivor. It was just something I always knew.”

As adults, she and her three siblings took turns keeping the album and Unger’s other wartime memorabilia.

The album begins with an image of four prisoners in winter coats carrying suitcases and marching toward Dachau’s watchtower under the rifles of SS guards. It is followed by a scene of two inmates being stripped for a humiliating examination by a kapo, a prisoner working for the Nazis.

One image portrays two prisoners pausing in their work to doff their caps to a soldier escorting a prostitute — intimated by the seam on her stocking. Another shows a leashed dog lunging at a terrified inmate.

The drawings grow more and more debasing. Three prisoners hang by their arms tied behind their backs; a captured escapee is paraded wearing a sign, “Hurray, I am back again”; an inmate is hanged from a scaffold; and, in the final image, a man lies on the ground, shot dead next to the barbed-wire fence under the looming watchtower.

The album also has 258 photographs. Some are copies of well-known, haunting images of piles of victims’ bodies taken by the U.S. army that liberated the camp. Others are photographs, apparently taken for Nazi propaganda, portraying Dachau as an idyllic summer camp. Still others are personal snapshots of Unger with Polish refugees or with American soldiers who befriended him.

Barbara Distel, the director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, said Porulski probably drew the pictures shortly after the camp’s liberation in April 1945. He used identical sheets of paper, ink and watercolors for all 30 pictures, she said, and he “would never have dared” to draw such horrors while he was still under Nazi gaze.

“It’s amazing after so many years that these kinds of documents still turn up,” Distel told the AP. “It’s a unique artifact,” and clearly drawn by someone with an intimate knowledge of the camp’s reality, she said.

Holocaust artwork has turned up before, but Distel and Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, who is with the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, say they are unaware of any sequential narrative of camp life comparable to Porulski’s.

“I’ve seen two or three or four, but never 30,” said Berenbaum.

In Coral Springs, Fla., where she now lives, Klages showed the book in 2005 to a neighbor, Avi Hoffman, executive director of the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts. Hoffman immediately saw its quality and significance. The two became determined to uncover its background and find out if the artist had created an undiscovered body of work.

In August, Klages, Hoffman and Berenbaum went to Germany to begin their hunt. They hired a crew to document it, hoping a film would help finance a foundation to exhibit the book.

They began chipping away at the album’s secrets at the Dachau memorial, outside Munich, where they found an arrival record for Michal Porulski, which listed his profession as artist, in 1941.

They learned that Unger hid the fact that he was Jewish when he reached Dachau three weeks before the war ended. “That probably saved his life,” Hoffman said. They also discovered a strong likelihood that the album’s binding was fashioned from the recycled leather of an SS officer’s uniform.

Unger, an engaging youngster, became an office boy and translator for U.S. occupation authorities at Dachau, which was turned into a displaced persons camp, and obtained a U.S. visa in 1947.

Research by Klages’ group and the AP has begun to pull together the scattered threads of Porulski’s life from long forgotten records at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, a tiny museum in Warsaw, Auschwitz and Dachau, the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial archives in Jerusalem, Australian immigration records and data from England.

Porulski enrolled in the Warsaw arts academy in 1934 after completing two years of army service. Attached to his neatly written application is a photograph of a good looking young man with light hair and dreamy eyes.

It says he was a farmer’s son, born June 20, 1910, in the central town of Rychwal, although in later records Porulski said he was born five years later.

Chronically poor, he left the academy after failing to secure a loan for his tuition but was later reinstated. After Germany invaded in 1939, he made some money painting watercolor postcards of Nazi-occupied Poland, two of which have survived and are now in the Warsaw Museum of Caricature.

In June 1940, he was arrested in a Nazi roundup “without any reason,” he wrote many years later in an appeal for help from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Two months later, he and 1,500 others were the first Poles to be shipped from Warsaw to Auschwitz. He spent eight months there, then was sent to the Neuengamme camp and finally to Dachau, near Munich, in May 1941.

In Dachau, according to a brief reference in a Polish book on wartime art, he painted portraits, flowers, folk dance scenes and decoration for a clandestine theater.

In 1949 he sailed to Australia and tried to work as a painter and decorator but mostly lived off friends. He returned to Europe in 1963 and lived in England and France. He visited Poland in the early 1970s for several months, and stayed with his sister, Janina Krol, in Gdynia on the Baltic coast, and another relative outside Warsaw, Wanda Wojcikowska.

He brought his sister paintings of Dachau, his niece, Danuta Ostrowska, now 75, recalls. But her mother threw them away, saying “I can’t look at them.” The family still owns 10 of his mostly prewar paintings.

He was robbed of his money and passport, and Poland‘s communist authorities wanted Porulski out of the country, Wojcikowska’s daughter, Malgorzata Stozek, recalls. “My mother even found a woman willing to marry him, to help him stay in Poland,” she said. But he already had borrowed money from his sister and left.

His letters from England said he found work maintaining bridges, Stozek said. “He wrote that the moment he finished painting a bridge over some river, he had to start again.” It could have been a metaphor for a life going nowhere.

“One day I came to see my mother and she was crying because he wrote to her that he had no money, he was hungry and was sleeping on park benches. He lived in terrible poverty,” Stozek told the AP.

He was so lonely, she said, he had considered suicide.

In 1978 he sent a request for war compensation to the International Tracing Service in the central German town of Bad Arolsen, which houses the world’s largest archive of concentration camp records and lists of Holocaust victims.

“I have no occupation of any sort. I was unable to resume my studies after all those years in the camps,” he wrote. “I am just by myself, and I live from day to day.”

The ITS replied that it had no authority to give grants, but was sending confirmation of his incarceration to the U.N. refugee agency to support his earlier reparations claim.

Unger also shows up in the Tracing Service, in a 1955 two-page letter he wrote recounting his ordeal that began when he was 9.

Unger’s father had a prosperous furniture business near Krakow. “Then the infamous horde of Nazis overran our town, disrupted our life, murdered my parents and little sister, and robbed us of all we had.” He was the only survivor of 50 members of the Unger family.

Christian friends hid him for a while, but he ended up imprisoned inside the Krakow ghetto, then was moved to a series of concentration camps.

His daughter says that after he immigrated to America, he told a cousin with whom he lived in New Jersey that his job at Dachau had been to tend the ovens. The Nazis commonly used inmates for such purposes — it was one of the few ways of surviving.

Newly arrived in America, Unger spoke to Newark newspapers of his years of torment, saying he escaped three times during marches between camps but was always recaptured.

At one point, he told the Newark Evening News, he was herded into a gas chamber at Natzweiler camp with 50 other prisoners, but they were spared at the last minute because some of them were electricians whom the Nazis needed for their war effort.

The two lives, briefly intertwined by the Holocaust and an album of photos and paintings, ended 17 years apart — Unger by hanging himself in 1972, Porulski in 1989 in St. Mary’s Hospital near Hereford, England, of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

The death certificate gives his age as 74 and his profession as “painter (retired).”

Shari Klages was 12 when her father died.

He had just been laid off from his 18-year job in the aeronautics industry, and his wife had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His suicide is given added poignancy by the image of the hanged inmate in the album, and Klages believes it was his Holocaust experience that weighed most heavily on him.

“I have no doubt it was the most significant contributor to his death,” she said.

___

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report. Arthur Max reported from Bad Arolsen, Germany, and Monika Scislowska from Warsaw.

On the Net:

National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts

Dachau

International Tracing Service


Final Thought of the Night …

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“He has told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you – to do justice, to love steadfastly, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8



Rosh Hashanah

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In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. –Leviticus 16:24

Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 12, the first of Tishri. L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem — May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

I also learned that there is more than one “New Year’s Day” in the Jewish calendar — sort of like we have a new fiscal year and a new school year in ours: “In Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin at this time).” [From Judaism 101 website on the holiday]

Thanks Michael…


Pope speaks of Europe’s tragic past

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By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer 

VIENNA, Austria – Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged Europe‘s tragic past and warned of its uncertain future Friday as he honored Jews killed in the Holocaust and urged the continent to accept its Christian heritage.

Abortion must never be considered a human right, Benedict said, and urged European political leaders to encourage young married couples to have children and the continent’s graying population “not to become old in spirit.”

“Europe cannot and must not deny her Christian roots,” the pope declared, saying that Christianity has “profoundly shaped this continent.”

Benedict opened a three-day pilgrimage to Austria, once the center of a Roman Catholic-influenced empire and now a wealthy but small nation that has seen considerable dissent against the church, as in much of Europe.

In an evening address to Austrian officials and diplomats in the former imperial Hofburg Palace, Benedict spoke of the “horrors of war” and the “traumatic experiences of totalitarianism and dictatorship” that Europe has undergone.

The pope, born in neighboring Bavaria, Germany, began his visit by paying tribute to Holocaust victims.

He stepped out of his popemobile in a driving rain and joined Vienna‘s chief rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in prayer before an austere stone memorial honoring the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps and others burned at the stake in the 1400s after refusing to convert.

He made no public remarks during the seven-minute stop but told reporters aboard his plane from Rome that he wanted to extend his sense of “sadness, repentance and friendship to the Jewish people.”

In 1938, the city’s vibrant Jewish community numbered 185,000 members. Today, there are fewer than 7,000.

Alluding to the nation’s past complicity with the Nazis, President Heinz Fischer conceded in a greeting to the pope that Austria had “dark hours in its history.”

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Austria’s top churchman, noted Christianity’s roots in Judaism and urged his countrymen never to forget the atrocities committed against the capital’s Jews.

“It is part of the tragedy of the city that here, of all places, this root was forgotten — even denied — to the point where godless will destroyed the people to whom God gives his first love,” he said.

Benedict, who visited and vacationed here often as a cardinal, faced a challenge: Many Austrian believers, disgusted by clergy sex scandals and deeply resentful of a government-imposed church tax, have grown cold — and tens of thousands have left the church altogether.

Benedict’s trip underscored the difficulties the Vatican confronts across Europe, where cathedrals are empty as disillusioned believers question the relevance of faith in the postmodern era.

The pope defended the vitality of Christianity today, saying Christians throughout history have been examples of “hope, love and mercy.”

In his condemnation of abortion, Benedict said he was speaking out “for those unborn children who have no voice.”

He also urged Europeans to ensure humane care of the elderly, assailing “actively assisted death,” a reference to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In a reflection of anti-pope sentiment held by some Austrians, about 300 young demonstrators marched through central Vienna on Friday to protest the pontiff’s conservative stance on homosexuality, gay marriage and other issues.

“I think the pope represents a system that has repressed people and other religions for hundreds of years. It’s simply antiquated,” said Ludwig List, 19, holding a banner that read: “Papa Don’t Preach.”

Security was heavy for Benedict’s visit, with more than 3,500 police officers and soldiers and 50 aircraft deployed to protect him. The Interior Ministry said the measures were taken even before this week’s thwarted terrorist plot in Germany.

On Saturday, the pope holds an open-air Mass to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the founding of Mariazell, a famous shrine to the Virgin Mary about 60 miles southwest of Vienna.

The Vienna Archdiocese said 33,000 pilgrims had received tickets for the event and that 70 bishops, mostly from Eastern Europe, would join in. Benedict called the anniversary “the reason for my coming” and said he would go as a simple pilgrim.

Benedict’s visit concludes Sunday with a Mass at Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and a visit to the Heiligenkreuz abbey outside the capital.

___

Associated Press Writers William J. Kole and Veronika Oleksyn contributed to this report.


Pope speaks of Europe's tragic past

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By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer 

VIENNA, Austria – Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged Europe‘s tragic past and warned of its uncertain future Friday as he honored Jews killed in the Holocaust and urged the continent to accept its Christian heritage.

Abortion must never be considered a human right, Benedict said, and urged European political leaders to encourage young married couples to have children and the continent’s graying population “not to become old in spirit.”

“Europe cannot and must not deny her Christian roots,” the pope declared, saying that Christianity has “profoundly shaped this continent.”

Benedict opened a three-day pilgrimage to Austria, once the center of a Roman Catholic-influenced empire and now a wealthy but small nation that has seen considerable dissent against the church, as in much of Europe.

In an evening address to Austrian officials and diplomats in the former imperial Hofburg Palace, Benedict spoke of the “horrors of war” and the “traumatic experiences of totalitarianism and dictatorship” that Europe has undergone.

The pope, born in neighboring Bavaria, Germany, began his visit by paying tribute to Holocaust victims.

He stepped out of his popemobile in a driving rain and joined Vienna‘s chief rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in prayer before an austere stone memorial honoring the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps and others burned at the stake in the 1400s after refusing to convert.

He made no public remarks during the seven-minute stop but told reporters aboard his plane from Rome that he wanted to extend his sense of “sadness, repentance and friendship to the Jewish people.”

In 1938, the city’s vibrant Jewish community numbered 185,000 members. Today, there are fewer than 7,000.

Alluding to the nation’s past complicity with the Nazis, President Heinz Fischer conceded in a greeting to the pope that Austria had “dark hours in its history.”

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Austria’s top churchman, noted Christianity’s roots in Judaism and urged his countrymen never to forget the atrocities committed against the capital’s Jews.

“It is part of the tragedy of the city that here, of all places, this root was forgotten — even denied — to the point where godless will destroyed the people to whom God gives his first love,” he said.

Benedict, who visited and vacationed here often as a cardinal, faced a challenge: Many Austrian believers, disgusted by clergy sex scandals and deeply resentful of a government-imposed church tax, have grown cold — and tens of thousands have left the church altogether.

Benedict’s trip underscored the difficulties the Vatican confronts across Europe, where cathedrals are empty as disillusioned believers question the relevance of faith in the postmodern era.

The pope defended the vitality of Christianity today, saying Christians throughout history have been examples of “hope, love and mercy.”

In his condemnation of abortion, Benedict said he was speaking out “for those unborn children who have no voice.”

He also urged Europeans to ensure humane care of the elderly, assailing “actively assisted death,” a reference to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In a reflection of anti-pope sentiment held by some Austrians, about 300 young demonstrators marched through central Vienna on Friday to protest the pontiff’s conservative stance on homosexuality, gay marriage and other issues.

“I think the pope represents a system that has repressed people and other religions for hundreds of years. It’s simply antiquated,” said Ludwig List, 19, holding a banner that read: “Papa Don’t Preach.”

Security was heavy for Benedict’s visit, with more than 3,500 police officers and soldiers and 50 aircraft deployed to protect him. The Interior Ministry said the measures were taken even before this week’s thwarted terrorist plot in Germany.

On Saturday, the pope holds an open-air Mass to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the founding of Mariazell, a famous shrine to the Virgin Mary about 60 miles southwest of Vienna.

The Vienna Archdiocese said 33,000 pilgrims had received tickets for the event and that 70 bishops, mostly from Eastern Europe, would join in. Benedict called the anniversary “the reason for my coming” and said he would go as a simple pilgrim.

Benedict’s visit concludes Sunday with a Mass at Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and a visit to the Heiligenkreuz abbey outside the capital.

___

Associated Press Writers William J. Kole and Veronika Oleksyn contributed to this report.


Labels … Let us Reflect on them …

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Krystalnacht – The Night of the Broken Glass…
The Beginning of The Holocaust

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Work Makes You Free …

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A Survivor from Buchenwald

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Yad Vashem – Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial

 

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Auschwitz – Concentration Camp

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Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon – Synonymous for AIDS

Pride Flag

The Pride Flag – Proud Symbol for all things Gay

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The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt – For all those who died from AIDS
My friends,My family, My brothers and sisters…

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The JEW – The Star of David used during the Holocaust …
**********************************

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

 

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The Homosexual – Also Used during the Holocaust …

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A Young Man – Hungarian Jewish Boy –
From Fateless, the Motion Picture

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The Label Chart Used By the Nazi Party within
the Death Camps and Concentration Camps to
Identify people…
Location, Ethnicity, Area, Orientation, Religious Affiliation

 

There weren’t only Jews in the Camps…

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The ACT UP slogan for Gay and AIDS circa 1980

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What Would Jesus Do???

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This is my Label – I earned every hour of it, with Pride…

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We Should Be Proud, but we should remember what labels have done to millions world wide over the Decades. I think it is time to move past them, to stop labeling and Outing people. I think we need to learn to live together PEACEFULLY in order to stop the killing of ALL people around the world…

THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER – SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET!!


Radcliffe nervous about baring all on Broadway

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By Michelle Nichols 

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) – British actor Daniel Radcliffe hopes to debut on Broadway next year in a reprise of his London role in “Equus,” a performance where he shed not only his clothes but the mantle of Harry Potter.

Radcliffe won rave reviews for his performance as a tortured teenager during an 8-week run of Peter Shaffer’s grueling psychological thriller in London earlier this year, but said the prospect of acting in New York was “terrifying.”

“It will be amazing, but I will be terrified because I was talking to Richard Griffiths about playing New York and he said the most stupid thing you can do is underestimate New York audiences,” said Radcliffe, 18, in an interview with Reuters.

Griffiths, who appeared with Radcliffe in “Equus” in London and played the role of Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter movies, won a Tony Award in New York in 2006 for his role in “The History Boys.”

While promoting his latest movie, “December Boys,” in New York, Radcliffe — best known for bringing to life author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard Harry Potter — said “Equus” could open late next year in New York.

“I would be very nervous because I think that (the audiences are) even more discerning than in London,” he said. “But I know we have a good show, it was a good show when we did it in London and hopefully if we do it again it will still be that good. It has to be better.”

Media hype over Radcliffe’s nude scene in the play sparked more than $4 million in advance ticket sales in London.

“Equus” was first produced in London in 1973 to critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for best play in 1975 during a long run on Broadway. It was adapted by Shaffer for a 1977 film starring Richard Burton and Peter Firth, which received three Oscar nominations in 1978.

“December Boys,” Radcliffe’s first major role outside the Harry Potter films, opens in the United States, Britain and Australia this month. The movie tells the tale of four orphans growing up at a Catholic convent in outback Australia.

Radcliffe said he will begin working on “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” — the sixth movie in the seven part series — this month and that the project would likely take a minimum of eight or nine months.


Sunday writings…

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I really don’t know what to write tonight, I really don’t feel like writing because I’ve not prepared anything really. The last holiday weekend before the grind begins with a bang this week. I’ve been banking on sleep as of late – trying to steal away hours here and there, I love to sleep.

I’ve been on these new medications now for 3 months.

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I have to say that throwing up is right up there on my most hated activities during my day. I have morning sickness once or twice a week. This morning it woke me up out of a sound sleep, as if I had spent the night prior drinking until I could not drink any more.

I didn’t even have a drinking dream to go with the morning sickness. I mean it would have meant so much more if I could put throwing up into context! Alas, I was exhausted afterwards and it took me an hour to calm down and get my breathing under control because my body was in that “post vomit” stage of recuperation… UGH!

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It was a beautiful day today. I sat out on the lanai enjoying the sunshine. The days are starting to get shorter and the sun will begin to set earlier and earlier. I can’t wait for the trees to start turning.

**********************

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I spent the past couple of nights reading Elie Wiesel’s  “Night.” I found the read to be as cathartic as Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz. Both men were boys when they were taken to the camps. I knew the story, even before I read the first page. Though the two stories are different, they share the common thread:

“You are in a concentration camp. In Auschwitz…” 

“Remember,” “Remember it always, let it be graven in your memories. You are in Auschwitz. And Auschwitz is not a convalescent home. It is a concentration camp. Here, you must work. If you don’t you will go straight to the chimney. To the crematorium. Work – or crematorium – the choice is yours.”

Reading Elie’s account as he moves from camp to camp, trying to stay with his father, to keep his father alive, through the worst of conditions was amazing. Where Elie tells us his story on a great scale, describing seasons and changes, his visions of babies being killed and burned in ditches was exceptionally brutal.

“Poor devils, you are heading for the crematorium.” Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes…children thrown into the flames. (Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me.)  

How was it possible that men, women and children were being burned and that the world kept silent? No. All this could not be real. A nightmare perhaps…

Night, ppgs. 32-33, 38-39…

Primo Levi tells another story of the same conditions but from a different point of view. Those reviews of that text are in my Holocaust files in Categories, you can read them there. Both writers are important to know, to read and to respect.

 

It is interesting that I was reading this text over the weekend, and during Saturday night’s Coast to Coast, with Ian Punnet, a caller called in – it was an off topic call – this man said that he had studied in Germany and knew people who were alive during WWII and he told the listeners that in Germany during that time, people were told and it was later understood that on certain days, one just did not go to the train stations at all…

To address the question about “the world not knowing what was going on, it is said that Germans learned not to explore outdoors or go to the train stations on certain days while the extermination of the Jews was being carried out.

Any read of the Horrific stories of the Holocaust are important so that these memories do not go unheeded, that the warnings are not passed on the future generations.  “That we should remember, so that we should never forget.” I highly recommend these two texts for those who are interested in Holocaust studies, ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel and ‘Survival in Auschwitz’ by Primo Levi. These stories must be passed on…

I’ve made some minor changes to the blog, and I’ve added and deleted some of my bookmarks on the side bar. People are returning from hiatus and from vacations over the summer, so go read them, each blogger on my blog list is worth the time.

I hope all of you are well and thanks again for your readership.

 


In pictures: Germany's biggest synagogue

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Germany’s biggest synagogue, on Rykestrasse in Berlin, has reopened after a lavish restoration.

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Rabbi Chaim Roswaski, who presided at the ceremony, described the reconstruction as “a miracle”.

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Friday’s inauguration saw rabbis bringing the Torah to the synagogue, in a ceremony witnessed by political leaders and Holocaust survivors from around the world.

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The synagogue was set ablaze on Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938.

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The synagogue, with a 1,200-person capacity, has been described as one of the jewels of Germany’s Jewish community.