Jacqueline Kott-Wolle is a contemporary artist in Highland Park, Illinois whose paintings explore the people and experiences that have shaped her distinctly North American brand of Jewish identity. These people include Holocaust survivors like Kott-Wolle’s parents and others in her community growing up.

“They existed in living color for me – in their printed sundresses, socks and sandals, with numbers tattooed on their arms,” she writes. “Some of them had haunted looks in their eyes and seemed burdened with a profound sadness that kept them at the edge of anger while others were brimming with gratitude and optimism as they rebuilt their lives in Canada. All of them viewed my generation as walking miracles on earth.”

In this program, Kott-Wolle presents and discusses “Growing Up Jewish – Art & Storytelling,” a series of 35 oil paintings and stories about Jewish identity in North America and how it transmits from one generation to the next.

Watch the program below.


This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.

Ari Goldstein: i'm Ari Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage living memorial to the Holocaust and it's a pleasure to welcome you to today's program growing up Jewish art and storytelling with Jacqueline caught wall.

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Ari Goldstein: I do want to acknowledge, before we begin today's program the chaos and violence happening in Israel, I know it's it may be many of your minds in the audience, we will not be.

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Ari Goldstein: Focusing on that during today's program, but I wanted to name it before we begin.

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Ari Goldstein: And we're really delighted to have Jacqueline jockey with us today, we first became aware of jackie's work in 2019 and felt it was a beautiful.

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Ari Goldstein: response to and reflection of so many themes that we deal with historically in the museum and Jackie deals with them artistically so we're honored to host here this evening into to share some of her work with you.

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Ari Goldstein: Jackie is an artist and daughter Holocaust survivors originally from Toronto in 2005 she moved to Chicago where she fulfilled a long time goal of developing her thinking skills by studying at the art Center of Highland park.

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Ari Goldstein: Using a fresh palette of color tracking currently paints in oil and focuses on capturing precious moments with her family and friends.

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Ari Goldstein: Her most recent project entitled growing up Jewish art and storytelling is a series of 35 contemporary oil paintings and personal narratives exploring her North American brand Jewish identity and how it evolved through five generations of her family.

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Ari Goldstein: Her work has been exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions and that is her works on private collections throughout the US, Canada and Israel.

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Ari Goldstein: So Jackie will present some of her work from the growing up Jewish series evening and then there'll be time for q&a afterwards, so please feel free to share questions in the zoom Q amp a box and we'll get to as many as we can, towards the end.

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Ari Goldstein: Jackie without further ado welcome thanks for being here.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Already, thank you and i'd like to thank the Museum of Jewish heritage for all the work you are doing to keep Holocaust memory alive.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And for the incredible honor invite of inviting me to speak here tonight, I also want to give a special shout out to my dear friend Meg callahan and her nice Joanna krieger for connecting me to the museum so i'm going to share my screen bear with me.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And we are going to get going.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Okay, here we go, so what i'm going to show you today is a deeply personal series of paintings and stories I created to simply look at who and what shaped my North American brand of Jewish identity.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This series is called growing up Jewish art and storytelling I created it because I wanted to tell my family's North American Jewish story, and perhaps shine a fresh, new light on what you dig art could look like.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: i'm going to start my presentation today by telling you a little bit about me and how I became inspired to create the series.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And how I ultimately found myself very unexpectedly and unintentionally in the role of uncovering honoring and sharing my family's Holocaust story through really all 35 of these paintings and stories that are based on five generations worth of vintage family photos.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So let's go the next slide.

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You know.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Okay, so a little bit about me first let's talk about my life as an artist.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It was obvious from an early age, in fact, every single report card I received from open public school in Toronto, where I grew up said the same thing, year after year.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Jackie talks too much and she's good at art As for my Jewish upbringing i'll tell you this in our comfortable Jewish ish Toronto neighborhood we were considered the big Jews.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My parents survived the Holocaust his children and spoke Yiddish when they didn't want us to understand something.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: They were the founding members of our conservative movement synagogue which we attended every week we kept we kept kosher and we observed all the holidays I liked it.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Mostly, I remember when I was in middle school, I was so embarrassed to be the only family with a sucker in our backyard on display for everyone to see.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: We lived in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood but nobody built them, I thought it was way too Jewish and I just wanted to be normal Jewish.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It only recently occurred to me that the Jewish life, we observed was informed informed in large part by the traditional brand of Judaism my parents brought with them from the old country after they immigrated in 1949.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: We were one of the only greener families in our neighborhood which was largely populated by Canadian Jews people whose families had who had been in Canada for generations already.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: i'll be exploring exploring this idea, a little bit more later on in the presentation.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Today, not much has changed about me, I still talk a lot I paint almost every day and now in our comfortable Jewish ish suburb of Highland park Illinois.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: We are considered the big Jews, at least by some anyway, which is funny to me it's full circle.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So, given my connection and involvement in my Jewish community i've often been asked Jackie why don't You paint Jewish art, it was a good and logical question but I had no idea what i'd even paint.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I paint figures and bathing suits I like to draw inspiration from vintage family photos taken in summer by pools, and at the beach and then turn them into paintings.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Judaism and hardware to places where I felt very connected, but these were separate loves.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Frankly, I resisted the thought of creating creating judaic themed art, and this is mostly because I had some very strong associations, about what I thought Jewish art should look like, based on the Jewish theme paintings that hung on the walls of my family home.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: like this guy this man this hasidic rabbi presided over many episodes of the love boat and fantasy island in the TV room of my childhood home.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: To me, Jewish art fell into one of two categories, they were either limestone huge scenes from Jerusalem or stern faced bearded rabbis of old and there was no real connection here for me.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: To begin with my Conservative movement rabbi had no beard and he wear turtlenecks I had never seen a painting of Jewish summer camp, but that was where most of my important formative Jewish experiences occurred.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: There was a strong disconnect for me between the Judaism myself framed and paintings on the walls and my lived experiences on the ground.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: But the question vexed me, I wanted to challenge myself to figure out how I could create your day art in a way that truly felt authentic to the Judaism I grew up with.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And then, one day, I was at my parents house going through their old photos mining for something to paint and I found a 1970s photo of my Conservative movement rabbi.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And then I found a lovely 1960s image of a seder at my grandparents house, I had a flash of inspiration, what if I paint these images.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Two years later I launched an exhibit entitled growing up Jewish art and storytelling.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Based on five generations worth of vintage family photos I was able to create 35 oil paintings and short narratives to tell my family's Jewish story.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As they take you on this journey with me tonight, I very much want you to come away from this presentation seeing the fullness of Jewish life.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Much like the famous verse from the fiddler on the roof song sunrise sunset Jewish life is laden with happiness and tears.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As such, you will see that many of the paintings in the growing up Jewish series are playful recollections of the Judaism of my youth.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: A great many of these paintings, however, will address my family's experiences during the Holocaust and its aftermath, and how these stories shaped my Jewish decisions both consciously and unconsciously.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As it created the series I spent a lot of time reflecting on what it meant for me to grow up in the shadow of the Holocaust, as a member of the second generation.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: In all, I hope, to give you a snapshot of North American Jewish life through five generations of one family that was devastated by the events of the Holocaust that started over in Canada and rebuild themselves and found their place in North america's vibrant Jewish communities.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So I want to give you some context, as I mentioned, I am a member of the second generation A to G.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Both of my parents and their siblings my grandparents and a fair amount of my extended family lived through the horror of the Holocaust.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My father couldn't afford us with his family for 19 months, it was a terrible ordeal, during which time my great grandmother froze to death.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: it's a tiny detail, but my dad recounted in his memoir that she was wearing a red and white polka dotted dress.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My mother's family was in the crack of ghetto narrowly escaping certain death and Nazi firing squads by using false passports to survive.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My mother's extended family was interned at Auschwitz, and some of them were saved by Oscar Schindler all of my great grandparents perished at the hands of the Nazis.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: For me, the generation that survived the Holocaust existed in living color in their printed sundresses socks and sandals with numbers tattooed on their arms.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I grew up amongst people who were broken and haunted by their past but who still managed to summon great love for my generation an indescribable gratitude for Canada, where they emigrated.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And the triumph that my sisters cousins and I represented these people were characters with huge personalities.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Some were gentle and optimistic somewhere hilarious somewhere strong willed while others appear to always live at the edge of anger or close to tears.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: All of them were permanently scarred to varying degrees by living in towns and cities where their neighbors and government turn their backs on them betrayed them persecuted and murdered their parents friends and Community all for the crime of being born Jewish.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: can take you into a slideshow.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: let's get this thing going here one second Okay, when I created the series my interest was to look at Jewish identity as it evolved in North America.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: truth be told, I deliberately tried to avoid the Holocaust, when I started making these paintings.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I wanted this series to be completely relatable, no matter where you came from in the arc of the North American Jewish story.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: But every time I worked on a new image, whether it was my sister Caroline singing the four questions of Passover or my parents first trip to Israel.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: or my daughter's BAT mitzvah celebration my mind kept drifting back to the miracle of at all, none of us should be here.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Hitler and the Nazis wanted my family and all of our future generations to be gone from the face of the earth my auntie Sylvia always used to say we are survivors, I never understood why she included me in that statement until now.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As I created this painting series I realized that my art provided a powerful vehicle to honor the memory of my family members who were murdered and whose lives were never spoken up again.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And to tell the survival and rebuilding stories of my parents grandparents and extended family members.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: For example, nobody really knew or remembered your story of how he survived a bicycle chain beating low protecting his brother, I only remembered him as the quiet broken uncle who came alone to all of our birthday parties.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As a member of the second generation, we are truly a unique subset of the Jewish community.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: We were used to living in homes, where there were no old family photos we straddle two worlds, we were equally comfortable in the homes of screeners were broken English was spoken in thick accents and expectations were high.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Sometimes these homes felt really heavy and said, especially if the survivors had whole lives before the war, including spouses and children who were taken from them.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: in Canada, these families were on round two starting over with replacement spouses and replacement children who felt the enormous burden of trying to make highly traumatized parents feel whole again.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: People who weren't necessarily compatible because of age differences former social standing in the old country or religious observance levels married out of practical necessity or pure loneliness.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: We understood that, too, it wasn't all dark though my parents were so in love with each other and they appreciated how much they had achieved in Canada.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Our home felt pretty free and fun, but we were used to seeing numbers tattooed on the soft skin of the arms that helped us.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: We were loved beyond measure and knew that, in their eyes, we were considered precious walking miracles on earth there's nothing quite like the victory look a survivor gazes at his or her grandchild.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Likewise, we loved visiting the seemingly carefree modern homes of our friends, whose parents were born in North America.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And did things that were inconceivable to us like eating everything on the menu at Chinese restaurants or going on family ski trips.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When we were growing up ripped jeans were in style, just like now, and I remember my Holocaust survivor relatives were nervous when we wore them.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: They worried that we had fallen on hard times again as loved as we were there were unspoken rules.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Those of us who are two g's understood that our parents generation had been through enough and our job was to make sure that we did not disappoint them.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: All they wanted from us was the addition office pride and joy, of course, the additional investment different things in different households.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: In some in some homes that simply meant that all we had to do was walk in the room.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: and others, it meant that we should play the violin go to law school at least go to school, go to go to shul keep kosher.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: marry someone whose parents are gleaners and don't need your babies without talking to us first and don't get divorced, and on and on and on, it was the least we could do.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As I reflected on my family I marveled at them, I knew Their stories of survival, it was the years following the Holocaust, that really got my attention.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: There were so many obstacles to overcome when they immigrated to Canada in 1949.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: How did these people arrive in North America, with nothing having endured the worst and then manage to keep going and make a new life.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: He was able to pull it off, and what motivated them who wasn't what was the role of optimism and the rebuilding process was opportunity shared equally in these families.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Who sacrifice that others could advance and what resentments did those left behind harbor inside with them.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: For many relatives, like my sad, the prime years of their lives, happened during the Holocaust.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: By the time zaidi arrived in Canada, it was clear to have that real opportunity was reserved for younger generations and not himself, he had to accept the fact that his small amounts of business was never going to amount to much.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I also wondered what was it like to reunite with family members who are safe in Canada during the war and who knew nothing of the suffering.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: With these happy reunions are where the awkward survivor's guilt was rampant all around, not to mention the fact that families are complicated.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I know that in mind these reunion spark the kind of anger that generated a lifetime of brokenness which is Yiddish for holding a grudge.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It had something to do with my dad having to sweep the floors of our Canadian cousins dress factory.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Imagine the pride my survivor grandparents, who came from a village that looked like an attempt to felt when my dad graduated from law school being snapped by Canadian cousins really got under their skin.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: How did the existing Jewish community prepare to help these people whose material and emotional needs were so profound and overwhelming.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: From what I understood the Canadian Jews were quite adept at providing for the material needs of the refugees but socially and emotionally, there was a huge divide.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Neither side wants to talk about the horse, this was not a generation that was used to talking about their feelings.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The survivors created communities of their own sticking together at local parks on their days off from work in the garment factories hoping to find linesman and grateful to be in the company of people who wordlessly understood them.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: every success was monumental what could be better than passing the high school matriculation exams and then getting a degree in attending law school after virtually missing a lifetime of education during the war years and time spent in the dp camps.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: How victorious was it to host a piece of seder, and here the Canadian grandchildren read the four questions that a large family gathering.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Think about the satisfaction of being able to volunteer and give financial donations back to the Community that supported them and gave them outfits to wear from a clothing bank.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Can you imagine these people earning enough money to get to Dhaka and spend winters and modest apartments in Florida or go on a vacation in the catskills.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Imagine how powerful it was for these people to visit the modern state of Israel, a place that might have saved so many if it existed only 10 years earlier in the 1930s that must have been very difficult for that generation to reconcile.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: You probably noted in this slide show that there are images of Jewish life as observed by my generation and my children's generation.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: i'll be a somewhat different from the Judaism, of the old country remember what auntie Sylvia said, we, the second and third generations are survivors to.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I thought it was important to note that, despite everything, the Jewish people continue on Israel high.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As they painted these paintings and wrote the stories, I truly felt the awesome responsibility to make sure that my family's Holocaust stories.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The ones that were so close to being relegated to the dustbin of history were uncovered recorded and told I am so grateful to my dad for writing his memoir before he passed away and my mom for recounting these Holocaust and Jewish stories for me.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Okay, so let's get another the slideshow.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This one.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Okay, here we go, so what i'd like to do now is focusing on a few of the paintings from the collection and read their company narratives to you.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Here you will see the early integration experiences of my family and what it was like define their place within the established Jewish community.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: In these next few paintings and stories, I wanted to explore the social divide that existed between the Canadian Jews and the newly arrived refugees.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: In this slide you'll see a painting on the right by fairfield porter who is an artist that i'm inspired by and on the left is a painting I created entitled brainers galas and fairfield porter it's based off of a photo that was taken in 1950 and here's the story.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I am most enamored with the paintings of fairfield porter he was a Kennedy era American artist who painted my fantasy of the good life.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: genteel people of a certain lineage enjoying summer moments at his family's historic be chosen main.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: A Washington color porter captured images of generations reading together on the screen porch friends gathered in conversation on sun washed adirondack chairs morning tennis matches in preppy whites.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As much as I idealize this world, I know that my people did not come from that stock or live like that.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My mother in law once explained to me the Jewish social hierarchy is she experienced it, they were greeters and dealers, she was a greener, I came from gleaners.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Gala is Yiddish for yellow and greener well that's obvious these terms are used as immigration and lineage metaphors.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: She explained that a gaylor is like a yellow vegetable that has had time to ripen on the vine, while a greener like a green vegetable is new on the vine.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: If you're a greener, it means you're an immigrant from the old country, and you have an accent.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And gaylor is someone whose ancestors have been who have been living in the new world for generations.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: galas have ripen on the vine of America, for a long time stereotypically galas have had time to build a fortunes in this country become genteel and take their place as part of the leisure class.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: They might sail or have beach homes, they play tennis I love this image of my husband's grandparents there, they are two brainers as if planted into a fairfield porter painting, but just on the other side of the fence.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It was a moment captured only a few short years after escaping the ravages of war, I love that they figured out how to insert themselves, if not in them beside the leisure class of the gamblers they cast off their heavy clothes and the baggage of the past and had their day in the sun.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So this next painting explores the early reunions of families after the Holocaust here's how the story went down boy.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This painting is called the SURE had high hopes and it's based off of a photo that was taken in 1972 sure was my father's uncle he never married or have children.

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Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: In 1949 after surviving the Holocaust, who survived in Canada, with my grandfather my dad and my aunt Sylvia.

00:22:56.880 --> 00:23:02.040
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The four of them were sponsored and taken in by their brother of room who had moved to Montreal in 1929.

00:23:02.760 --> 00:23:09.720
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Of room was fortunate, he was safe in Canada, when the Nazis came to power, and he became financially well off by opening address factory.

00:23:10.620 --> 00:23:20.640
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When the three siblings were united, it was awkward to say the least two brothers suffered greatly during the Holocaust, while the other was comfortable enough to buy a new pontiac.

00:23:21.540 --> 00:23:29.370
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Who sure felt personally insulted when my dad only 16 years old, was handed a broom on his first day in Canada and told to sweep the floors of the dress factory.

00:23:30.150 --> 00:23:38.610
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Actually Lucia was livid and it mark the beginning of a lifetime of bogus which is huge for holding a grudge with that side of the family.

00:23:39.300 --> 00:23:48.720
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And my father's memoir he describes that moment quote this outburst of indignation at his brother was like an opening scene in a play by Tennessee Williams.

00:23:49.230 --> 00:23:58.260
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Who sure must have figured out that there was not going to be men of falling from the sky and sweeping his brothers floors was the proverbial last straw that shattered his dream of how it would be.

00:23:59.130 --> 00:24:04.860
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The next day we move into a nice second story flat on G man street at the Northwest corner of St theater.

00:24:05.640 --> 00:24:21.810
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: One can only imagine the pride, who, she must have felt on the day my father graduated from law school Lucia died in 1972 he had terrible scars on his body from the time when the Ukrainian police at the direction of the Nazis beat him with a bicycle chain.

00:24:26.730 --> 00:24:37.740
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This painting is really new in fact it's still drying it's called hater in the dp camp and it's based off of a photo that was taken in approximately 1948.

00:24:38.790 --> 00:24:50.760
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I wanted to show this painting, because at this was my dad's first real experience with education in his memoir he explains that in all he had two years of formal education in his youth.

00:24:51.300 --> 00:24:58.530
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: He had completed the equivalent of first grade before the war, during which time he and his family fled to the forest to hide for 19 months.

00:24:59.010 --> 00:25:03.180
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When the war ended, and they were in Russia, my dad had to work to help the family stay afloat.

00:25:03.900 --> 00:25:14.190
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It was only when his family arrived and the dp camp in Poland that he finally had one year of education, my dad was 16 when he finished seventh grade in 1949.

00:25:14.760 --> 00:25:23.100
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The war and post war years in Europe had robbed him of his entire youth he never had a bar mitzvah nor did he received in education.

00:25:23.880 --> 00:25:34.980
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This painting is based off of a photo that I used to study as a child, when I was growing up, I had some understanding of the Holocaust, but I couldn't figure out what all those kids looked so old.

00:25:35.670 --> 00:25:42.630
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: there's my father in the front row, he was so eager to learn, he told me that he loved that one year he had in school.

00:25:43.140 --> 00:25:51.390
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Remember, my report cards, the ones where my teacher said that I talk too much, I think he would tell me this to inspire me to take my studies more seriously.

00:25:52.380 --> 00:25:59.970
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As they painted these faces of these 14 and 15 year olds I couldn't help but compared to my own child who was 14 today.

00:26:00.660 --> 00:26:10.860
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: These children struck me as so haunted and so profoundly exhausted, I wonder what they had witnessed and who they have lost who looked after them.

00:26:11.400 --> 00:26:28.140
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Did they rebuild and how did life turn out for these children when my dad graduated law school and was called to the bar in 1961 of the senior lawyers at the firm where he articled remarked it's a long way from the forests of Poland to the halls of Oz good haul law school.

00:26:32.400 --> 00:26:40.440
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So, as I just mentioned in my father's name or he recounts the challenging path he got himself on shortly after he arrived in Montreal at the age of 16.

00:26:41.070 --> 00:26:47.790
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: He was so determined to go from being a refugee to being as he described it as somebody and get a degree.

00:26:48.360 --> 00:26:58.770
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: After almost an entire lifetime without a formal education, there were a few key players in the background, who showed immeasurable kindness and sacrificed for him to reach is near impossible goals.

00:26:59.400 --> 00:27:08.880
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Here are their stories let's start with the painting on the right it's called nobody asked auntie Sylvia and it's based off of a photo from route about 1977.

00:27:09.600 --> 00:27:20.670
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This is a newer painting, and I wanted to show it because I always wondered if my dad sister Sylvia resented the fact that, after the Holocaust her life was dictated by practicality and old fashioned sexism.

00:27:21.360 --> 00:27:31.650
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I don't imagine stadium Lucia we're reading the early feminist ratings of Betty friedan and those days, nobody asked auntie Sylvia if she would enjoy your benefit from a higher education.

00:27:32.280 --> 00:27:41.700
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When she moved to Canada as a teenager Sylvia was relegated to the kitchen to cook and clean for the men of the House, while the educational opportunities, where he talked to my father.

00:27:42.210 --> 00:27:51.660
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It wasn't fair, I know that my father felt really guilty about this, and we all had nothing but gratitude for anti anti Sylvia sacrifices to help my dad achieve his goals.

00:27:52.080 --> 00:28:06.450
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Her role wasn't lost on me either my sisters and i've all benefited from auntie sylvia's efforts Sylvia passed away recently and this past March at the age of 89 I hope I asked her all the questions I wanted to ask.

00:28:07.770 --> 00:28:21.780
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So now i'm going to direct you to the painting on the Left and I want to emphasize that this image of my father's graduation from university was taken only eight short years after that your creator in the dp camp.

00:28:22.440 --> 00:28:35.220
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: here's the story that goes with this painting, which is called a victory for Bernie Silvia de de Lucia and mural and it's based off of a photo that was taken in 1956 here's the story.

00:28:36.660 --> 00:28:42.150
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When my family immigrated to Canada in 1949 after the Holocaust, there were so many obstacles to overcome.

00:28:42.810 --> 00:28:54.900
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: every success was monumental what could be better than passing the high school matriculation exams and then getting a degree in attending law school after this virtually missing a lifetime of education during the warriors and time spent in the dp camps.

00:28:55.650 --> 00:29:01.620
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When my dad graduated from Sir George when university now Concordia university it wasn't just for him.

00:29:02.010 --> 00:29:08.400
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: There were so many people who are invested in this achievement, especially those who hidden the forest with him for 19 months during the war.

00:29:09.150 --> 00:29:13.800
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: But the person who really deserves a special mention was a teacher named Mitch Mitchell Mitchell Mitchell.

00:29:14.550 --> 00:29:22.170
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Shortly after my dad emigrated to Canada was learning to speak English he happened upon a tutor who was helping a boy who lived in a splat.

00:29:22.860 --> 00:29:31.710
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Miss Mitchell wasn't wanting to take on any more students but she saw something special in my dad and decided to help them get ready to take the grade 11 matriculation exams.

00:29:32.460 --> 00:29:40.530
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: realizing that he was a refugee and funds were tight she refused to take her full pay here is how my father honored miss Mitchell in his memoir.

00:29:41.700 --> 00:29:49.560
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Quote and late summer 1953 I learned miss Mitchell was not well and that she couldn't continue Tutoring and guiding me anymore.

00:29:50.310 --> 00:29:57.600
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I assume, wrote some seven or eight exams and passed, I was admitted to Sir George William university and I personally wanted to tell miss Mitchell.

00:29:58.170 --> 00:30:08.640
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I found out that she was now at the Royal Victoria hospital when I came there her brother told me that she was dying of cancer and that the diagnosis, was the reason for a relatively early retirement.

00:30:09.450 --> 00:30:16.770
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I was allowed to see her, she was alert and I told her the good news I gave her my hand and she squeezed it hard she died a week later.

00:30:17.220 --> 00:30:28.710
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: amazing how she did not let on over all those months that she tutored me the vehicle of this lady's generosity carried me through the roughest terrain on my journey to where I wanted to go, unquote.

00:30:33.210 --> 00:30:40.590
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Okay, so as I painted these paintings and interviewed my mom I learned a lot about the two sides of the Jewish community.

00:30:41.130 --> 00:30:47.370
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: There was the world of the newly arrived refugees, as seen in the painting on the left and that of the Canadian Jews.

00:30:47.850 --> 00:30:59.940
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: These two paintings speak to that divide and i'm now going to read the story that goes with the painting on the right, which is entitled 1950 ladies auxiliary T for the United Jewish welfare fund here's the story.

00:31:01.380 --> 00:31:07.830
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When my parents immigrated to Montreal after the Holocaust, they, like so many survivors were absorbed by the established Jewish community.

00:31:08.580 --> 00:31:17.400
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: and never really thought about the task of welcoming thousands of refugees, many, if not most of whom arrived in Canada traumatized by the events of the Second World War.

00:31:18.090 --> 00:31:22.920
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: How did the established Jewish community prepare to help these people whose needs were so profound.

00:31:23.520 --> 00:31:29.130
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I have nothing but gratitude for the types of women like those pictured here who came together to fundraise.

00:31:29.400 --> 00:31:38.130
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: collect material donations volunteer at clothing bags and provide scholarships to young refugees and couldn't afford tuition for Jewish summer camps and schools.

00:31:38.700 --> 00:31:44.520
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I am certain that in the early 1950s my family benefited from these efforts and generosity.

00:31:45.270 --> 00:31:54.390
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: In many ways, however montreal's Jewish community, like so many established Jewish communities in North America was strange by the sudden influx of Jews from the old country.

00:31:55.020 --> 00:32:01.440
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Well, united by a common code of religious practice and customs these Jews couldn't have been more different from each other.

00:32:02.010 --> 00:32:12.750
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It was nearly impossible for the survivors to talk about the horrors inflicted by the Nazis and, frankly, the established Community was not all that interested in hearing about it, at least not back then.

00:32:13.230 --> 00:32:24.270
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It was beyond overwhelming for both sides, furthermore, the arrival of the refugees altered the landscape of the established Jewish community and that's pride, a sense of insecurity for them.

00:32:24.600 --> 00:32:30.960
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: With the very presence of these immigrants threatened direct will embrace them and tentative acceptance, the Canadian Jews have worked so hard to achieve.

00:32:31.590 --> 00:32:35.730
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Living quietly in suburbs, alongside the larger Gentile Canadian community.

00:32:36.510 --> 00:32:42.720
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The Canadian Jews had their own story, they were the descendants of parents and grandparents who fled the pogroms in Russia.

00:32:43.200 --> 00:32:51.030
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: at the turn of the century, these people arrived on boats, only to be greeted greeted by a Canadian society that had restricted neighborhoods hotels and beaches.

00:32:51.390 --> 00:32:56.040
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: quotas for higher education and outright disdain for the Jewish immigrants in their ways.

00:32:56.580 --> 00:33:10.230
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It took 50 years for those Jews and Canada to respond to this brand of anti semitism and build their own parallel institutions like the Jewish general hospital or social Club to the y ma che or the various Jewish community centers.

00:33:11.280 --> 00:33:20.730
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: As these early Canadian Jews amass wealth many simply wanted to just fit in to look and act like they're Gentile neighbors and deflect any negative attention.

00:33:21.240 --> 00:33:26.430
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The presence of the Holocaust survivors must have reminded them of their grandparents and the obstacles they overcame.

00:33:27.030 --> 00:33:32.370
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The Canadian Jews definitely cared about the well being of the Holocaust survivors and took responsibility to help them.

00:33:32.760 --> 00:33:42.120
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: But they didn't always want to socialize or live in the same neighborhoods as the refugees, perhaps it was too painful or it was snobbery or maybe a little bit of both.

00:33:42.840 --> 00:33:52.320
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Time is a funny thing, though, within a generation, the children and grandchildren of the refugees and those of the established Canadian Jews were almost immediately indistinguishable.

00:33:52.980 --> 00:33:58.500
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I know this firsthand most of my friends descended from the established Canadian Jewish community.

00:33:58.920 --> 00:34:10.050
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: We freely and happily socialized in each other's homes, we went to the same summer camps high schools and universities attended the same parties dated each other got married and build lifelong friendships together.

00:34:10.560 --> 00:34:18.930
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: For better for worse, this pattern repeated itself with the influx of the Russian Jews who arrived in Canada United States in the early 1990s.

00:34:24.000 --> 00:34:33.300
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So I now want to share these two paintings and focus on my great grandparents, you have hialeah on the right and go to mangle on the left.

00:34:33.900 --> 00:34:43.200
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: They were not married to each other rather they were melatonin in Los these two people stories were almost lost forever, because nobody wanted to talk about them.

00:34:43.770 --> 00:34:58.080
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I think I understand why immediately after they were murdered go to and highly is surviving family members had to compartmentalize these horrors and go into survival mode in order to get through the war save their children and each other.

00:34:58.620 --> 00:35:03.990
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: If they didn't my grandparents would have completely fallen apart, and then they all would have perished.

00:35:04.680 --> 00:35:11.520
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: But even in Canada, I believe my grandparents needed to stay partially in survival mode in order to keep moving forward with their lives.

00:35:12.120 --> 00:35:16.290
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: telling their parents stories would cause them to relive the horror all over again.

00:35:16.860 --> 00:35:24.840
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When my sisters and I were born my parents thought it was too scary to share their faith with us and they wanted to protect us, so we didn't have nightmares.

00:35:25.350 --> 00:35:41.250
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: In the end, my great grandparents were treated as if they didn't exist, but I wanted to know who they were and what happened to them my mom finally told me, so what i'm going to do now is read the story that goes with the painting on the Left it's called a dignified background.

00:35:42.390 --> 00:35:48.690
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And here's the story, the first time I learned about my great grandfather goodell Miguel was in middle school.

00:35:49.350 --> 00:35:53.610
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: We had to create a family tree and present in Ireland for a special class project.

00:35:54.180 --> 00:36:01.410
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My family tree was sparse it included all the names of my grandparents, but only a couple of names from my great grandparents generation and nothing else.

00:36:01.830 --> 00:36:11.100
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My parents were children during the Holocaust and they knew little very little about our past, I asked about goto one of the few names on the exotic great grandparent line.

00:36:11.730 --> 00:36:19.170
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My mother told me that he was taken by the Nazis and provided no other details I then asked if we had any family heirlooms and the answer was no.

00:36:19.590 --> 00:36:30.450
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Everything we had was acquired after the family immigrated to Canada in 1949 at that time our stuff was around 30 years old, so nothing passed from generation to generation.

00:36:30.900 --> 00:36:33.750
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: For a history lover like me, I felt deflated.

00:36:34.740 --> 00:36:40.440
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: When it was time to present our trees and heirlooms at school, I worried that my teacher would think that I didn't put any effort into the assignment.

00:36:40.740 --> 00:36:49.080
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I recall a boy in my class Teddy proudly wearing his great grandfather's First Nations headdress his family had been on the land for thousands of years.

00:36:49.410 --> 00:37:01.800
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I was jealous of Teddy he had a proud history that he could trace How ironic as Teddy spoke, I saw how much the Holocaust and rob my family our names and our records and our possessions were obliterated.

00:37:02.610 --> 00:37:11.730
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Fast forward to today thousands of documents are being uploaded almost daily onto websites dedicated to preserving precious details about who existed when the show started.

00:37:12.360 --> 00:37:19.590
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I searched go to mangle Imagine my surprise when a photo from a cracker ghetto identity card uploaded onto my monitor.

00:37:20.130 --> 00:37:30.180
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My handsome great grandfather looking humiliated resigned terrified brave and dignified all in the same moment was staring at me he was 66 years old.

00:37:30.660 --> 00:37:35.340
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My mom recognized them immediately, even though she was five years old, the last time she saw him alive.

00:37:35.940 --> 00:37:41.370
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: She finally shared what happened to go to his was one of our families unspeakable stories.

00:37:42.030 --> 00:37:47.250
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: grandfather photo was taken to one of the camps and was the victim of the show as most sinister of crimes.

00:37:47.880 --> 00:37:55.080
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I heard my mother's words like soundbites they used him for science experiments and they injected him with gasoline.

00:37:55.770 --> 00:38:01.080
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: it's no wonder, she didn't share details with me about him when I was in middle school I can barely put words to it now.

00:38:01.620 --> 00:38:11.850
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I suddenly realized that he has no grave and that his story was so close to being relegated to the dustbin of history, I could almost feel his soul lingering in the heavens, with no peace.

00:38:12.450 --> 00:38:22.770
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I decided to provide great grandfather goto with a small monument to honor his life as best I could I created this painting, out of a photo that was taken in an act of hatred.

00:38:23.430 --> 00:38:33.120
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My studio took on a sacred quality, I was able to reach across time and space and recreate an image of my great grandfather's face, but this time with love.

00:38:33.810 --> 00:38:41.910
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Every breaststroke felt important a powerful moment happened when the music on my iPhone live to the Leonard Cohen song you want it darker.

00:38:43.140 --> 00:38:52.680
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Just as I felt I had captured goodell's likeness I heard the haunting words of the chorus singing he named me he named me, which means here I am.

00:38:53.250 --> 00:38:58.680
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: my eyes filled with tears, the background pattern is from my dining room wallpaper.

00:38:58.950 --> 00:39:16.650
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The room were girls great great grandchildren come together, every week to celebrate shabbat and continue living our Jewish heritage, the real heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation may you find abundant piece from heaven dear great grandfather go down.

00:39:19.230 --> 00:39:20.460
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Okay, one last one.

00:39:23.520 --> 00:39:29.700
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This painting is called the simpler or a joyful occasion and it was taken in 1974 this image.

00:39:30.270 --> 00:39:36.210
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So this this presentation winds down, I want to conclude by showing you a painting I started working on at the beginning of the pandemic.

00:39:37.140 --> 00:39:43.260
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This was my quarantine project and its lofty with 31 faces to paint in one image.

00:39:44.010 --> 00:39:52.320
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I wanted to paint this one, because this is the group that started in Krakow before the war survived the Holocaust and then immigrated to Canada to build a new life.

00:39:52.920 --> 00:40:00.570
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The photo was taken in the 1970s and my cousin Helens wedding in Montreal, and it was the last time, they would all have a photo, taken together, like that.

00:40:01.020 --> 00:40:10.440
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: my grandparents died shortly after that wedding the people here are hialeah and go to mangles to sentence, the woman seated and blew my insula.

00:40:10.920 --> 00:40:23.490
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Is the little girl who was sitting on high last lap and the last painting she and her siblings were saved by Oscar Schindler the boy in the middle, is my cousin Jerry he was named for goodell mango.

00:40:24.630 --> 00:40:35.040
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Every single person in this image was touched by the Holocaust, you have our American cousins from New York City who lived with tremendous guilt that they didn't bother to sponsor the family from Cracow.

00:40:35.460 --> 00:40:41.670
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: These newer cousin spent the rest of their lives feeling so burdened by highest murder and the suffering of family.

00:40:42.360 --> 00:40:50.760
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My mother told me that they were quite well to do and every time, one of the survivor cousins got married or had a baby, the New York City cousins would send $5,000 gifts.

00:40:51.060 --> 00:41:01.800
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: That was, and frankly still is a lot of money, especially in those days, you have my uncle Shia who lost his parents and siblings and his entire extended family in the concentration camps.

00:41:02.280 --> 00:41:08.100
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My mother told me that he was so protective over his children and that created a lot of pressure in their household.

00:41:08.790 --> 00:41:18.840
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: You have my dad and my and Sylvia who survived by hiding in a forest for 19 months, you have my cousins Mary Helen and lorna who are born in dp camps in Italy, following the war.

00:41:19.200 --> 00:41:26.640
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And you have my older sisters in the front row, all of whom were named for great grandparents, who were systematically and brutally murdered.

00:41:27.600 --> 00:41:35.400
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The reason why I wanted to create this painting now, especially during code was because it enabled me to remind myself that dark times do pass.

00:41:35.880 --> 00:41:44.850
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I see all these people who live through the unthinkable dressed in their pink and purple dresses celebrating a good occasion at a simpler and I remain optimistic.

00:41:45.150 --> 00:41:52.410
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: That what we've been going through now with this pandemic will pass and we will all come back together again for better days ahead.

00:41:53.760 --> 00:41:59.190
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Alright, so that concludes my presentation, or even stop the share.

00:42:00.210 --> 00:42:05.910
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: and bring it back to you, and if there are questions i'm happy to answer.

00:42:06.930 --> 00:42:10.260
Ari Goldstein: Jackie your art is amazing Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

00:42:10.470 --> 00:42:11.700
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Thank you it's my pleasure.

00:42:12.720 --> 00:42:17.670
Ari Goldstein: please feel free to share questions in the Q amp a box will take as many as we can now.

00:42:18.030 --> 00:42:18.390
Let me.

00:42:19.500 --> 00:42:21.060
Ari Goldstein: start with this question from amy.

00:42:21.420 --> 00:42:32.640
Ari Goldstein: she's asking what are the dimensions of your paintings and I might build on that and asked if you could tell us a little bit about the physical painting process, you mentioned that a lot of them started with photographs, what else plays a role in your process.

00:42:33.210 --> 00:42:36.150
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Oh, those are fantastic questions Okay, so I have.

00:42:37.170 --> 00:42:45.510
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: pain regions range in size, you can actually probably see the one behind me of my father's graduation it's tiny it's literally like the size of a piece of paper like eight by 11.

00:42:46.620 --> 00:42:50.910
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And they range, the largest paintings that I make in this collection or 30 by 40.

00:42:51.750 --> 00:42:59.160
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: In a comfortable size that you'll see often for me is 30 by 30 or 24 by 36 so they range that there's a whole bunch of them.

00:42:59.610 --> 00:43:08.250
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: and your next question or he was about the process and what i'm thinking about okay so there's there's like a million there's a million things going on, so.

00:43:09.030 --> 00:43:16.500
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: One of the things that I love and maybe the photographers out there can answer this but there's something about the way I like a camera photographs.

00:43:17.070 --> 00:43:23.700
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: People they sort of catch them when they're really natural, so I do really love the sort of naturalness of.

00:43:24.300 --> 00:43:31.890
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: photos taken by the leica camera and it happens to my father was a really gifted photographer just catching things that I guess he felt were important to.

00:43:32.850 --> 00:43:44.460
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: document for the family, but of course we're so used to high resolution, and so I I take black and white pictures or or a take you know sort of dim color photos and I just write them up.

00:43:45.030 --> 00:43:53.760
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: and often what i'll do is i'll take patterns that are meaningful to me so, for example, in the end the smarter business store you have everything going on here there's.

00:43:54.060 --> 00:44:02.430
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: there's fabric from dresses that we were from as children, you have the wallpaper pattern from my childhood bedroom I really tried to incorporate.

00:44:03.180 --> 00:44:11.790
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The red polka dots just to sort of acknowledge my great grandmother and her story to sort of have a thread that connects to her mind the reference thread but.

00:44:12.150 --> 00:44:21.630
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And then I also punch it up with this Green and White polka dot thing and that's a slight nod to Alex cats, who is a real favorite artist of mine uses that pattern lot of his work.

00:44:23.100 --> 00:44:30.270
Ari Goldstein: So that's a good segue to a question from Ashton here on because Alex cats you just mentioned are there other North American artists that inspired you work.

00:44:30.840 --> 00:44:41.610
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Oh, my gosh there's so many and so of course there's Alex can I love fairfield border David hockey, certainly when I do my swimming pools and.

00:44:42.660 --> 00:44:53.280
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: there's a slim aaron's to also a little more simple direction Jewish I was a little bit harder for me to connect to I know there's some really incredible Jewish artists out there.

00:44:53.700 --> 00:45:07.410
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: there's actually a local artists here his name is Howard Schwartz and he totally has my number, and he loves the idea of working with vintage family images as well, but he doesn't mean collage form, so I would look him up to how it works in Chicago as an artist fabulous.

00:45:08.670 --> 00:45:16.770
Ari Goldstein: I told I I totally see the David hockney in your in your work as well here's hoping that you work goes at auction to at the same price that is.

00:45:16.950 --> 00:45:17.610
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Good yeah right.

00:45:19.980 --> 00:45:30.600
Ari Goldstein: um there's a question from duan about how you're surviving family members feel about you sharing your family story through art in this sort of public way.

00:45:32.670 --> 00:45:39.060
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Well, I guess we'll have to ask them, but so far they keep coming to my talks so i'm assuming they're not they're into it.

00:45:40.140 --> 00:45:43.980
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And there are a lot of them are on this call tonight so i'm thrilled i'm you know.

00:45:44.940 --> 00:45:50.640
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I think what i'm hearing mostly, I think, from the next generation my my children my sister's children is gratitude.

00:45:51.210 --> 00:45:53.550
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Because these stories we're going to disappear.

00:45:54.000 --> 00:46:03.030
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And we're not for my sort of you know, I had this really think God amazing relationship with my mom I call her every day we chitchat and it's been a really good project for the two of us to.

00:46:03.450 --> 00:46:11.820
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: You know, ask questions and then what it's done is it's forced my mother up for us, I mean she's wanted to do a show she'll call her cousins and corroborate some of her memories.

00:46:12.120 --> 00:46:19.710
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And so, for example, my mom told me that she got together with their cousin Mary and she asked her you know just a really simple question.

00:46:20.310 --> 00:46:34.110
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: How did your parents get on to schindler's list you know, like that's just a straight it's a good question and Mary said, well, as it turns out her mother's best friend was dating Oscar Schindler and he said, who would you like on the list.

00:46:35.400 --> 00:46:35.760
Ari Goldstein: Oh.

00:46:36.210 --> 00:46:50.580
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: He list she listed everybody she knew, including my entire family so was just that was such a little tiny corner of history that I don't think you would see in the movies, or anything that's just stuff that you find out from talking and asking questions.

00:46:51.090 --> 00:46:52.860
Ari Goldstein: how's your mom doing she's still in Toronto.

00:46:53.160 --> 00:46:58.980
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: My mother is so in Toronto and she's incredible she's an artist she's incredibly gifted so i'm so grateful if some of.

00:46:59.550 --> 00:47:11.070
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: You know some of our genetic material and she's also giving me a real strong level of colors so in stark contrast to the heavy rabbi paintings and hung up my house, we have a lot of beautiful work that she created over the years.

00:47:12.390 --> 00:47:19.500
Ari Goldstein: barb is asking if you could dive into your use of color a little bit more, and you mentioned that phrase which I love that you remember the survivors and living color.

00:47:21.210 --> 00:47:27.180
Ari Goldstein: Is your use of color have a way of contracting with the somber subject matter, or is it not, that direct.

00:47:27.390 --> 00:47:32.550
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: It depends, I mean for that one that I just completed right now the hater I was very disciplined.

00:47:33.060 --> 00:47:40.470
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Because I like I like lots of color and it's funny because I only wear like black and page, but when I paint I love color um.

00:47:41.160 --> 00:47:51.210
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And so, for the fader when I felt that that seemed still really sad as a sad moment in history, and I wanted to convey that by just sort of sticking to a very monochromatic palette of blues.

00:47:51.750 --> 00:47:59.340
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: But to me it's these people were they were characters they were joyful people to be around they were fun I didn't.

00:47:59.760 --> 00:48:09.840
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: You know you have to understand that, from my perspective, I didn't grow up thinking that the Holocaust happened in black and white movies, it was it was these people who were so nice and.

00:48:10.140 --> 00:48:19.560
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: You know, like I said, we were like miracles to them, so I remember them with such fondness and I guess maybe that's why there's so much color there and it's also like a way to paint like me.

00:48:20.160 --> 00:48:31.500
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I love you know color rich paintings and I wanted to figure out well how can I do this with you know my way so yeah I I painted them as I remember them it's.

00:48:31.560 --> 00:48:38.040
Ari Goldstein: kind of amazing I mean, I think you know I said at the museum, we had this collection of more than 30,000 photographs and artifacts and.

00:48:38.850 --> 00:48:49.740
Ari Goldstein: You walk around and there's a lot of visual material but it's like all in black and white, or a sort of sepia tone so there's I was really struck by the fact that you're telling stories in a new way by using color that's beautiful.

00:48:50.400 --> 00:49:08.490
Ari Goldstein: Thank you, can you talk about so your your experiences for Canadian growing up your your now American or you live in Chicago do you get the sense that Canadians survivors and two g's had different experiences in any way from American survivors and two g's and, if so, how.

00:49:09.750 --> 00:49:23.880
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: I am a rare bird in my Community I, I know, very few two g's, but when I do, I have one friend who's a 2G and we kind of love we love sort of connecting because we really understand the humor and.

00:49:24.690 --> 00:49:31.020
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Just the nuances of what it was like to grow with that generation and their sense of humor the dry sense of humor the way they spoke.

00:49:31.740 --> 00:49:40.590
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And so from that standpoint, you know I think there's a lot of similarities, I actually think the thing that I find amazing about this entire project is.

00:49:41.640 --> 00:49:51.120
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: we're all kind of the same like that's in it's very it's it's like a really reassuring type of feeling for me because i've done this presentation in.

00:49:52.290 --> 00:50:08.280
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: The quad cities and truth be told, i'm not Americans I don't have to know this, but I had to look it up on a map like we're the quad cities and they completely related to these stories, so I actually think Jewish communities have some nuanced differences but we're all really alike.

00:50:11.460 --> 00:50:16.170
Ari Goldstein: Well, I think, her probably, particularly in Canada in the US, but you have a unique lens having experienced both places.

00:50:18.450 --> 00:50:18.870
Ari Goldstein: and

00:50:20.790 --> 00:50:24.900
Ari Goldstein: There are some questions about the future of the project, so you started.

00:50:25.440 --> 00:50:37.890
Ari Goldstein: Creating this collection and it's 35 paintings, but I think you showed us more than 35 of the course of the presentation, are there you have multiple collections that are incorporated there, and is it sort of limitless into the future.

00:50:38.160 --> 00:50:50.790
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: haha well, it was a long pandemic, I had to keep myself busy so and and once you know I think inspiration is an amazing thing, because once it starts.

00:50:51.150 --> 00:50:58.590
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: it's like a font that keeps going and you believe it will never end but so far i'm in this stage of LIFE there's so many different angles, to tell the story and.

00:50:59.070 --> 00:51:04.080
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Different paintings, to make and so i'm constantly dreaming them up, so I think when I.

00:51:04.740 --> 00:51:11.670
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: started presenting this to you yeah there were maybe 30 when I started with you, then we can 35 and I think i'm i'm into 40 paintings.

00:51:12.090 --> 00:51:17.790
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So it does keep going, and as for the future of this present this event so.

00:51:18.720 --> 00:51:27.060
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: it's a good question first of all, you know I very nicely thought was just going to do a traveling exhibit but there's nothing quite like launching a traveling exhibit during a pandemic.

00:51:27.780 --> 00:51:32.670
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: But, like most of us, you know we all had to and May we never use this word again pivot.

00:51:33.060 --> 00:51:42.030
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And figure out another approach to things and I discovered the power of zoom artists talks and I was able to actually stand here like with a megaphone reaching audiences.

00:51:42.330 --> 00:51:51.480
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Everywhere in fact i'm doing a talk on Thursday for the South African Holocaust and genocide Center which is incredible so what i'm hoping is is that.

00:51:51.900 --> 00:52:04.260
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: This is sort of like a precursor to what will become hopefully a traveling exhibit once we've put this pandemic behind us and our galleries and museums are running at full speed so i'll be working on that in the next few months.

00:52:04.650 --> 00:52:08.490
Ari Goldstein: i'd love to be able to walk into a museum ours or another museum and see you see your work and.

00:52:09.060 --> 00:52:10.050
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: i'll just say the word.

00:52:12.090 --> 00:52:20.730
Ari Goldstein: Or is asking about your own kids and how you talk about your family story with them, and in what ways didn't their experiences as.

00:52:22.620 --> 00:52:24.690
Ari Goldstein: Three g's or different floors as a 2G.

00:52:27.360 --> 00:52:35.970
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: amazing questions um okay so first of all, I think, part of what informed, a lot of my Jewish decisions, probably had something to do with coming.

00:52:36.390 --> 00:52:49.560
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: You know, coming into this world a second second generation, so my we are the big Jews in our Community where like the rare people who choose Jewish day school over these incredible public schools that are right around the corner from our home in or suburb.

00:52:50.670 --> 00:52:59.700
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: But I, I do not regret that decision for one second, I think it was an incredible partner in what I think is an uphill battle in terms of raising.

00:53:01.050 --> 00:53:14.190
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: kids who feel connected and love being Jewish so so my kids had a lot of Holocaust education in at Solomon schechter day school and Rochelle Jewish high school where they attended school.

00:53:14.670 --> 00:53:21.240
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And I think for them, it was I wouldn't call it a point of pride, but it was certainly a point of connection that, when they did those holocaust.

00:53:22.770 --> 00:53:26.640
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: sessions in school, they could connect it to themselves personally.

00:53:27.900 --> 00:53:32.370
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: it's interesting that the behavior that we transmit from one generation to the next.

00:53:33.510 --> 00:53:43.590
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: my daughter who's 14 came home, one day, and she was watching a video of a woman who was a Holocaust survivor who was discussing the experience of.

00:53:44.220 --> 00:53:49.500
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: forgiving Mengele for doing experiments on her and her twin sister.

00:53:50.280 --> 00:54:01.500
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And my daughter was watching this and she was so upset by this and I had only just learned about my great grandfather and I literally couldn't tell her that this was in our family.

00:54:01.860 --> 00:54:14.460
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: So, for all I know she's learning about it right now watching this but and I apologize in advance to my daughter for that, but um I think it's important and the other thing that's interesting too is you know my son.

00:54:15.900 --> 00:54:21.300
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: He keeps goto mangles painting, like the photo of it close to his desk at school.

00:54:22.560 --> 00:54:32.580
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: so that you know this past year, with the pandemic, it was emotional was difficult it was stressful and he said, sometimes you just look at it and gain strength from that and just go I can do this, too.

00:54:34.890 --> 00:54:39.810
Ari Goldstein: And i'm sure you're talking about Eva core who founded the Holocaust Museum in indiana candles.

00:54:39.840 --> 00:54:40.770
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Yes, Center.

00:54:40.830 --> 00:54:42.330
Ari Goldstein: And she just passed away last year.

00:54:43.740 --> 00:54:51.180
Ari Goldstein: um you mentioned as part of your sort of origin stories and artists, that there was Jewish art on your walls growing up, but it wasn't.

00:54:51.810 --> 00:54:54.840
Ari Goldstein: representative of your Jewish experience.

00:54:55.530 --> 00:55:08.490
Ari Goldstein: You have helped diversify the candidate Jewish are producing all this, these rich paintings are do you feel that now there are a lot more artists that are covering that that part of the Jewish experience are we still in the same situation we were when you started.

00:55:09.960 --> 00:55:18.450
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: i've seen bits and pieces of it and it's coming I think people are trying to find that voice, not unlike me, you know.

00:55:18.990 --> 00:55:24.570
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: it's it's it's and i'm finding people on instagram which is amazing, it has its uses.

00:55:25.110 --> 00:55:34.440
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And people who are trying to do, like a more contemporary approach to the paintings and that we're used to seeing contemporary images of rabbis and find their own expression of its I actually think.

00:55:34.890 --> 00:55:47.910
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Jewish shirt is probably this type of contemporary Jewish artists, is a growing field and there's lots to develop here and so maybe that's why you know when I spoke to 35 paintings and i'm probably a 45.

00:55:48.960 --> 00:55:52.260
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Because it's it's rich there's a lot there.

00:55:55.740 --> 00:55:56.070
Ari Goldstein: and

00:55:57.990 --> 00:56:04.290
Ari Goldstein: there's so many questions here i'm sorry we're not going to get to all them all right Leslie is asking this feels important which camp, did you go to she went to a camp winnebago.

00:56:04.800 --> 00:56:08.910
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Oh, when a bagel and cream cheese that's I remember the DJ at our middle school said that.

00:56:10.590 --> 00:56:12.330
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Raw I went to camp for MMA.

00:56:12.930 --> 00:56:23.040
Ari Goldstein: Oh awesome i'll plug for everyone and we're actually developing a very exciting program right now with a museum for this July, about the history of American Jewish summer camp, which is a fascinating story more.

00:56:24.090 --> 00:56:32.220
Ari Goldstein: Jews per capita send more kids to summer camps than any other ethnic group in North America, so you are part of that story, and hopefully we can tell it a little bit.

00:56:32.310 --> 00:56:40.440
Ari Goldstein: line and Jackie, we need to wrap up in a minute, I want to ask you what you'd like to leave us with in terms of a message, or something to remember.

00:56:42.120 --> 00:56:44.040
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Well, given.

00:56:45.750 --> 00:56:53.370
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Given what today feels like, and you know both today like may 11 with what's going on in Israel and given what this past year is felt like.

00:56:54.450 --> 00:57:07.050
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: And I want to take you back to the line from sunrise sunset Jewish life is laden with happiness and tears I, I just wish everybody more happiness and fewer tears that's what i'll leave it with.

00:57:08.040 --> 00:57:08.790
Ari Goldstein: Thanks Jackie.

00:57:09.900 --> 00:57:18.990
Ari Goldstein: Our audience should know that you have a book of your growing up Jewish series, so we put the link to that in the chat as well as your website, which is a great way to explore some of your work.

00:57:19.410 --> 00:57:24.150
Ari Goldstein: And it's such a joy and an honor to have a window into what you do this evening, so thank you.

00:57:25.560 --> 00:57:36.750
Ari Goldstein: I should also mention that everything we do at the Museum of Jewish heritage is made possible through donor support so to those of you listening, this evening, who are members of donors of the museum, thank you, it makes a great difference.

00:57:36.960 --> 00:57:43.350
Ari Goldstein: And if those of you who aren't we'd appreciate, if you would consider making a contribution in support of our work, the link to that is in the chat as well.

00:57:43.890 --> 00:57:58.260
Ari Goldstein: Our next public program is this Thursday at 2pm Eastern we'll be exploring American political leaders and the responses to the Holocaust, with an interesting panel of experts, so you can check out that register for that program and check out our other programs on our website.

00:57:59.460 --> 00:58:03.720
Ari Goldstein: We wish everyone safety and health and a great evening, and thank you for joining us.

00:58:04.290 --> 00:58:04.980
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle: Thank you IRA.

00:58:05.340 --> 00:58:05.910
I Jackie.