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Fine-Art „Giclée“-Print on canvas – stretched over a wooden frame with a depth of 2 cm

Illustration by Roman Kroke (2009)

Mesures: 40 cm x 30 cm

Customized title: language freely selectable – please specify the language of your choice during the order (in the preview: French)

Annotations by the artist about the concept of the illustration:

I created the illustration on the basis of the following citations from Etty’s diary:

“And now Jews may no longer visit greengrocers’ shops, they will soon have to hand in their bicycles, they may no longer travel by tram, and they must be off the streets by eight o’clock at night.”

12 June 1942

 “We are not allowed to walk along the Promenade any longer, and every miserable little clump of two or three trees has been pronounced a wood with a board nailed up: No Admittance to Jews.”

22 March 1942

“But above the one narrow path still left to us stretches the sky, intact. They can’t do anything to us, they really can’t. (…) We may of course be sad and depressed by what has been done to us; that is only human and understandable. However, (…) I find life beautiful, and I feel free. The sky within me is as wide as the one stretching above my head. (…) Life is hard, but that is no bad thing. If one starts by taking one’s own importance seriously, the rest follows. It is not morbid individualism to work on oneself.”

21 June 1942

The image of the sky is a recurring metaphor in Etty’s diary: the expanse of the sky as a symbol for freedom. Another central element in her use of metaphors as revealed in the diary excerpts is that of an inner and an outer world: the sky “within me”/”above my head” - two worlds which have many characteristics in common and interact strongly. I also deal with this understanding of hers in the illustration “God”. In that context, Etty compares people with buildings which you can enter; buildings with open doors, corridors and rooms.

Through the illustration “Sky”, I wanted to express this intertwining of the inner and outer worlds through Etty’s posture. Her outspread arms point towards the sky above her – whereas her closed eyes are oriented towards the sky within. On the one hand, the illustration depicts Etty in the centre of the scene and, therefore, as a part of a world in which Jews are subject to more and more discrimination. On the other hand, Etty’s body is only partially included in the picture – with this I express a certain independence from the outside world which Etty had been developing during the course of her process of maturation. A source of inspiration for this illustration was another passage from the diary in which Etty compares herself with a wandering Jew, wrapped up in cloud. A cloud of her own thoughts and feelings that envelope and accompany her, in which she feels warm, protected and safe (Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life, p. 43).