University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
chgs@umn.edu
612-624-0256


CHGS

Kitty Klaidman

Klaidman was a hidden child. She and her family hid in a Slovakian rural attic space for several years. They could come out only at night. These paintings of attic scenes were done after a return visit to Sastin, Slovakia. The photo-copy-generated works on canvas deal with the environment outside the home, mainly an area of forests.

Artist's Statement

Somehow, it seems to take about forty years for survivors to come to terms with their personal Holocaust experiences. It took me just over forty years to return to the places in western Slovakia where I was hidden as a child. Ever since that trip, I have been working out my feelings about this part of my past through images on canvas and paper.

The paintings in this exhibition depict the dark hiding places in which I was confined with my parents and brother. In each of these works, I introduced a seemingly paradoxical infusion of light, which may represent the remarkable fact that my immediate family survived intact. What it surely represents, however, is that the existence of people like Jan Velicky, the man most responsible for saving us, serves as a beacon of hope in the most desperate times. For me, being able to confront these spaces, as they are now and as I remember them, made me realize the extent to which I have already made peace with my past.

Artworks

The Last Journey

Kitty Klaidman
Hidden Memories:Attic in Sastin,1991 Acrylic on paper
60 x 120

A delicately painted work, Klaidman provides a sense of the claustrophobic attic spaces she lived in during the Holocaust. However, there is a redemptive aspect to the painting, as the cross in the center may be an inadvertant recognition of heroic Christians who rescued this Jewish family.

Vilna Ghetto

Kitty Klaidman
The Crawl Space,1991 Acrylic on paper
40 x 60

These paintings of attic scenes were done after a return visit to Sastin, Slovakia, several years ago.

Crematories

Kitty Klaidman
Childhood Revisited the Journey II,1991 Mixed Media
35 x 32

These attic scenes were done after a return visit to Sastin, Slovakia, several years ago. The Xerox-generated works on canvas deal with the environment outside the home, mainly an area of forests.

Childhood Revisted the Journey II

Kitty Klaidman
Childhood Revisited the Journey II,1991 Mixed Media
17 1/2 x 16

Klaidman's works are strongly directed toward the power of memory. A dark stairway in the Sastin home is both menacing and also a place for survival.

Childhood Revisited the Journey II

Kitty Klaidman
Childhood Revisited the Journey II,1991 Mixed Media
17 1/2 x 16

Forests around Sastin were dangerous. Klaidman and her family could go out only at night for a small amount of time. On one occasion, they got lost and nearly were discovered by the Gestapo.

Childhood Revisited the Journey II

Kitty Klaidman
Childhood Revisited the Journey II,1991 Mixed Media
17 1/2 x 16

Klaidman pays homage to the Christian family who offered her own family shelter. The use of photos and the shadows around the border suggests the difficulties of memory

 

Page updated 2012.