Portrait of Helga


Helga was a consummate homemaker and great cook. She managed to keep alive some of the dishes from her youth and cooked them for her family and friends. One such dish was made with plums that she baked into a cake-like dessert called twetschen kucken (plum cake). It was one of her signature dishes. In the portrait of her, I included this dish in the lower left corner. I also felt that I needed to include the two parts of her life: her early life in Germany that she was forced to abandon and her new life in America. It was a source of unending sorrow for her that she had to leave her parents during the Holocaust. She survived, and they did not. Once in America, she created a new life and gained happiness from her new family.

In Helga’s portrait, I painted from an old photograph of her with her father and other relatives walking at a German health spa. Her brother Martin is behind her. She looks to be about 8 years old. She seems perky and full of love for her family. Above and to the left is the street in Ansbach where she grew up. In the lower right corner, I painted Helga as a shadow, holding her granddaughter as she only had a short time with her before her death.

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