About half a year before our dear old Granddad died I ordered a special Portrait. I knew that Gdad spoke of a painting of an Indian chief when he was a child. He was so fond of it and happy that his dad had it. But the painting and his dad got lost during the terrible riots during the Weimarer Republik when he was eleven years of age. And all the rest got lost in the terrible events of WWII. Gdad had to leave his home at the age of 17 to be sent off to die in Russia. But he survived the Crimean and could get away from war captivity. Then was deployed in Romania where he led the casino. He worked a lot with people there and got befriended with jewish victuallers. And he also had a friendship with their daughter. It might have been more. He often visited the family and got there on “his” hourse Sena. But war and the Nazi regime were merciless. So he helped jewish friends and other Romanians not to get deported when it got worse. Unfortunately he could not save all of them. Then he had to leave to Italy. There he refused following the order to fight against partisans by hiding away in the ammunition room. After his arrest he had his first day off to walk along the harbour in Triest. Again dreaming of sailing away on a big and free ship to get away from all those terrible events and to see happy places of the planet. And of course to get home to see his mother. On his walk the harbour got attacked by British air force and his right foot got torn by a shell. He was 22 years of age. All in all he was lucky; he had not been sent back to any front and got back to Germany. But his home was bombed and in ruins…
After war with recurring high fever attacks and a foot that was just sewed together, walking on crutches he didn´t find a job. And in such situation his mother died. Totally down, injured, traumatised and alone he didn´t give up. He tried to do something as a freelancer. On a longer way he succeeded in constructing a car from scrap and parts he could get. So he drove his own taxi. Working for the British troups for a while and then also took part in providing first new money to German folks- Deutsche Mark, he got back on his feet. So he made his way… Later fulfilled one of his life dreams again and made his pilot´s licence. And he got a family… and lost most of them again.
Finally Mum, my brother and I were there. And then my son joined us. How precious it is to have such a lovely bunch.
So I wanted gdad to have a painting from his years and dreams of freedom and stations of his turbulent life. I found an artist I trusted to create a portrait of all the aspects. and it was quite dramatic irony that it was one from UK.
I sent photographs from all over gdad´s life in black and white and in colour and we discussed which ones were the most expressive to take as models. For the black and white one with the horse we had to find out of which colour the uniform was. The process of the painting was very deep reflection for me to get into gdad´s life. How close things suddenly came to me.
When gdad received the painting as a surprise he was so overwhelmed and happy. With tears in his eyes he discovered the details and got taken with memories. The only piece of art he ever had for his own, and it summed up himself. He felt honoured so much and was so grateful. When I suggested to take a photo together with the portrait gdad dressed his best suit jacket and took place in his best arm chair. Mum and my son around him. Gdad felt like real peace had come to earth. As if he just signed a contract about it. And like a wonder the fever didn´t come back and for the first time since 1944 his war injury dried and closed.
And now writing all this I have to cry again with pride and hope. RIP and freedom, Granddad and dad for us all. x
And please, my dearest gentle readers and friends, enjoy life and take care about yourself and where you are needed. Crown the Living. Every single soul needs bread, home, peace and freedom so much.
And thank you, @DaveMooreArt, for the wonderful painting. We are so grateful.