2015. augusztus 29., szombat

Detail on the wall (‘Kaukasi’ Beth Midrasz)


This detail of wall is from the former synagogue, the ‘Synagoga Kaukaska’ or the ‘Kavkas Synagogue’ in Krynki, North Poland (built in 1850). The name ‘kaukasi’ Beth Midrasz comes from the merchants who were bringing the leather from Caucasus local tanneries. This fragment, we can read it in this way, is a powerful symbol of history. Of that history, which has been happening right now to us.
When there is a wound (when fellow human beings are wounded, including us, by external, uncontrolled forces in history), somehow, our horizon becomes narrow. From the big picture we cannot see more than this compressed fragment of reality. This close-up does not allow us to see the building, the wider streets, the wider environment of ‘Krynki’ ‒ what is going on beyond the immediate moment.
Yet, and this is the power of the human eye, the more we focus on this enclosure, the more we want to see of the ‘beyond’. We want to reconstruct, regain reality; a better understanding of history. What happened to this Jewry; how did these people live?; how this village would look like if the Nazi occupation and their deportation had never taken place?
The crisis caused by ‘illegal immigration into Europe’ or the ‘refugee crisis’ is a similar wound on our wall. What world is it in which we live? What forces are controlling it; what forces control us, our judgements and hearts and minds? In brief, who is in control? Now, among many, the incomers and the locals, fear grows large. But what is beyond this fear? What is the message of this compelling, most of the time unseen and un-contemplated, detail written on our walls?