Marta & Josef Kleinmann, fraternal twins, were born in 1940 in Prague. In 1941 Josef and Marta were taken to Theresienstadt with their older sister and mother, their father had been murdered. From Theresienstadt the Josef and Marta were transported to Auschwitz where they were given the numbers A-2459 and A-9431 and as twins became the charges of Dr Mengele.
2010 in a CANDLES interview Josef writes; I feel that she is still alive somewhere in this world.
I am asking you, the reader, somebody, please help me somehow find my twin sister. I have been searching for her since 1945. If you have a heart, help me find my twin sister. Her number, tattooed on her arm, is A-4931; her name was Marta Kleinmann. I don't know what her name is today.
In response to Josef’s plea, a murmur seeded within me; ‘Yes, somehow Josef, in my own way, I can help you find your sister. She is here, she is with me.’
Making the work for this exhibition set me on a path that lasted only a few months but spanned from Kristallnacht in1938 – to liberation in 1945 and to here, today. On that journey I made 30 completed sculptures in crystal, glass and water because I could not work with bone and tooth and rag, my familiar materials were too brutal to make a portrait of my dear survivor, Josef Klineman. Only after these water sculptures were made and my study ended could I make the woven bone portrait of Josef and his twin Marta. Of those sculptures I have chosen “Heirloom” in silver, brass and crystal. I include “Heirloom” as a gift to Marta and Josef, to commemorate every thing they have missed sharing together in life and to acknowledge the fragility and the strength that forms the substance of any thing or any tradition or any one that survives from that time to this.
Marta & Josef *preliminary sketch 2012
steel armature, acrylic resin, woven bird vertebrae
65 X 33 X 85 cm *approximately
antique and vintage crystal, glass, silver,
brass, water, electricity
33 X 33 X 28 cm *approximately