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“Steal A Pencil For Me”

I was looking for a biographical documentary on about Tamara de Lempicka – one of my favourite painters – and instead I stumbled upon this documentary.  No Tamara de Lempicka, but sometimes we must go with the flow and just go along for the ride as something else is revealed totally unrelated to our oh-so important plans.

This doc is a must-watch about Jaap and Ina, a lovely married couple of 60-years who were Holocaust survivors living in German-occupied Amsterdam.  Hard to imagine a love triangle story has ever been told like this.  The United Nations had a special showing of this in 2007.

The evolution of German domination is an eerie reminder of how gradually power can be taken away from people; so gradually, that it barely provokes a reaction.  Like a frog in a pot of boiling water as it is barely turned up degree by degree, until at that point when the water is boiling and it is too late to jump out.  Let this be a reminder that we fight injustices at the smallest level, so that they can’t have a chance to grow into unmanageable monstrous ones that become almost impossible  to fight. This really is a sweet charming couple.  To write about this documentary is pointless.  Please watch it.  Beautiful story, even if gutwrenching.

Watch it here – running time 90 minutes. 

The letter writing is priceless.  One of the great tragedies of our generation is that they are long-since a relic of the past.  Who will tell our stories? How will they be told?  Will they even be told? When my grandfather died, and I went to stay with my grandmother, she brought me to her bedroom and opened three large boxes full of letters, dating from 1937 at the beginning of the courship with grandfather to 1944, chronicling their courtship, marriage, separation through his military service in Germany during WWII.  I was 17 years old when my dear grandfather died…I am so grateful I had the chance to get to know him better through these letters.  But this is not about my grandparents.  May we remember history through “his” story and “her” story.  And may we take the time to record our stories – and do the unimaginable from time to time.  Write a letter…by hand!  Gasp!


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