Friday, October 9, 2015

Sepia Saturday 300: Images of the Deceased

Sepia Saturday - A weekly meme providing a visual prompt for participants to share their own photographs. (I'm going to share some poetry as well.)

It is thought that this image may be an example of a Post-Mortem photograph, where at least one of the individuals is deceased. An appropriate image as we are in the month of October and Halloween. The boy and man both look as if this might be the case.

I don't have any post-mortem photographs, but the feeling one gets seeing images of the dead reminds me of the images I saw in French Children of the Holocaust, by Serge Klarsfeld, 1996. (The book can be viewed online.)

A publication of Jewish children deported from France (very many of which were not French nationals, but earlier refugees from elsewhere in Europe). The book includes alphabetical lists of children by convoy, indicating surname, forename, birthdate, birthplace, assembly center, convoy number, deportation date, and last address in France, followed by a photographic section featuring portraits and other information on many of the children. There are two indexes, a general name index to the deportation lists and an name index to the photograph section.

Ida CANTKERT was born on October 14, 1927, in Paris (12th arr.). She lived at 20 rue Basfroi (11th arr.). She was deported on convoy 68 of February 10, 1944, with her sisters Frida, age 4, and Suzanne, 8, and her brother Paul, 10.


It is possible that I am related distantly to Ida and her siblings. My second great grandmother, Rose Cantkert Newmark, came from Warka, Poland, on the outskirts of Warsaw. The deportation lists indicate that Ida and her siblings were born in Paris. But there is no indication of where her parents were born.

Excerpt from: Mid-Term Break - by Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying—
He had always taken funerals in his stride—
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'.
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

[full poem]


Little Nell said...

What a moving contribution. The Heaney poem stops us in our tracks.

Anonymous said...

Some reactions are too moving to put into words so I will just say thank you for this post.

Rosie said...

Ida was a very lovely looking lady, poem was a good contribution. Good post.

Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

Yes, I agree with the others...the photo and poem are very moving.

La Nightingail said...

The full poem is very moving. Thank you for sharing.

Martin said...

touched by the poignancy, John.

Mike Brubaker said...

Indeed this was a very moving post, thank you. Poetry serves an important purpose sometimes in finding words for the unspeakable.

Jofeath said...

I assume Ada did not survive deportation. The poem about the death of the boy's little brother is sad but so beautifully and sensitively expressed.

Coloring Outside the Lines said...

I agree with the others- such a moving post. Thank you for sharing.

Nancy said...

The thought of the sorrow of losing a small child overwhelms me with sadness. The thought of losing several is worse, but the sorrow of losing children in the Holocaust is almost too hard to imagine. Thank you for posting the poem. It is one I had not read. It is exquisite in its simplicity.

Tattered and Lost said...

What's nice is she's been remembered. She's no longer merely a statistic.

Boobook said...

So Ida would have been about 16 or 17 when the photo was taken? Very sad but lovely that there is an image.