These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Flowers of Bread

Posted on March 20, 2014 by David Bogomolny

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I recently searched for & found these online instructions for making flowers out of old bread. This would be a fun art project – it’s not so complicated:

  1. Spread the slices of bread on a tray
  2. Crush the bread to form fine crumbs
  3. Add in white glue (and paint) to the breadcrumbs
  4. Start making the flowers
  5. Put them in a vertically upward position to dry
  6. Dip each flower completely into wood varnish

Truth is, I had never considered that bread could be used to make permanent pieces of art – until I visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin on the 2014 ‘Germany Close Up’ – Pardes trip. There – in the museum – a particular figurine caught my attention, amongst all of the Holocaust memorabilia – I was taken with its beauty and confused by its accompanying description panel. (by the way, a cursory Google search led me to find a¬†photograph of a chess set of bread, also made during the holocaust)


Photo Courtesy of Skyler Stern, GCU-Pardes participant

Photo Courtesy of Skyler Stern,
GCU-Pardes participant

Photo Courtesy of Skyler Stern, GCU-Pardes participant

Photo Courtesy of Skyler Stern,
GCU-Pardes participant


Flowers of Bread

a poem dedicated to a murdered 16-year-old boy

I had technical
questions at
first

how can this be possible?
how can bread last for 70 years?
maybe it’s the finish that preserves it?
maybe it was more sawdust
than
bread?
what were concentration camp prisoners
given to eat during the Holocaust?
how much of his meager ration did this
16-year-old
boy
put aside for this art project?

I feel ill

thinking about it
now that I’ve learned about
this fun arts and crafts project
I also
wonder
how on earth did this
16-year-old
prisoner
get paint
glue
finish

In a Holocaust concentration camp
where he was meant to die
where did he hide
this little shoe
what if a Nazi had found it
and stepped on it
with his shoe
because?

My 34-year-old chest
feels tight

I’ve never made such a
beautiful
little
figurine
didn’t know it possible
never been limited to only sawdust
bread for art supplies
never been stricken with
tuberculosis,
murdered

Technically death by
natural causes at
last
after suffering and starving at
least
I will share this