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Honoring the Stories

As genealogists we uncover our family stories. An important part of this process is to retell and commemorate that history. A recent article about stained glass artist, Claude Riedel, presented some unusual ways to do just that.


Walter and Ruth Elias, a St. Louis Park couple, are named in the article with a unique story of the creation of a Ner Tamid. Walter told us that their story began in 2013 when on a roots trip to Poland.


He recalled, “We visited Hasaq, a labor and concentration camp in Czestochowa, Poland where Ruth’s parents were slave laborers during WW2. The camp was in ruin and as we walked around the perimeter of the camp our guide reached up on a still standing wall and grabbed a handful of barbed wire. What to do with a bunch of old rusted wire? Fast forward to the annual fundraising event by Rimon, the Minnesota Jewish Arts Council. Called P’tchotka after the Japanese process, a group of artists are given 18 minutes and 18 slides to present their art. One of the artists was Claude Riedel. We immediately had the same idea – to approach Claude and have him incorporate the barbed wire into a Ner Tamid. Claude fashioned a uniquely beautiful Holocaust Ner Tamid that now illuminates the sanctuary of Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Arlington, Virginia.”


You can read more about Claude’s story that brought him to this beautiful art form laden with meaning. And you can learn more about the layers of meaning found within Walter and Ruth’s story.



Do you have a story to commemorate? If you’ve found a unique way to do so, send us a note to tell us about it.

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