Random Scenes: A History of Britain

And here’s yet another example of an excellent documentary series. These days, there are rules about giving credit to the crew who produce a film and many of the source materials used in its production. A History of Britain (2000) was presented by Simon Schama and one can scroll through the credits and appreciate the research that was done. Although all legal obligations of giving credit have been satisfied that does not mean that this has been done to the satisfaction of the viewers. In episode 12, ‘Forces of Nature’, Schama is discussing a period of time where “sensible” people gave high regard to the workings of nature—an almost religious reverence filling the void of the spiritual feelings lost in the secularization of Western culture. Of course the high guru of this movement was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who advocated allowing children to express their “animal spirits” in the cause of an uncorrupted personal development. Among the images used to illustrate this point in A History of Britain was some archival footage of two little girls running around. From clues in the film, this was probably footage of an aristocratic family, perhaps a famous one. I have always wondered who these girls may have been and what became of them.

Simon Schama et al - A History of Britain Forces of Nature (2000)

The Garbage Collector: A Little Girl’s Hero

David Proeber, Pantagraph (2016)

This is an updated version of a post published in Agapeta on April 25, 2016.

What lies in a little girl’s mind? What are her interests? Which role models does she hold? Sometimes she can choose a quite unusual one, and this leads to unexpected consequences.

Brooklyn Andracke, a little girl born on April 7, 2013, lives in Bloomington, Illinois, USA. When she was aged two, she became fascinated with the garbage collector who was coming every Thursday. At first, she was waving from the window as the garbage truck passed by. Then Brooklyn, her mother Traci and little brother Ty moved outside to wave. And when they missed the truck, Traci Andracke would drive the kids around the neighborhood to find the truck so Brooklyn could wave. And the driver always made a point of waving back with a big smile and honking the truck’s horn.

Traci said: “Thursdays are by far her favorite day … garbage day. For about a year now, she has anxiously awaited the garbage truck’s arrival at our house.” She added: “And so we look forward to Thursday mornings, garbage day, all week. Monday morning, she starts asking if it’s garbage day yet.

When Brooklyn’s third birthday happened to be on Thursday, “garbage day,” she wanted to share part of her big day with him: to give him a birthday cupcake. As his truck came down her street, Brooklyn ran to the corner and her mother waved for the driver to come over. Said Traci:

He pulled over, got out and gave us his BIG smile. Brooklyn was instantly speechless as she handed him the cupcake. I explained to him that he makes our day every Thursday, and we really appreciate the honking and waving, and how special of a day it is for us.
Then … (melt my heart) … he explained that he looks forward to seeing us every Thursday as well. He said that he has a meeting every Thursday morning and always tries to get out of there in a hurry so that he can make sure to see us every week. He said he doesn’t have any kids of his own, but he mentors several children and just loves them. I can’t believe that I never got his name, so for now he will continue to be “our favorite awesome smiley garbage man.”
After he left, we continued onto daycare. Brooklyn was unusually quiet in the backseat. I asked her if she was okay, and she said “Mommy, I’m so happy.”

I didn’t know I was her idol,” he said. “I just looked forward to seeing this young lady every Thursday. She topped it off last week with a cupcake.

Traci Andracke made some photographs of the scene, and shared them on Facebook. She also learned the man’s name: Delvar Dopson.

Traci Andracke on Facebook (2016)

Traci Andracke on Facebook (2016)

Traci Andracke on Facebook (2016)

The following Thursday went magic. The local journal Pantagraph was there with a reporter and a photographer. Said Traci:

This morning was garbage day again. The Pantagraph sent a reporter and photographer to our house to cover the exciting morning. As Delvar got to our street, he honked to let us know he was coming. Brooklyn grabbed her sign that she made for him and ran to the corner to greet him. The sign said “THANK YOU DELVAR.” Delvar pulled up to our house and greeted Brooklyn with his usual big smile and big hug. He thanked Brooklyn for the cupcake that she gave him last week and said “Happy Belated Birthday.”
THEN ……… he walked her around to the other side of the truck and pulled out the most amazing, awesome and generous birthday gifts for her. He said he did a little research and knew she liked the movie FROZEN. His wife made this incredible basket full of everything FROZEN, and another full set of FROZEN fun stuff to color, paint and draw with ……… a little girl’s dream!!!! (and yes, at this point I was crying).
Brooklyn gave Delvar the sign to keep in his truck. He put it in the front window facing out for everyone to see.

The story was shared on Facebook and spread around. Delvar got warm congratulations from colleagues from all over the country and even from abroad, telling him how he made them proud of their job.

Here are some of the Pantagraph photographs. Brooklyn eagerly awaits Delvar’s arrival.

David Proeber, Pantagraph (2016)

As he comes by, she gets out with her sign for him.

David Proeber, Pantagraph (2016)

But surprise! Delvar brought a birthday present.

David Proeber, Pantagraph (2016)

And now big big hugs!

David Proeber, Pantagraph (2016)

David Proeber, Pantagraph (2016)

Now, this magical encounter also changed Delvar’s life. Indeed, the story of Brooklyn sharing a cupcake with him on her third birthday on April 7, 2016, became a viral sensation on the internet, and it caught the attention of Nutella, the makers of the chocolate hazelnut spread, which featured Delvar Dopson in a series of YouTube videos.

After noticing the videos, NBC Universal officials invited Delvar and his wife Bonnie to compete on the television game “The Wall” on July 7, 2017. The couple won $399,792.

Then in 2018, after 12 years as a city public works employee, Delvar resigned from his job in order to move with his wife to Los Angeles to pursue new opportunities. He said that in California he would be meeting with major television networks “on some things that are going to be happening in the future.” He said he could not give full details, adding, “The only thing I am allowed to say is it’s going to be in entertainment and also fitness.”

Before departing, he came to Brooklyn’s house to give her and her little brother Ty a farewell with big hugs.

Maria Nagle, Pantagraph (2018)

Maria Nagle, Pantagraph (2018)

Maria Nagle, Pantagraph (2018)

Delvar has a YouTube channel devoted to fitness. His site Eregon 206, devoted to improving lifestyle, contains three videos, one by Inside Edition about his sharing Brooklyn’s third birthday, another one by Nutella presenting it as ‘Spread the Happy,’ and a third showing the performance of his wife Bonnie on the television game “The Wall.”

Sources: Since the site of Pantagraph cannot be viewed in Europe, I have added links to the archived version of its articles.

Ed Lea: Seeking a ‘Vintage’ Girl in Gold

Ed Lea – Jessica and Susanne 01 (year unknown)

Once upon a time there was a website titled Sweet Angels Calendar. Nowadays only fragments survive in the Wayback Machine. And at the time of this writing I have not even been able to find them there again. I must rely upon saved pages from some time ago. It might remain a mystery who had once created and hosted this site and why it disappeared. I would say there were mainly vintage child nudes to be seen there. Like Love and Little Girls and Fairy Diary by Jean-Louis Michel, Sophie Despineux by Yoji Ishikawa, and other works by him, Euro Cute Photoalbum, Euro Scans and Vera. And further on, My Fairy, Shaila, by Ayako Parks, Chrysalides Photodreams by Mauro Bertoncelli, Le Bois de Fée by Shizuki Obuchi, work by Jacques Bourboulon, Irina Ionesco, and the unknown to me, Rene Guinot. Here under a picture from the index of this site, saved as a website in the Wayback Machine.

Stephan – Index Sweet Angels Calendar (2019)

Below is a quote about the mission of Sweet Angels Calendar. From it one can conclude that the site might have been based in Eastern-Europe, considering the English. Considering the attention given to the USA, it might have been based there as well, but I suppose the USA is mentioned because it is a grand public arena. The quote is from 2000 according to the Wayback Machine. But I do not wish right now to discuss the claims of legality or the merit of the mission. I would like to let it speak for itself.

The following pages contain photos with Girls under the age 0f 18. Photographed by famous photographers like David Hamilton, James Bas, Jacques Bourboulon, Kou Osaka, Jock Sturges, Jarry Clark etc. etc.

This superb collection of legal, tasteful nudes contains no pornography—no situations or lewd poses.

Our entire range complies with the criteria of sexual criminal law currently in force in Russia, which is basically in line with Hungaria, Poland, etc. legislation and thus compatible with the EU.

I am not a lawyer and I can’t give you legal advice. It is up to you to determine if these kind of images are legal in your own area. I can assure that it is legal under federal laws, and under Californian laws. As far as we know there are no State laws against this kind of material.

Images such as the one displayed can be purchased at large bookstores all over the USA. Photo Artists such as David Hamilton and Jock Sturges have made careers photographing nude adolescent females. At one point Jock Sturges was raided by the FBI. He won in court because material such as this is constitutionally protected.

We are against child pornography and this ain’t it. There are very specific guidelines called the Dost Factors, they come from a 1986 case: U.S. vs. Dost, and were later affirmed by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The Dost Factors are used to help determine if an image contains the lacivious  exhibition of the genitals or public area as referred to in United States Code Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 110 Section 2256 and which would make an image child pornography.

It is our position that all of the models in the Sweet angels Calendar Website posed willingly and are currently OK with the fact that their images are publicly displayed. Not all cultures are as uptight as we are about the nude human body. If we ever received credible information that any image in this website was produced under questionable conditions which disrespected the model, we would remove it (that has never happened).

In our opinion beautiful nude females ages 12 thru 19 are spectacular. Many people across many cultures and many times agree. God made them, and it’s OK for us to enjoy respectfully admiring them.

We are also sensitive to the fact that many well-intentioned, good people have a different opinion and feel it is awful for such images to be displayed.

This website is dedicated to all the Little Sweethearts in the World. Please enjoy the Beauty in Little Girls but never abuse them.

And then there was the less well-known photographer Ed Lea—6 out of 19 pictures surviving there of Jessica and Susanne. The story behind these girls remains unknown. Maybe these pictures are not the finest ever produced but they are nice, smiling images. And I have a recollection of one of them, even before I saw these six surviving pictures again, of one of the two girls in the nude with a kind of golden skin. Why did the Wayback Machine not save this Girl in Gold? She is the girl below—the only one here in colour—and thus the one I am searching for is like this, in colour, in gold. Also below are 5 images from this series of Jessica and Susanne in ‘Sweet Angels Calendar’. As thumbnails they are titled “jess_sue”, with the corresponding number.

Ed Lea – Jessica and Susanne 04 (year unknown)

Ed Lea – Jessica and Susanne 06 (year unknown)

Ed Lea – Jessica and Susanne 15 (year unknown)

Ed Lea – Jessica and Susanne 16 (year unknown)

Ed Lea – Jessica and Susanne 16 (year unknown)

Later on I will post more on these ‘vintage’ girls and, in that future post, I would like to be able to publish this ‘Golden Girl’. So, if anyone knows what I am talking about, please do come forward and share. And does anyone have any other information about Jessica and Susanne by Ed Lea? Or about Ed Lea himself? Is he known for any other work? Why did the creator of that website choose Ed Lea among others like Yoji Ishikawa? I did once have all 19 images but they call fall prey to fire, or a crash in digital form. Here are a few other survivors from ‘Sweet Angels Calendar’, but only those from Yoji Ishikawa. In the future I would like to give attention to the other photographers that did not ‘survive’, at least not survive the shutdown of Sweet Angels Calendar. That way the focus can be on each photographer in turn along with their models. From ‘Euro Scans’ by Ishikawa only 8 out of 230 of the Ishikawa pictures survive. Besides, I can imagine that Ishikawa did not choose for the title ‘Euro Scans’, maybe rather ‘Euro’. Below are 6 of the 8, also numbered according the series on the site. Titles are ‘Euro_lat’ followed by the corresponding number.

Yoji Ishikawa – Euro Scan 01 (year unknown)

Yoji Ishikawa – Euro Scans 02 (year unknown)

Yoji Ishikawa – Euro Scan 16 (year unkown)

Yoji Ishikawa – Euro Scan 33 (year unknown)

Yoji Ishikawa – Euro Scan 35 (year unknown)

Yoji Ishikawa – Euro Scan 36 (year unknown)

And then there is Vera, also by Ishikawa. Part of ‘Sweet Angels Calendar’ and the thumbnails are titled “E2_vera” with corresponding numbers. Here, it seems, all have survived although the series numbering does go up to 30. Vera most likely comes from the Flemish part of Belgium, because in the 3rd picture she reads, or poses to read, the Flemish—a dialect of Dutch—a comic titled Suske and Wiske. I also think Vera is Belgian rather than Dutch because Ishikawa also had at least one other Belgian model, Sophie Despineux.

Yoji Ishikawa – Vera 02 (year unknown)

Yoji Ishikawa – Vera 07 (year unknown)

Yoji Ishikawa – Vera 10 (year unknown)

Yoji Ishikawa – Vera 27 (year unknown)

Maiden Voyages: April 2019

The Blog Returns: Many of our readers were dismayed to learn that Agapeta had been shut down due to trumped up claims of TOS violations. Christian has followed our lead and reestablished his blog through Rainbow Digital Media. He was just about to publish some poems penned by my friend, Graham Ovenden. To commemorate the return of Agapeta, those poems are now featured on the front page of the blog. Christian intends to replace all the material from the previous incarnation but gradually and after careful editing. You can visit Agapeta here.

A Lavish Edition: Perhaps one of the most iconic examples of ‘The Cult of the Girl Child’ is Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. It is always interesting to see what new approaches artists come up with. This time it is Christian Birmingham, a well-known illustrator of children’s books, who is planning an edition of Alice in Wonderland set to be published this summer. You can view more of his work here.

A Run-in with the Law: 12-year-old reporter Hilde Lysiak was following a lead in Patagonia, Arizona when a marshal pulled her over on her bike and reportedly threatened to throw her in juvenile detention. Lysiak calmly confronted the officer and had the presence of mind to record the encounter. This triggered several complaints and authorities state that appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the marshal.

Padding His Stats: In last month’s Maiden Voyages, I was initially pleased to announce the existence of a book covering coming-of-age films focusing on little girls. I was warned by a colleague that it may not have been what it seemed and she was right. Apart from having very poor production quality, Mr. Wo claimed to list over 800 titles but it turns out that he lists a number of naturist productions which, although they certainly feature naked little girls, they do little more than pander to voyeurs. Also, many titles that should have been included were not; frankly Pigtails’ database is far superior and will be indexed for readers to view soon. I get the sense from the title selections that the superficial focus is on naked girls or girls in sexual situations. I also took issue with Mr. Wo’s definition of coming-of-age which, to him, was about the age of the girls rather than a process of development. I would suggest that readers save their money and simply keep an eye out for Pigtails’ imminent films index.

Real Survivors: So often we hear of tragedies befalling innocent children but here’s a bit of good news for once. Two little girls in Northern California who wandered off in defiance of their mother were found alive and in good spirits in the woods 44 hours later.

Before the Age of VHS: There are a lot of interesting films out there that have not been remastered on DVD and, consequently, they are hard to find in the digital world. Individuals have been known to take VHS copies or VHS recordings from a television airing and make them available. If anyone knows where we can find a copy of Little Girl in Blue Velvet (La petite fille en velours bleu, 1978), please let us know.

Russian Interpreters Needed: At one time, I had access to a number of fans who helped with translating and interpreting Russian material, particularly short films. Remarkably, all of these sources have dried up for various reasons. I would like to request that readers fluent in Russian come forward and help.

Awkward Conversation a Bit Easier with Friends: This item is a couple years old but it is an informative article about the challenges of little girls growing up. This one is about a mother having her first conversation with her “tween” daughter (and her friend) about getting her first bra.

More than Just a Ham: Young girls do seem to love playing in front of the camera. But, every so often, some real talent emerges. A colleague sent me a link to this video of a phenomenal 10-year-old singer.

Fun at the Beach: Here’s a fun video featuring children having fun at the beach. Summer is just around the corner!

Cover of Estar enfermo

Here’s yet another one of those accidental discoveries, found while searching for something else. The artwork is the cover for a book of poetry called Estar enfermo (Be Sick) by Luna Miguel.  I could not track down the artist’s identity, but there is quite a bit of information out there about Ms. Miguel, a young Spanish poet whose work tends to focus quite literally on the flesh, both its erotic qualities and its infirmities. She was born in 1990 in Madrid, Spain, and has since published several books of poetry, the first of which came out in 2009, when Miguel was only nineteen, as well as a novel intriguingly called El funeral de Lolita (Lolita’s Funeral). You can read a snippet from the book here.

There is also a fascinating interview with the author at this site.

Artist Unknown – Luna Miguel – Estar enfermo (cover)

Ewa Ludwiczak

Ewa Ludwiczak is a professional artist based in Berlin, Germany. Born in Nowa Sol, Poland in 1988, she always loved to draw. At the age of 19 she moved to Germany and started studying at a private art school, learning the importance of drawing.

She mostly expresses herself through watercolour painting, but she also practices drawing, in particular for storybook illustration. She frequently paints nude adult women, but she also painted or drew portraits of various people, in particular children.

I present below a selection of nine portraits of girls, downloaded from her blog. I start with my two favourite ones. See here the beauty of a smile enhanced by the harmony of colours: tawny eyes, tawny hair, pink face and a pink dress with tawny shades, how lovely!

Ewa Ludwiczak - Girl in a Pink Dress

Ewa Ludwiczak – Girl in a Pink Dress (2014)

The beautiful eyes, soft nose and mouth, impressive forehead and lovely hair of this little girl fascinate me.

Ewa Ludwiczak - Little Girl

Ewa Ludwiczak – Little Girl (2015)

In the next painting, the blue dress and the dark blue background highlight the sadness in the girl’s eyes.

Ewa Ludwiczak - Little Girl in a Blue Dress

Ewa Ludwiczak – Little Girl in a Blue Dress (2018)

Now a gorgeous little girl, all dressed up in white, with a majestic white hat.

Ewa Ludwiczak - White Hat

Ewa Ludwiczak – White Hat (2014)

In the following portrait, the pink face gets reflected on the pink dress … or is it the other way around? The wide open eyes seem to open on a world of mysteries and secrets.

Ewa Ludwiczak - Girl in Shadows

Ewa Ludwiczak – Girl in Shadows (2018)

Here the girl’s resolute look gives the meaning of her folded arms: she says ‘no.’ The harmony of her brown hair, her brown dress and the brownish background enhance that effect.

Ewa Ludwiczak - Girl with folded arms

Ewa Ludwiczak – Girl with folded arms (2014)

Now, the dripping paint bottom right seems to prolong the stripes of the dress.

Ewa Ludwiczak - Striped Dress

Ewa Ludwiczak – Striped Dress (2015)

This girl’s white dress fades into the background, and the top of her hat seems to melt like ice cream.

Ewa Ludwiczak - Blue Hat

Ewa Ludwiczak – Blue Hat (2016)

Here both the girl and her doll have brown hair with a few red strokes.

Ewa Ludwiczak - Girl with a Doll

Ewa Ludwiczak – Girl with a Doll (2016)

Many works by Ewa Ludwiczak can be seen on her blog and on her personal website. The latter also contains a brief presentation of the artist, and some of her works can be bought there. She is also on Facebook and Instagram.

Sublimated Sexuality in Modern Surrealist Girl Art, Part 4

This is the fourth post in the Sublimated Sexuality series. You can view the first three posts in this series here, here and here. Let’s get started.

12) Body horror – This is another fairly broad category that covers a lot of these images, and as with several of the categories, there is a good deal of overlap with some of the other categories (for example, the monstrosity, violence and general weirdness categories). At any rate, this category covers physical deformities and mutations, sickness and disease, bruises and wounds, and what I would deem “frankensteined” people and animals—that is, beings who are something other than a full human or a full animal. Sometimes they are animal-human hybrids; other times they are biomechanical monstrosities.

Ana Bagayan – The Experiment

Ana Bagayan (Official Site)

Jackie Skrzynski – Scratch (2003)

Jackie Skrzynski (Official Site)

Jana Brike – Self Portrait with Erected Tail

Squarespace: Jana Brike

Kokomoo – (Title Unknown) (1)

Cornelia Renz – A Girl Without Hands (2008)

Cornelia Renz (Official Site)

Here there is some overlap with the twins category. Yang Jing’s work often incorporates dolls, which we’ll get to in yet another category.

Yang Jing – We Did Nothing

Ravenel International Art Group: Yang Jing

The following image is perhaps the quintessential example of the thesis of this blog series. The implication in Nicoletta Ceccoli’s Dulcis Agata (Latin for Sweet Agatha) depends partly on how you read this sort of art overall. It also references the next category to be addressed in this post, the presence of food, particularly sweet treats, in these images. Ceccoli often uses cakes and candies in her images to symbolizes childhood, especially girlhood, but there is frequently a sinister undertone to these images, and that is the case here. The title references St. Agatha of Sicily, a girl from a wealthy family who, at age fifteen, refused the sexual advances of a lowborn Roman prefect and was subsequently arrested, tortured and eventually murdered. Among the punishments she supposedly enduring was the cutting off of her breasts.

Here Agatha is presented as a young girl who offers either some sort of dessert drenched in strawberry or cherry sauce, or her own severed breasts. If it is the latter, one can read it in at least two ways. The first is as a feminist allegory in which women are expected to look ever younger for men, and thus a young girl might sever her own breasts to remain child-like in presentation. The second reading is actually not far from the first, and it is that culture desexualizes young girls to keep them pure and holy, by violence if necessary.

Nicoletta Ceccoli – Dulcis Agata

Nicoletta Ceccoli (Official Site)

Cristina Vergano – Escorial, Madrid, September 1705

Cristina Vergano (Official Site)

13) The presence of food, especially sweets – Food is sometimes associated with sex, and no food more so than fruit and candy, both of which are sweet. (Refer to my Cherry Ripe! post for some insight into at least one fruit that commonly symbolizes sex or sexual development.) Sweets are also associated with children, which makes the symbolism in these images especially potent. Add in a healthy dose of satire and you have the makings of a clever commentary on the conflicted view of the young girl in modern society.

Hiroyuki Mano – The cake is a lie

DeviantArt: DensenManiya

Ceccoli’s girls generally exist in some sort of dark Candyland.

Nicoletta Ceccoli – Barbara

Nicoletta Ceccoli – Consumed by You

Scott G. Brooks – Food Chain (2009)

Scott G Brooks Studios (Official Site)

Rene Lynch – Icons – Honey Dipper (Bee Queen) (2006)

Rene Lynch (Official Site)

Mmm, tasty black soup.

Rieko Sakurai – (Title Unknown)

Artnet: Rieko Sakurai


James Jean – Recess – Horse

James Jean (Official Site)

Kokomoo – (Title Unknown) (2)

Kokomoo – (Title Unknown) (3)

14) Masks, especially animal masks – Masks are another recurring emblem in this sort of art. Much can be said about masks in art just in general, but with respect to kids, one immediately thinks of Halloween, which is associated with devils and darkness too, and that of course intersects with one of the persistent themes in these images: horror of one sort or another. If we think in terms of sublimating childhood sexuality, these images are not too dissimilar from the human-animal hybrid pieces, only the artists are perhaps more aware of the sublimation and are acknowledging it. Thus, the masks are in essence a reflection of both the artist’s neuroses with regard to children and a sly acknowledgment that there really are human children behind the false faces being offered to the viewer.

Caleb Weintraub – Ashes Ashes Splashes Splashes

Caleb Weintraub (Official Site)

Jana Brike – The Last Dancer in the World

Here Red Riding Hood becomes the wolf. Yet another clever commentary on the nature of girlhood and how it is perceived.

Nicoletta Ceccoli – My Favorite Costume

Nicoletta Ceccoli – A Girl Hides Secrets

Remembering Eva Edit Weinberger

This is an updated version of a post published with the title “After Many Years” in Agapeta on May 4, 2015.

Auschwitz, the best known of all Nazi death camps, was in fact a kind of vast industrial complex of slave labour and extermination. First arose Auschwitz I, the original camp set up for Polish political prisoners, then came Auschwitz II-Birkenau, where approximately 1 million Jews died, and Auschwitz III-Monowitz, a slave labour camp at the service of the I.G. Farben chemical trust, plus 45 satellite subcamps in the surrounding area, where prisoners worked as slaves for various companies such as Krupp (armament) or Siemens-Schuckert (electrical engineering). Even the dead were made as profitable as possible, by collecting their belongings, clothes, and even their hair and golden teeth.

The Nazi Holocaust is a story of greed, plunder, imperialist conquest and elimination of “unwanted” populations, organized methodically by a powerful bureaucracy, and sanctified by an ideology of racial hatred. The most horrible aspect of it is the organized mass murder of children.

On April 21, 2015, Oskar Gröning, a German man born on June 10, 1921 (thus, approaching age 94), was put on trial at Lüneburg Regional Court as an accessory to murder in 300,000 cases during WWII. As an SS-Unterscharführer, he had been stationed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where he worked as bookkeeper.

Among the plaintiffs was Judith Kalman, a Jewish Hungarian-born writer living in Montreal, Canada. On April 29 she delivered a poignant testimony, an abridged version of a longer text that she had prepared. It revolves around the fate of her family, especially of her half-sister she never knew: Eva Edit Weinberger, who at age 6 was gassed at Auschwitz in June 1944, ten years before Judith was born.

Eva Weinberger at age 4

Eva Weinberger at age 4

Her father, Gusztav Weinberger, belonged to a family of educated and secular Jewish farmers; they planted tobacco and distilled grain alcohol in a village in northeastern Hungary. Gusztav had married Mancika Mandula in 1937, and their daughter Eva Edit, nicknamed Evike, was born in April 1938.

Gusztav and Mancika Weinberger with their daughter Eva

Gusztav and Mancika Weinberger with their daughter Eva

He had two younger brothers, Ferenc and Pal. Hungary was then ruled by the pro-fascist regime of Admiral Horthy. Gusztav and Ferenc were called up for forced labour service for the first time in December 1940, and would remain in this position until November 1944, when German troops and their Hungarian allies fled in front of the advance of the Soviet Army. Judith Kalman writes:

Evike had taught herself to read and write by the age of four. Her letters to my father during his labour service are charmingly printed, the words running together without spaces in between but almost all correctly spelled.

Pal had a wife, Meri, and a daughter, Marika, who was of the same age as Eva. Of Eva, Judith Kalman says:

She looked different from us. Her cousin Marika was considered the prettier of the two with her wide round face similar to her father Pal’s and our grandmother’s, in keeping with the soft curves of the Hungarian ideal. […] Evike as she was known by the family, would have more likely grown into the Western proportions of beauty. Her face was a small oval. In one photo she strikes me as a total stranger, looking like no one but herself, delicate in build, and with large eyes alight with quickness.

The Weinberger cousins Marika (L) and Eva (R)

The Weinberger cousins Marika (L) and Eva (R)

I do not share the Hungarian ideal of beauty. To me Eva is more beautiful, and the profound look of her big eyes captivates me. Judith Kalman continues:

In one photo with her mother, they both smile flirtatiously at the photographer. Our father perhaps?

Eva Weinberger with her mother Mancika

Eva Weinberger with her mother Mancika

The third picture on my desk is not one I would have selected. Herr Walther kindly had it enlarged for me and my sister Elaine. In it Evike looks deeply anxious. Her brows are puckered, and she clings to the teddy bear she holds in every photograph. Perhaps the sun is too harsh on her eyes, but it is hard not to imagine that she is gazing at the future.

Eva Weinberger looking anxious

Eva Weinberger looking anxious

Indeed, Germany occupied Hungary at the end of May 1944. Within 57 days, 438,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to the Auschwitz camp, and among them 320,000 were gassed. While Gusztav and Ferenc, as forced labourers, were spared, their family was raided. One day, thirty-four of their relatives and loved ones were packed into a cattle car bound for Auschwitz. Among them were Eva, her mother Mancika, Gusztav’s and Ferenc’s brother Pal, his wife Meri and their daughter Marika, and their parents Kalman and Ilona Weinberger.

In Auschwitz, only healthy young adults were allowed to survive as slave labourers. Children, elderly people, the sick and disabled were immediately sent to the gas chambers. This was the fate of Eva and Marika, as well as of their grandparents Kalman and Ilona Weinberger.

Marika (L) and Eva (R) with their grandparents Ilona and Kalman Weinberger

Marika (L) and Eva (R) with their grandparents Ilona and Kalman Weinberger

Those who were not gassed died of exhaustion, or during the “death march” towards Germany at the end of 1944, when the Nazis tried to empty the camp because of advancing Soviet forces, who liberated its last inmates on January 27, 1945.

Zsuzsa Rochlitz with brother Peter and baby Eva (1938)

Zsuzsa Rochlitz with brother Peter and baby Eva (1938)

Zsuzsa Rochlitz, a cousin of Gusztav, then aged 19, was the only family member caught in that roundup who returned alive after the war. According to Judith, she told that “throughout that hideous journey she never once saw Mancika Mandula Weinberger falter in her reassurance of her six-year-old daughter Evike. Over and over she consoled her calmly.” Zsuzsa herself said to her, “I never met a woman who better epitomized sensitive, intelligent, and respectful mothering than your father’s wife Mancika as she calmed her darling child during that dreadful journey.” Judith adds:

I look again at Herr Walther’s enlargement of the photograph of Evike. She is trying to smile, even as her eyes and brows pull together anxiously. Her lovely high forehead is deeply furrowed. It’s hard for me to look into her face. Each fine new hair in the fringe spilling out of her gathered braids attests to a teeming abundance of the life within her. The silky promise of each strand is as painful to contemplate as the image of this little girl stripped naked, enfolded by the naked flesh that gave birth to her, as together they slide to the floor of the devil’s own bathhouse.

Ferenc went through the westwards “death march” of slave labourers organized by the retreating Nazis, and died in the Flossenburg concentration camp on November 9, 1944. On the other hand Gusztav escaped from forced labour service, and on November 10, 1944, he arrived at the family estate. He found that locals had taken over the family house, and his personal belongings had been thrown out into the street. All that remained from his beloved ones, letters and photos, were lying in the mud in front of his home. He picked up as many as he could stuff into his pockets.

After the war, Gusztav started a new life. He married Anna Swarcz in June 1946, and they had two daughters, Elaine and Eva Judit, born in 1947 and 1954 respectively. The family settled in Budapest. Gusztav abandoned his German-sounding Jewish surname Weinberger, and took his late father’s given name Kalman, which sounded typically Magyar.

Gustav and Anna Kalman with daughters Judith and Elaine (1963)

Gustav and Anna Kalman with daughters Judith and Elaine (1963)

After the failed 1956 revolution, the family emigrated to the West, settling in Canada. They lived in Montreal, where Gusztav eventually died in 1990, leaving a wife, two daughters, and four grandchildren.

Throughout these years, the ghosts of the dead haunted the living. Many holocaust survivors experience feelings of injustice, and even guilt, at the idea that others died while they did not. In particular Judith had to explain herself why she lived and why her half-sister Eva died.

As a child I formed a strange myth to explain the baffling circumstances of my existence. There must have been something wrong about the old, beautiful way of life that my father extolled in his stories of the past. […] The clan had been sophisticated and good. Good. Yet, if so, asked the child-skeptic born to him for life in a different world, why were they all wiped out? A child raised to believe in a beneficent God, but above all, because of her father’s carefully wrought narratives, in a causality that gave shape and meaning to life. Surely, surely something must not have been right with that world for it to have been so brutally eclipsed.

I came up with an answer that makes sense only to a child. For some reason, my sister Elaine and I had to be born. If we were meant to be, then it followed that Evike and her world were not. It was that simple. I could imagine no circumstance which would have allowed all three of us life. My father, a committed family man, would never have divorced Mancika to marry Anna, a younger woman. Nor would he have wished to, even had his path crossed with Anna’s in an alternate universe.

On July 8, 2015, Judith Kalman made a final statement for the trial. On July 15, the Lüneburg Regional Court gave its verdict: Oskar Gröning was found guilty of facilitating mass murder and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. Following a number of unsuccessful appeals against the prison sentence, Gröning died in hospital on March 9, 2018, before he had begun his sentence.

References and sources: I relied on the website of Judith Kalman, in particular the long testimony prepared to give at Gröning’s trial, “Nazi War-Time Trial Testimony.” Time and translation constraints required her to prepare an abridged version to present in court, see “Court Transcript.”

The Auschwitz trial website contains much information on the trial of Gröning, in particular the verdict. It reproduces the testimony given by Judith Kalman on April 29, 2015, “Victim Impact Statement Prepared for the Trial of Oskar Groening,” and her “Final statement for the Trial of Oskar Gröning” on July 8, 2015.

The two sepia photographs, of Zsuzsa Rochlitz with Peter and Eva and of Gustav and Anna Kalman with their two daughters, come from Judith Kalman’s website; I converted their format from PNG to JPEG. The three big photographs, of Eva at age 4, of Gusztav and Mancika with Eva, and of Marika and Eva with their grandparents, come from the article “Ein Leben, aus dem Tod geboren,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, May 6, 2015. The three other photographs, of Marika and Eva, of Eva with her mother, and of Eva looking anxious, come from the article “Oskar Groening trial: Loss of family I never knew,” BBC, April 29, 2015.

Maiden Voyages: March 2019

That was a short month!

More WordPress Censorship Woes: Many readers of Pigtails are also readers of the Agapeta blog run by Christian. I have been informed that that site has been shut down due to (surprise, surprise) violations of the WP “Terms of Service”. Christian has made an inquiry for more details but is expecting the usual response that the site promotes pedophilia, sexualizes children or contains unacceptable nudity. Fortunately, all the articles (but not necessarily the images) are carefully archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. We will keep you informed when Christian makes a more definitive decision on how he wants to proceed. One possibility is that some of the items appropriate for Pigtails may be kept here. Christian has backups of all articles and images so there is not permanent loss of information.

Coming-of-Age Paradigm: An associate located an interesting book quite relevant to Pigtails readers, The Definitive Guide to Girls in Coming of Age Movies 2018 by Carl Wo. According to the author, over 800 films are reviewed including indie films and short films. When I receive my copy, we will find out what gaps exist in our own archive. There certain to be many examples as our index only includes 400+ films of which only a fraction are coming-of-age movies. [Warning: Please take note of the comments below before deciding to spend money on this item.]

Beloved Illustrator of Children’s Books Dies: On February 8th, Tomi Ungerer died in his sleep in his home in Cork, Ireland. Reportedly, his creative energies were active even into his late years and was working on a new collection of short stories when he passed away. Read more details about this remarkable artist on his official website.

It Doesn’t End with Social Media: Amanda from The Samantha Gates Archive informs me that the censorship does not end with companies like Facebook and Instagram. The general consensus about the portrayal of little girls extends even to academic institutions, namely universities and museums. One of the reasons Amanda has managed a bonanza of Samantha material is that institutions are eager to have these items removed from their collections. Not willing to take the extreme measure of destroying the materials outright, at least they have managed to find a home where they will be appreciated.

The Trouble with Gymnasts: It is well-known that whereas men have more strength than women, women are more limber and can show off their virtuosity in doing the splits. The trouble (as you may have guessed) is that some will consider such displays sexual and inappropriate, especially for young girls. The situation is not helped by ambitious coaches trying to get their protegés some media attention by teaching them how to play to the camera in a seductive way. A case in point is this video of Lilliana Ketchman, a talented 6-year-old. I am not saying that this glitzy production is necessarily over the top, but I do think it sufficiently illustrates the way capitalist forces and the concomitant desire for fame needlessly pushes gymnasts toward more sensational and vulgar displays.

Random Scenes: How Art Made the World

It’s a good thing that little girls throughout history manage to play a role in the course of human events. In doing so, they do manage to appear briefly in some of the best documentaries ever produced. In this case, the series in question is How Art Made the World presented by Dr. Nigel Spivey and produced by Mark Hedgecoe. Despite the deceptively mundane title, this documentary distinguishes itself in taking a scientific look at the existence of art and its impact on the human psyche, not just a survey of recent art history.

In the second episode, ‘The Day Pictures Were Born’, the earliest evidence of the human ability to produce two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects is examined. The first of the now-famous painted caves was Altamira in Spain in 1879. Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, a nobleman, was examining the cave floor for artifacts from the prehistoric inhabitants. But it was his daughter, Maria, who first made the actual landmark discovery of the paintings. Accounts differ on whether she was 8 or 9 years old at the time.

(Photographer Unknown) – Maria (1879)

Surely one of the more charming images of post-Industrial history is the little girl tramping behind her scientist father in the course of conducting experiments or field investigations. The producers of the series hired actors (uncredited) to reenact the day’s events.

Mark Hedgecoe et al – How Art Made the World (2005) (1)

Unfortunately for de Sautuola, the significance of the find was not appreciated at the time. The prevailing belief among leading archaeologists was that the people “living” in the caves were savages and could not have produced images of such beauty and evident skill. The assumption was that the nobleman was either the victim or the perpetrator of a hoax. It did not occur to the establishment that such an elaborate hoax in which so many images of an extinct species of oxen would be produced was extremely unlikely. In 1902, when similar caves in the region were discovered, de Sautuola was finally vindicated, but only after he had been dead 14 years.

Mark Hedgecoe et al – How Art Made the World (2005) (2)