In memory Gertrud Kauders
by Rose Lucas
I leave my heart inside these walls where lathes are being nailed together cross-hatched tapestries of shape embedded inside the hopeful substance of this emerging house that says at least a kind of permanence a shelter in this rising cacophony I trust to a plaster that smooths & joins & makes a smiling face to shield a hidden world of dust its quiet & coiled spiders where sunlight never comes & seasons roll on by I must learn to imagine this place that holds for now all the colours I have seen & thought about the broad swathe the softness of pink & yellow light on naked skin the delicacy of nipple each canvas folded carefully into silence sealed & alive in this airless space swirl of colour & form boldness of eyebrow holding them safe my watching eyes my labours of pencil & brush & palette tracing the lines of the everyday or the expressions that flicker transient across a human face this world I love inside my eyes these pages of my pounding tearing life
I was very moved to read on fb about the amazing recent ‘find’ of the hidden works of Gertrud Kauders. Kauders was a Czech artist & Jew who was murdered by the Nazis in 1942. However, before her arrest, she managed to conceal 700 of her artworks inside the walls of her friend’s house in Prague; they were only discovered in 2018. I can only imagine the both the distress and the hopefulness she must have felt as she tried to find safety for her art in a world in which she herself was not safe. https://www.rferl.org/a/the-art-of-gertrud-kauders-a-czechoslovakian-jewish-artist-murdered-by-the-nazis/30857717.html?fbclid=IwAR3t8Hlq5x-85xR6NQqRaCTEK_Ri5oI57VZVepyCrM55NCLJhXbdu9DX8KM
Rose Lucas is a Melbourne poet and academic at Victoria University. Her first collection, Even in the Dark (UWAP 2013) won the Mary Gilmore Award; her second collection is Unexpected Clearing (UWAP 2016). She is currently completing her third collection, This Shuttered Eye. Her poems have been widely published in literary journals.