Julie Meetal Berman
Mee`tal is the Maiden name of Israeli born Julie M. Berman. Its meaning “arising from the morning dew” is an appropriate name for a child of Survivors, for each survivor arose from the ashes of the camps and ghettos into a new and promising tomorrow. At age 12 she moved to the United States with her parents who were looking to move away from the wars. She lived in New York where she continued her passion for art. Studying at Cooper Union School of art and then receiving a degree from FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology. After meeting her husband they moved to Texas where she raised two wonderful children and helped her husband with his medical practice. In 1996 Meetal left the medical field and returned to her passion- Art. Her first goal was to complete the Holocaust Series. This series of paintings have been a calling that Meetal has always felt she had. Telling her parent’s stories created an ever present responsibility in her life. For years she struggled to find someone who would write their stories in book form before she realized that it would be up to her to get this done. As an artist she also realized that her form of education and documentation would be on canvas. With that in mind she set out to paint three paintings, one for her mother, one for her father and one to show the out come of their struggles. Two years later she emerged with ten paintings. Some of the paintings were not planned at all “I often felt as though I was just a tool in producing these paintings. “There were other forces in control of my paint brush.” It has been an incredible experience, one that has been very gratifying and comforting. It’s as though I have fulfilled a mission.” The Holocaust series is now a part of the ” Color of Memory ” exhibition which is sponsored by the Dallas Holocaust Museum. Together with artist Veronique Jonas, they have created this traveling show to help educate younger generations of what hatred is capable of.
In October, 2002 I was asked to go to Poland to see headstones that were recovered from roadways in and around Treblinka, the extermination camp. It was a very poignant trip but one that has again brought me back to the Holocaust. I have created a replica of a design that I hope will someday be built there at Treblinka using the headstones. Seeing the destruction of all the beautiful Jewish cemeteries again left me with a need to let the world know that it was not only the living that were victimized, but even the mere memory was to be annihilated. By bringing attention to all the desecrated cemeteries I hope to help those very few people who are now trying to restore them.
Being the daughter of survivors has made me more sensitive to the culture and community that was destroyed in Europe, and after visiting Poland that was even more apparent. If in some way I can remind the world of what was taken from us and warn younger generations that today’s intolerance, fanaticism and hatred can destroy their world as they once destroyed so many, that powerful alert systems must be built not only against the fury of nature — a tsunami or storm or eruption — but above all against the folly of man. Because we know from bitter experience that the human animal is capable of the worst, as well as the best — of madness as of genius — and that the unthinkable remains possible.
My intention for these paintings and these headstones is to give a voice to all those who have perished. As they would say: “Let the world know,”
“Do not forget us.”