28- The Bees Save Me

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(From Tapestry): 

“June 1943, in Grabowka. While I was tending the garden I had planted, two Nazi soldiers appeared and began to talk to me. I couldn’t let them know that I understood them, so I just shook my head as they spoke. Dziadek, the old farmer who had taken me in as his housekeeper, came to stand watch nearby, but the honeybees rescued me first, swarming around the soldiers. ‘Why aren’t they stinging you?,’ the soldiers asked Dziadek as they ran out of the garden.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1996.

31-11/16″W x 34″H.

Transcript of Narration

"One day, Esther was tending the garden she had planted, when a couple of Nazi soldiers entered the garden, trampling the plants, conveying danger. They spoke to her in German, so she had to pretend she didn’t understand, and kept her head down. The farmer she worked for, whom she called Dziadek, Polish for grandfather, stood by his house, watching. Suddenly, the bees that Dziadek kept swarmed out of their hives, circling the soldiers until they ran out of the garden, waving their hats at the bees. As they left, one of them shouted, 'Why aren’t they stinging you?' Esther believed that the bees had recognized the soldiers as strangers, and were angered and threatened by them. Esther would say with a laugh, 'That was the day the bees saved me!' Despite their tiny size, the bees could do what no one else could do, and chase off the Germans."