26 - Black Sky Falling

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“In early November 1942, Mania and I made our way to the village of Grabowka, where we told people that we were Polish Catholic farm girls who had been separated from our family after our farm was taken over by Folksdeutsche. The night after we arrived, I had a dream that my mother came to get me, running and pulling me along. “Why are we running?,” I asked her. She said, “Because the black sky is falling, and when it reaches the ground, we will die.” When I looked back, black pieces of clouds were falling to the earth.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1988.
36-3/16″W x 37-1/4″H.

Transcript of Narration

"They arrived in Grabowka and did just as Esther had said they would. The sheriff told Mania that she could help his mother with housework, and then arranged for Esther to spend the night with his neighbor while he looked for someone to take her in. "That night, Esther dreamed that her mother came for her and started running with her. 'Why are we running?,' Esther asked. Her mother said, 'Because the sky is falling, and when it reaches the ground, we will die.' Esther looked back to see pieces of black sky falling.

 

"This was actually the first piece that Esther created 10 years after the first two pieces of her home and family. This dream, along with one of her grandfather that she made shortly after, remained so powerful, so vivid in her memory. And in the way that dreams often do, it opened the door to all the memories that were to come pouring forth in the next several years."