Old photos, photo collages and a short introduction tell the story of Elise Sophie Hardegg's life: 25 years in Haifa, Palestine, a poor, neglected corner of the Ottoman Empire and after World War I a British Mandate. At 23 she went for the first time to Germany to visit the place her grandfather Georg David Hardegg, a 1848 revolutionary and political prisoner, was forced to leave. He became co-founder of the Templers, a utopian community, and the German Colony in Palestine in 1868.
Elise Hardegg's pivotal life experience was becoming a born-again Christian and joining the Plymouth Brethren in Haifa. In 1931 she married Oskar Schwalb, a member of the same religious sect. They lived in Stuttgart, Germany, experienced the Nazi period and World War II. The author, the oldest of their nine children, tells of her mother's life-long clinging to fundamentalism and her own liberal view of life, a conflict never bridged.
RUTH VIKTORIA WARD is a mixed media artist and photographer, born in Germany in 1932. Much of her diverse art work reflects multicultural experiences of living, working and teaching for many years in Europe, Egypt, Pakistan, Morocco. Visual/verbal collaborations with Moroccan writer Fatema Mernissi has inspired the artist to investigate her own autobiographical material: “Memory Curtain”, Washington, DC; 2000, “Friendship Curtain”, Berlin, Germany, 2001; “Two Worlds—One Woman’s Story”, an artist’s book, part of a Women’s Caucus for Art exhibition documenting women’s lives, 2003.
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