University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
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CHGS

  • Marlene Miller

    Marlene E. Miller

    Marlene E. Miller was born in Philladelphia and attended the Philadelphia College of Art and the Tyler School of Fine Arts.Miller has taught art and is a printmaker and sculptor who also makes puppets. In her art she confronts powerful issues such as the Holocaust, feminism, and homelessness.

    Artist Statement

    I have chosen to make my sculptures from Papier-mâché and put them in stage like environments. In the past, I have worked with puppets in all facets of puppet theater. Supporting my intention to go this route was the ironic symbolism I found in the film Shoah- a survivor of Sobibor tells under the threat of death, the inmates were forbidden to refer to the Jewish dead as "corpses" or "victims" or any term suggesting humanity. The Germans forced inmates to cal the bodies figuren-"puppets." This piece evolved after my extraordinary journey to Poland and Israel in 1992 with "March of the Living." Joining five thousand Jewish high school students, adults and survivors of the death camps, we paid tribute to the memory of the six million European Jews who perished. Spiritual comfort is dervied from saying the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer to cherish the memory of a deceased person. Entire families, however, were eradicated in the Holocaust. Who will say Kaddish for them?

    Artworks: Witness and Legacy

    Schlaftwagon: Who will say Kaddish for them?

    Schlaftwagon: Who Will Say Kaddish for them? 1994 Mixed media sculpture
    60 x 24 x 24

    The sculpture, Sleepwagon evokes image of deportation and the killing of children and adults. The middle of the pedestal refers to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and contains photos and text from The Stroop Report which documented the destruction of the Ghetto. Around the base are "Kaddish" candles.

    Schlaftwagon: Who will say Kaddish for them?

    Schlaftwagon: Who Will Say Kaddish for them? 1994 Mixed media sculpture
    60 x 24 x 24

    Many people who have seen this work see the figures as dead children. However, their appearance is of adults, and in fact, they are puppets. The SS Administration in the ghettos did not mandate a Yellow Star on baby carriages. Nevertheless, the artist brings together many symbols of the Holocaust, and tries to raise questions of redemption

    Page updated 2013.