Trauma and the Art of Transformation: Dutch Painter and Bergen-Belsen Survivor Sieg Maandag

Tuesday, April 5 at 8 PM

The Imperative of Racial Trauma: Truth and Reconciliation in America: Continuing the Work of Margaret Morgan Lawrence, M.D.

Presenter: Dawn Skorczewski, Ph.D.

Discussant: Adele Tutter, M.D.

Location: Register via the button below to receive the Zoom link

Professor Dawn Skorczewski will discuss her recent book, Sieg Maandag: Life and Art in the Aftermath of Bergen-Belsen. Sieg Maandag (1937-2013) was seven years old when he was liberated from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Separated from his parents, he survived the war with his sister and 50 other Dutch children. A photo of Sieg walking beside a row of bodies in liberated Bergen-Belsen shocked the world when it appeared in Life magazine on May 9, 1945. His mother used this photo to find him in Amsterdam after the war; his father never returned. After trying his hand at the family diamond trade and clothing design and traveling the world, Maandag devoted the rest of his life to painting and ceramics in Amsterdam. In interviews, he often remarked, “I was always a painter.” In his haunting and healing paintings and ceramics, Maandag expresses the suffering and joys of life in what Lawrence Langer terms the “afterdeath” of Bergen-Belsen.

This program will consider questions about life after trauma, violence, and loss. What makes life possible after life-threatening trauma? What is the role of art and literature in doing justice to the past and imagining different futures? What is the relationship between trauma and art? Dr. Skorczewski will interpolate Sieg Maandag’s oral history and writings with a presentation of his visual art, the totality of which gives voice to his experiences and create a dialogue between trauma and visual representation.

Dawn Skorczewski Ph.D. is Research Professor of English Emerita at Brandeis University and Lecturer at Amsterdam University College. She has written widely about psychoanalysis, education, poetry, and the Holocaust. Her books include An Accident of Hope: The Therapy Tapes of Anne Sexton and Teaching One Moment at a Time: Disruption and Repair in the Classroom. She has authored articles in JAPAPsychoanalytic QuarterlyAmerican Imago, and The American Psychoanalyst. She has been a Fulbright Scholar and was a winner of APSA’s CORST award as well as the Gondor Award for her contributions to psychoanalytic education. Her next book addresses the life and work of Wim Ten Broek, a painter who was in the Dutch Resistance and designed the iconic posters of the Holland America Line.

Adele Tutter, M.D., Ph.D. is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, the Vagelos School of Medicine; Director, the Psychoanalytic Studies Program of the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society in the Graduate School of Arts and Science; and Faculty, the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, all at Columbia University. She is also on the faculty of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. Her interdisciplinary scholarship has earned the American Psychoanalytic Association Menninger, CORST, and Ticho prizes, among others. A long-time member of the editorial boards of The International Journal of PsychoanalysisPsychoanalytic Quarterly, and American Imago, she maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis in Manhattan.