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Remnants of the Holocaust Heal With Abstract Menorahs

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The artist Gunther Aron in 1960 with one of his first abstract menorahs.

Gunther Aron was born in 1923 in Jastrow, a small town 150 miles northeast of Berlin. He died in Santa Fe, N.M. in 2014. The artist devoted his life ensuring that the horror of the Holocaust would never be forgotten.   Aron was one of five children born to Awin Aron and Amalia Newmann. He and three of his siblings survived the Holocaust. His parents and his sister Ruth were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Art & Remembrance

During the 1960s Aron began making abstract Chanukah menorahs in honor of his sister Ruth. She had been killed by the Nazis when she was 28. Aron began creating the menorahs to perpetuate her memory and the children that she never lived to conceive.

At Home in New Mexico

In 1948 Aron immigrated to the U.S. and lived in Chicago for the next twenty years. He made a living creating industrial models for electronic companies. He met his wife Geri Nelson who worked for the phone company. The couple’s marriage lasted fifty-seven years. When they moved to New Mexico they purchased the old school house in Lamy in 1973. The uninhibited wide-open space of the school and the constantly changing natural light provided the ideal setting for the artist’s studio.  

International Exposure

As Aron worked in the serene setting of the old school house he never imagined that his menorahs, the ancient symbol of Judaism, would have had such a global reach. Aron’s distinctive menorahs are featured in many private collections and in museums. At the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam and the Judisches Museum of Berlin. In New York City at the Jewish Museum. The Skirball Museum in Los Angeles. In New Mexico Aron’s menorahs are displayed at Temple Beth Shalom and the Capitol Art Collection at the New Mexico State Roundhouse in Santa Fe and at the Holocaust Museum in Albuquerque.

  

A Lifetime Trying to Forget

When Aron retired he did so without trepidation. As he explained, “I’ve spent the last 73 years trying to forget that the Holocaust ever happened. Creating menorahs in memory of my sister was a constant reminder of that horrific time in world history.”

Victims of a German concentration camp in 1945.