The Persistence of Hope: A True Story

The Persistence of Hope: A True Story

The Persistence of Hope: A True Story

The Persistence of Hope: A True Story


This is the story of the impact of the Nazi rise to power on the life of a Jewish youth from Belgrade who became a vibrant artist in Rome, then in Boston, where he joined the Harvard faculty. In his spare time, he revels in his favourite sit-com, 'Hogan's Heroes'.


Throughout my life, I have worked as an artist. visual problems of space, rather than temporal issues of narrative, have consequently honed my perceptions and shaped my mind. This does not mean that I have neglected the written word, although I have never actively been a writer. Since my early youth, I have been a voracious reader of literature and of scientific, philosophical, and technical works, and I owe to books—and the abstractions and realities and poetics of their authors—a lifetime of nourishment and learning.

In recent years, I have felt the approach of a time of renunciation. I have become more fully aware of the ultimate closing of the circle of life. Before the horizons of my memory grow dim in the twilight of advancing age, I have turned the light of my spirit to reflect upon the past. I have feared that even I may have forgotten the tragedy of the time in which I have lived and the force of what I have experienced. the past had receded in the succession of the many chapters of my life, and the sharp edges of my memories had dulled. Through meditation and reflection, their vividness has been restored to me, and from this I have drawn consolation.

I first began to transcribe these memories and reflections at the age of fifty-nine. Now, almost three decades later, I am at last gathering them into a coherent story. My experience of life has been filled with challenges, and the struggles to overcome them. My ideals have been tested against harsh realities, and my enthusiasms have been subjected to self-doubt. in the effort to recover the fullness of the most difficult period of my life—and the period that formed my character— and in the search for its ultimate meaning and consequences and value, I decided to record my memories of my experiences in a Europe shattered by war.

I escaped the eruption of Nazi evil in which six million Jews—my people—were horribly exterminated in an industrialized genocide un-

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