The first baby born in Bergen-Belsen to Auschwitz survivors after the war, Mindy Weisel grew up with the responsibility to “be everything” to her parents, and to be happy—always happy. Today, she is an acclaimed abstract artist, working in paint and glass. Her works have been shown internationally, and are in the collection of numerous world class museums, including the Israel Museum and Smithsonian Institution Museums. She is married to Sheldon Weisel, a Washington, D.C. attorney, the mother of three daughters, and a grandmother of five.
In her interview, Mindy discusses her childhood in New York and Los Angeles, what it was like to realize that her family was different; that not every father had a number on his arm, and that others had grandparents and large extended families. She talks about how becoming an artist was a way she could make a mark in this world, and how a drawing made by her father in 1946 of the sun coming up inspired this creative process. Even more, art is the way Mindy expresses the emotions inside her, and comes to terms, to the extent possible, with the legacy of loss and sadness she inherited. In her works, beauty breaks through the darkness. Mindy speaks about her trips to Germany, where she visited Dachau, and met with grandchildren of Nazis, and to Cairo, where she told her story to a group of Egyptian women. Mindy’s message is that person-to-person connections are what make it possible to move forward with hope. While her life story informs her work, her art is not about the tragedy and horror of the Holocaust. Rather, her work conveys the tension between darkness and light, and above all, seeks the beauty. She believes that, in spite of all the darkness in the world, beauty will survive. In her interview, Mindy’s optimism, openness, and genuineness emerge.