Coffee Mug

Porsgrund Coffee Mug
Porsgrund Coffee Mug

This mug from which I drink my morning coffee reminds me of home.  It’s abstract bird design embodies the world my grandmother recreated when she moved to North America after World War II.  As Holocaust survivors and refugees who were liberated from Buchenwald at the end of World War II, my Jewish grandparents didn’t have anything to carry with them as memories of home.  No pictures, jewelry or keepsakes made the journey first to Canada, where they could be sponsored, and eventually to New York; all of their family belongings had been taken when they were forced to leave their homes for ghettos and camps.  Since they could not bring home with them, my grandmother set out a life-long goal to create a new family history that could be passed from generation to generation through belongings.  

She slowly built collections of everything from coins to decorative plates that hung on the wall of her kitchen. Since silver and china were traditional things to pass down through a family, most of her belongings came in the form of porcelain; little statues and whole dish sets made all in one place, Porsgrund Norway.  While my grandmother was born in Hungary, she and her two sisters were spread throughout the world after the war.  Her eldest sister Yutzi settled in Norway.  Her husband worked at the porcelain factory that made this cup in Porsgrund Norway.  Each time the sisters would visit one another, my grandmother would accumulate another item for her collection, slowly rewriting the traumatic memories of the past with new ones of the life they chose for themselves.  

Place(s): New York
Year: 1957

– Sarah

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant