Friday, 19 December 2020
There it was – Klimt’s world famous masterpiece, ‘The Kiss’ at the Upper Belvedere stood magnificently in front of my eyes. I went to Vienna with my Friend, Atsuko back in 2010. She used to work for a tourist agency and she is an avid traveller/a connoisseur of fine arts and cuisines. And thanks to her, the trip enabled me to encounter Klimt’s art works at the Leopold Museum, Secession, Albertina, Belvedere Palace and more! Klimt is definitely one of my favourite artists by far. So how could I refrain myself being extremely ecstatic?
Nevertheless I am secretly hoping one day, ‘The Stoclet Frieze’, the Klimt’s beautiful mosaics on the dinning wall of Josef Hoffmann’s house will be allowed for a public viewing. Oh, one episode I must add to this blog. On the last day in Vienna, we were having a coffee at the Café Aida. Whilst my friend was gone to the restroom, a very elegant, elderly lady sat at the table next to mine, turned to me and smiled. ‘Sprechen Sie Deutsch’? She asked. So I shook my head and said ‘I speak English’. Then she leaned over to me closer and told me the most incredible story I ever heard.
She said she was a holocaust survivor who had spent time in Auschwitz when she was 11 years old. Then she moved to the States and built her family there… Because I was overcome with such a dismay, my brain went totally hazy and lost its capacity to take information in easily. It could have been no more than 5 minutes when she was talking and next thing I remembered, she was not facing towards me as my friend returned.
Was I having delirium momentarily? Was something in my coffee I drank? No, it was real. She somehow chose me to reveal her story. To this date, I painfully regret not having asked, at a bare minimum, her name. I wanted to give her a huge hug and tell her how much she means to the world and the entire humanity. And promise her that we will never repeat the foolishness.