Aliento Chamber Players

Artist Kathi Kouguell presents
"My Father's Words: Let the Houses be the Witnesses"

Artist, Kathi Kouguell
Kathi Kouguell
KATHI KOUGUELL, European-born artist, studied in New York at the Art Students' League, Brooklyn Museum Art School, The New School; also Surface Design with Jason Pollen at Parsons as well as Roketso Zome with Yasuko Yabe of the Fabric Painting Workshop of Philadelphia. Her work includes hand painted fabric wall hangings, wood/paper sculptural structures, collages and installations, with many of her works incorporating text. She has had numerous solo gallery exhibits mainly in the New York area and has been shown in museum exhibits.

Kouguell's mixed media installation: My Father's Words: Let the Houses be the Witnesses has been shown at the Long Island, N.Y. Holocaust Museum; at the 29th Annual Scholars Conference of the Holocaust and Churches, and at Phillips Exeter Academy's Lamont Gallery. Narrated slide presentations have been given throughout the Northeast and the work is in the archives of several institutions in the U.S. as well as in Europe. Her work has twice been reviewed in The New York Times. Kathi Kouguell has lived in Exeter, N.H. since 2002.

Anton Gfroerer
Anton Gfroerer
Joseph A. Gray, born Anton Joseph Gfroerer (Gefroerer/Gfrörer) in 1901, was a teacher and for some years represented his father-in-law's textile business. He spent the years from 1938 to 1946 devoting himself solely to the safety and well being of his family throughout the upheaval of the WWII era. He often spoke of writing a book about those days and the letter he wrote to a friend in the 1960s detailing the family's lives during those years, has been turned into the installation: My Father's Words: Let the Houses be the Witnesses, as well as a book, by his daughter, Kathi Kouguell.

Germany 1939
Upon being notified of the death of the once proud and esteemed Carl Loewengard, Anne and I rushed to Hechingen where it was put in my hands to organize the burial of her father. Since the Jewish Cemetery is somewhat on the outskirts of town I telephoned for a taxi. What followed was the by now familiar excuse - 'I would gladly do it for you, but not for a Jew'. With the urn, with the remains of the deceased hidden in a suitcase, like a thief in the night, I crept through the deserted streets and alleys of Hechingen to the Jewish Cemetery."... germany 1939

Preparation for Departure
Preparation for Departure
The preparations for our departure under the watchful eyes of the Nazis were, since I was handling this alone, almost insurmountable. Declarations, searches, permissions of all kinds, seemed endless. Since I was eligible for the draft I needed a permit from the military officials. After a long time I received that even though I was called upon to become a German spy in America which I unconditionally, clearly and strongly declined.

Life in Aerdenhout
Life in Aerdenhout
Destitute without any money whatsoever we had to find shelter. A German-Jewish family, friends of Walter's brother, but unknown to us, took the three of us in. The name of the place was Aerdenhout, near Haarlem and not too far from Amsterdam. As compensation I took care of the household and Anne helped the best she could. Friends of this family donated clothing, as much as it was possible. Our hearts bled to see our daughter who during this time was a dainty being, in dresses that fit like "a fist in the eye". After some days, Katrin was accepted into the Dutch school with no knowledge at all of the language. It was astounding how she did speak Dutch within a short period of time. Within a short time she was equal to the other children in behavior, learning and language.

After some months, all German Jews in the area were identified and sent to a more central area. Anne also received a deportation order, which was followed later by many more, which I was able to have rescinded.

German Occupation
For a full five years we had to continue to deal with the German occupational forces, the Green Police, and most of all with the Gestapo.

"With the performance of pianist Mary Towse-Beck, the Aliento Chamber Players series at Christ Episcopal Church has become Exeter's answer to Carnegie Hall"

Lois Yopp
former faculty of music, Northwestern University

"Thanks so much for giving such an enjoyable performance. If Brahms had been in the audience, I’m sure he would have been pleased!"

Jackie Linder

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