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AGO - Art Spiegelman's Co-Mix, and Memories Unearthed

I always see this picture of my Grandpa when I go to visit Grandma.

I asked Mom about why he was in uniform. I found out that he was in the Royal Air Force in Jamaica. (Jamaica was a colony of Britain at the time.) I wanted to find out about what was going on in the world at that time and why he would choose to join the army.

I finally started getting some answers. Mom let me read Art Spiegelman's Maus. It was about what Art Spiegelman's Dad experienced while living in Nazi Occupied Poland.

I could finally understand why my Grandpa joined the army.

Even though Poland and Jamaica were far away from each other, World War 2 affected everybody. Britain declared war on Germany when Poland was invaded in 1939. And people from all over the British Empire wanted to do their part to fight for Britain.

I also saw this picture of Dad's Grandfather.
He fought in World War 2 with the Royal Winnepeg Rifles in Normandy. One of my Great-Uncles is buried there.

World War 2 affected everybody!


Yesterday, we went to the AGO to see Memories Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross and Art Spiegelman's Co-Mix.

Henryk Ross was a very brave Jewish photographer. He was hired to take propaganda photos for the Nazis but he also snuck in some photos that showed what life was really like. He risked his life to take these photos and he had to hide the negatives so that the negatives would survive.

In 1940, the Nazis rounded up 160,000 Jews and forced them to live in Lodz Ghetto. Henryk Ross was one of them.
Lodz had an area of 4.13 sq. kilometres.

German guards standing under a sign saying
"Jews, entry forbidden"

Sign for the Jewish residential area saying
"Residential Area of the Jews, entry forbidden"

Ruins of the synagogue on Wolborska Street destroyed in 1939

But, there were still pictures of hope.
The Torah was saved from the synagogue

They were so separated from everywhere else that they had to use a different currency. All of their money and valuables were confiscated and the Nazis made them use a currency that had no value outside of the Ghetto.

Here you can see the one mark, 2 mark and 5 mark notes.

We saw some of the notices that would have been posted in Lodz.

We learned about the meagre rations that they received. We saw what it was like for the people in the leather factory and the mattress factory.
We saw pictures of hungry people.

It must have been terrible.

The whole exhibit was very moving.


Before we went on to see Co-Mix, we took a quick stop in the Kids' Gallery.

I really liked these three pieces.
Cabbage, Carton and Cat by Mary Pratt

A video by Joyce Wieland called Catfood.

Cats by Antoine Eugene Lambert


In Co-Mix we got to see Art Spiegelman's Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages.

But we also saw Maus.
I am glad that I got to read it before we came. It would have been impossible to read it here.

And of course, we admired the Douglas Fir structures before we left. 


  1. Great history lesson. Wish I was taught that way. I would probably like history.

  2. Hey Josh, You got me to read History :)