Golem Lives with Karla Diaz

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Day Four

“If you want to find the Golem,” a young woman tells me in a café “You have to go to the Prague castle, for sure the Jewish Synagogue and the cemetery.” The cemetery? I must admit I got a bit scared when she said this. Today is the opening of the exhibition. Mario and I still need to finish some details on the mural. I have finished my poem. But we still need to finish the mural. We finish the mural on time for the opening at 12pm.

After lunch we decide to go in search of the Golem to the Prague castle situated in one of the oldest part of the city. Like the rest of Prague, the castle has been slowly restored. Visually one can tell the difference in the sections that has been renovated which is clean and bright from the older darker sections of the castle. I can’t believe I’m seeing such amazing architecture. Growing up in Hollywood, it looks like a movie studio set. There are contributions of doors and flagpole sculptures by the well-known Czech architect Plecnik. We walk around the Prague castle for a while as our friend Eugenio points out key architectural renovations and tell us the history. Where is Golem? Is he hidden inside that castle? Perhaps he lives on the tallest part of the castle, where he watches everyone coming? Is he in the Garden? Who is Golem? Will I recognize him? We walk further crossing Charles bridge. This was once the longest bridge in the world.

A few blocks away is the old-new Jewish Synagogue. It has been the main synagogue of the Prague Jewish community for more than 700 years, built in the 13th century by stonemasons. We spend time inside reading hundreds, thousands of names of the Jewish people that were killed. It is an overwhelming feeling that leaves us saddened by such tragedy. We walk to the Jewish cemetery.

The cemetery was built during medieval times. The Nazis burned the town here, destroyed and killed a large population of Jewish families. Hitler was known said he didn’t destroy the cemetery because it was a memorial as evidence of the extermination of the Jews. Golem, the mythical figure, the one who escape, the one who is said to be living here. Walking around the cemetery it is surely an accurate statement. Golem is always linked with a negative perspective of intellectual absence, of non-human traits, and it has been said that the Golem is one who is controlled by others, subject to fear and destruction. But the Golem survived the fires of violence according to legend. No one ever focuses on this as evidence of strength. Even thought the rabbi hid him in the synagogue, the Golem has been able to allure, to escape the hate and the destruction of a race. He was put here to protect the Jewish people and as that, he remains alive. Alive in the concrete foundation of the Synagogue, in the cemetery, in the people of Prague. The biennial opens at 2pm. After a tour of the synagogue we go back to our apartment, shower and leave for the show. The response to our mural is an interesting response as they say it looks like it doesn’t belong in the exhibition, but on the street. This exactly the response we wanted. We walk around the rest of the show, seeing for the first time some of the other pieces in the exhibition. We go to dinner with other artists and curators from the show. We are so tired by then we go home and sleep.