Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels

'Emmie Arbel. The Colour of Memory'

A graphic memoir based on the personal conversations and trust-based relationship between Emmie Arbel and graphic artist Barbara Yelin. First publication in German.


by Barbara Yelin (edited by Charlotte Schallié & Alex Korb)


Reprodukt (November 2023)

"...Yelin creates a haunting memory, that is also a reflection on remembering itself."

Born in The Hague in 1937, Emmie Arbel and her Jewish family were deported by the Nazis in 1942. As a child, she survived the Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. When the war is over she is eight years old. Her parents and grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust.

Emmie and her brothers are adopted by a foster family and live in the Netherlands. But the rescue turns out to be a new ordeal for the traumatized child. In 1949 the family emigrated to Israel. On the kibbutz, Emmie feels isolated and doesn’t belong anywhere.

Until she takes her life into her own hands as a young woman.

Emmie Arbel now lives near Haifa, Israel. She often travels to Germany to speak as a contemporary witness. Although her childhood was marked by death, speechlessness, abuse and loneliness, she looks back on a life full of rebellion, self-empowerment and humour. In her constant effort to bring her memories out of the silence, the consequences of the Holocaust become visible – in her life, with her family, in every single day.

Barbara Yelin’s graphic novel is based on her personal encounters and numerous intensive conversations with Emmie Arbel. It is a continuation of the first collaboration, and includes 40 pages already published in the anthology “Aber ich leben” (CH Beck) (“But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust” (University of Toronto Press) from 2022.

Edited by Dr. Charlotte Schallié and Dr. Alexander Korb.