An identity lost and found

Growing up, Adam Nudelman didn’t know that his paternal grandparents were Polish Jews. After their death, he searched for the remains of his family past.

All he found were piles of dusty shoes, tools and boxes — decades of his grandfather’s shoemaking production, decades of silence.

Through these objects and his art, Adam tries to make sense of his family’s hidden story.

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Adam Nudelman's story

Title Noodles

Adam Nudelman's story

My name is Adam Nudelman, I was born in 1967, and I currently reside in West Preston.

On my maternal side I have a long-term, Anglo background, and I know my family history. I know that my grandfather was a soldier who was in the Second World War, I know that I have great-uncles who were in Changi, and I know I have relatives who have fought in the First World War and so I have a quite a clear and definitive picture of my maternal, Anglo, heritage, but it’s an amazing sort of a thing to know that there’s another, large side of myself, another part of my family history, another part of who I am.

It’s been quite an amazing journey that, once I realised that I have a Jewish background and I’ve engaged myself to learn as much about that background as I possibly can, both in my own personal family but also in the wider, and Jewish cultural context. I’ve come to a number of places where I understand that there’s certain things which are innately within me, in terms of there’s certain behaviours, certain moral ways of thinking, certain cultural ways of doing things, which are given to you, not just as a form of behaviour but I think, you know, genetically or through your DNA, you inherit certain aspects of, you know, who you are and where you come from as well.

My daughter who’s now 25 is sort of looking at those aspects within herself, and exploring similar sorts of issues, and it’s something you need to arrive at, yourself, and it’s amazing how some people never question their identity, and their backgrounds, there’s no, push, toward it, and there’s others, like myself and numerous other of people that I know, who get to a certain period in their life and it’s a question, a burning question, or a burning desire to be pursue it with, and the older you get the more you pursue it, in a way.