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Hanging Up a Special Promise

Julie Langsdorf made a promise to her grandmother Anne Lieberman in 1994.

"When my grandmother died, she left behind a lot of her artwork. She asked that it not be put away in an attic," said Langsdorf, who had already decorated almost every room of her house with her grandmother's sculptures, paintings, collages and prints and her grandfather's black-and-white photographs.

"Their artwork is so important to me. For the first few years after they died, it almost haunted me. In my house, I couldn't get away from their memory. Over time, I worked through it and I love having all of their work. They stay with me in a positive way."

HER GRANDPARENTS had always wanted to have a husband-wife show, said Langsdorf.

A week before what would have been her grandfather's 100th birthday on Dec. 4, Langsdorf hung a sampling of both of her grandparents’ work together at Borders Books Music & Cafe in White Flint Mall.

Borders gives artists the opportunity to display work in its cafe and rotates artists regularly. "For the artists, it's a great way to get space. For us, it's pretty," said Flee Powers, inventory manager of Borders at White Flint Mall.

This month, the Liebermans, who met in Southern Germany and survived the Holocaust, will be displayed together in the cafe of the bookstore.

"IT IS A GREAT love story," said Langsdorf.

"They really lived life to the fullest. They lived through terrible times and lost everything a couple of times," she said.

Her grandmother Anne Lieberman, who was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1908, studied in art school in Breslau in the early 1930s but was not permitted to continue studying under Hitler's regime.

She and her husband emigrated from Germany to the Dutch West Indies in 1938, but after Germany invaded Holland, they were confined to the island of Bonaire, said Langsdorf.

They adopted their daughter, who had been orphaned during the Holocaust. The Liebermans stayed on Bonaire until the end of the war when they moved to Venezuela where they lived for many years.

"They were very special people. They traveled a great deal and would go on trips for months on end," said Langsdorf. "It was very special the way they lived. They were very interesting and inspiring. They were very social and always had young friends. They always seemed young."

The Liebermans work is in private collections in New York, California, Washington, Switzerland and Venezuela.