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Strangers in the Manger

Mother and Children



 The Lost Family


Possibly the most interesting figures in the whole scene is the grouping pictured left. It is a woman and two children. Although these figures are not named, it could be inferred that these are Eduard Kaib's wife and two children. Even if this family unit is not based on Kaib's own family, it would not be surprising that the POWs who were seperated from their families would want to include a family in the scene. All three figures have blue eyes.

We were treated very kindly and had never to complain about anything, but you can imagine that the feeling of being away from home thousands of miles was very hard to bear. So most of us suffered from homesickness ...While making the scene I used to sing or croon Christmas songs quite often. I also thought of my family more intensively during that time.

- Eduard Kaib (Oral response to questions posed by Algona grade school students, 1985)

Woman with Jug



Remembering Her


In the biblical story, Mary is the only female character. Yet, here is a woman in a prominent position in the scene. In their day to day lives, the POWs had little to no interaction with women. Perhaps the artists were tired of crafting sheep. Perhaps this is a reference to the woman at the well Jesus meets early in his ministry. Most likely, she is a reaction to the realities of captivity. As with the family, her inclusion might have been prompted by memories of mothers, wives, or sisters thousands of miles away.