Janusz Korczak was a pediatrician and teacher who established his unique orphanage in 1912. The children were given freedom to develop their talents. They were taught responsibility and how to create a righteous, humane society. Refusing to abandon the children, he was murdered by the Nazis.
This is a fascinating book that sheds light on the character of Korczak from the unique, intimate, and authentic perspective of his student. It tells the story of the daily life of the orphanage Korczak managed with its special social dynamic. It also describes the independence of thought that was given to the children as well as the abundance of love and compassion they received. Belfer's sincere yet simple writing style, along with his drawings, enable youngsters and adults alike to be carried away by the plot and feel as if they are part of the enlightened heaven Korczak created in a gray, hostile city. Amnon Jackont, Israeli author I could not put this book down once I had begun reading it. The stories, which deeply affected young Itzchak, are magical, taking place in Janusz Korczak's orphanage alongside the atrocities in Warsaw. I finished this book feeling proud to be a Jew. No matter what the experiences Belfer was forced to contend with as a child, he managed to raise a family, become an artist, and prove that the will to live conquers everything. This is no ordinary Holocaust book. It is written with extraordinary talent and a sense of humor. Highly Recommended! Udi Melovetz This is not your ordinary Holocaust book but rather a book about resurrection! The artist, Itzchak Belfer, tells us about the magical years of his life in the orphanage founded by Janusz Korczak, followed by his escape from Warsaw and subsequent move to Israel. It is the story of life triumphing over death. I have read many Holocaust memoirs, but this one is a must! Gili Radutzki White House in a Gray City by Itzchak Belfer is a deeply sensitive and moving book. The combination of stories from the Janusz Korczak orphanage with the author's paintings magnifies the effect. This story is about a boy who always sees life in a positive way and who, despite painful, intense experiences, in the end manages to grow into adulthood still seeing the cup half full. It is a must read for anyone who loves and respects others. Esti Friedreich
Itzchak Belfer was born in Warsaw, Poland, grew up in the orphanage managed by Dr. Janusz Korczak, and was the only survivor of a large extended family wiped out in the Holocaust. At the age of seventeen, Belfer left his dear ones in the ghetto on a journey of survival. On his return to Warsaw he realized, standing in the ruins of the ghetto, that his home was in the Land of Israel, and he decided to immigrate there. Belfer's immigration attempt landed him in the British detention camp in Cyprus. It was there that he studied sculpture under Zeev Ben-Tzvi and was captivated by the magic of art and sculpture. He finally fulfilled his dream of living in Israel. After serving in the Israeli army, he studied art at the Avni Institute of Art and Design. He has since instructed generations of young artists and has channeled his artistic talents, already obvious during his orphanage years, to commemorating Dr. Janusz Korczak's work and the memory of his murdered family and the Holocaust.
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