This striking portrait of the young Yehuda Dubner was created at Calkins Road Middle School in New York.
When Yehuda Dubner was a boy in Lodz, Poland, he and his younger brother Israel sang in the choir at their synagogue. Shortly after Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, persecution of the Jews began. The Dubner family was driven out of their home and into the Lodz ghetto, which Jews were forbidden to leave. Within a year, Yehuda and his father died from starvation.
When we began working with this photo, we thought it was of Yehuda’s brother Israel, who survived and emigrated to the United States. A member of his family came across our project and contacted us to let us know whose photo we really had, and what had happened to the two boys. It was a very bittersweet moment for all of us.
Students have been very moved by the story of Yehuda, and reflected on the experience of drawing his portrait:
“I wanted to do justice to the person in this picture despite the fact they would never see it. I felt like maybe I could show them in a new way. It was a totally new experience that…I will never forget. Remembrance.” Nicky R, Wellington, Fl
“It felt really interesting. I began to feel a connection & attachment to this child. This portrait made me feel sorrow and the gloomy days that were made in the shadows of the portrait.” Sabrina C., Boca Raton, Fl