""There is no known vocabulary that can describe what Samuel Bak has created here. It is almost beyond mere metaphor to say that his hand is driven by some divine force. Never before has pity been so twinned with outrage, or visionary image-making with unforgiving historical fact.""—Cynthia Ozick,
In this examination of Samuel Bak’s most recent collection of paintings inspired by the little boy from the famous Stroop Report photo taken in the Warsaw Ghetto in April 1943. Gary A. Phillips and Danna Nolan Fewell consider the historical and visual implications of this iconic image and its contemporary evocations. A survivor of the Vilna liquidation and a child prodigy whose first exhibition was held in the Vilna Ghetto at age nine, Bak weaves together personal history and Jewish history to articulate an iconography of his Holocaust experience. Bak’s art preserves memory of the twentieth-century ruination of Jewish life and culture by way of an artistic passion and precision that stubbornly announces the creativity of the human spirit.