Friday, February 21, 2014
Three generations of the Halaby family live in a tiny, cramped apartment in Jerusalem. It is 1945 and World War II is ending. Many Jewish people are emigrating to Israel. The Halaby's have 4 sons and 1 daughter. One of the Halaby sons is off fighting in Italy. Another is a fighting for Israel Independence, while another son borders on being a terrorist and inciting violence in the city. The youngest son is free to roam and grows up amidst this turbulent era of Independence.
Yakim and Bertozzi have written a stunning historical graphic novel that teaches the reader about the history of Israel from 1945 to 1948 from a familial point of view. So many of us read about the Holocaust and think the story ends there but it doesn't. Jerusalem; A Family Portrait takes you to a place where people leave the atrocities of WWII and go to Israel to fight another war for a Jewish homeland.
The graphic artwork is done in black and white, reflecting the horrors of war. There is a cast of characters and a family tree which is nice to refer back to when you get confused ( I sometimes confused the characters). There is also a background history of Jerusalem and the events leading up to this story. A map of the British Mandate of 1945 is also enclosed.
Jerusalem; A Family Portrait has left a lasting imprint on me. The characters (based on the authors family stories) are so compelling and the ending is so gripping that I don't think I will ever forget this story.