Warsaw Orphan Yitzhak Belper – Artist, Historian and Friend of Reut High School — Passes Away at 98

Yitzhak Belper, the last of the orphans of Janush Korczak and a friend and mentor to Reut High School students over the years, passed away recently at the age of 98.

Yitzhak Belper happily poses with Reut students and staff during his last visit in 2019.

Belper, an artist and sculptor, was an apprentice in the Korczak and Stefania (Steppa) Vilcinska orphanage in Warsaw from the age of 7 to the age of 15. After the occupation of Poland by Germany, he fled to Russia, and later joined the Red Army.

In 1949, he came to Israel and turned his hobby in the orphanage – art – into a profession. He dedicated his life and creations to the commemoration of Korczak and Steppa: he wrote and illustrated the book ′′The Man Who Knew How To Love Children′′ and talked with many students and teens all over the country.

In a recent interview Yitzhak said ′′I’m still a child of Korczak. I don’t have much more time. I have to pass the Kurczak story to the children of Israel. In the book, I’m not talking about the Holocaust and death, but about the light in the orphanage. There is no need to share the evil and hatred that exists in the world with the children.′′

Many students and graduates of Reut School got to meet Yitzhak z”l and hear his stories and experiences at the school’s annual Korczak conference. His life story and personality conquered their hearts, and his legacy will live on in the Reut community.

May his memory be a blessing!

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