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Yossel: April 19, 1943
     

Yossel: April 19, 1943

by Joe Kubert
 

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Famed comic creator Joe Kubert’s family came to America from Poland in the 1920s, but the family almost was not allowed into the country. YOSSEL asks the question, “What if my family had still been in Poland when the Warsaw Ghetto was founded?”

In 1939, Yossel and his family were relocated by the Nazis to a special section of Warsaw “for

Overview

Famed comic creator Joe Kubert’s family came to America from Poland in the 1920s, but the family almost was not allowed into the country. YOSSEL asks the question, “What if my family had still been in Poland when the Warsaw Ghetto was founded?”

In 1939, Yossel and his family were relocated by the Nazis to a special section of Warsaw “for their protection.” What no one knew, though, is that this was only the first step of a so-called “Final Solution” to try and wipe out the Jewish population. Yossel finds himself a pet artist for the Nazis who are entranced by his drawings of superheroes, but all will change when a face from Yossel’s past tells the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto what is really happening in the outside world.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
Graphic novels have the ability to enchant and inform, to entertain and elate. They can also serve as a testimonial to human perseverance and endurance in the face of adversity, as is the case with comics legend Joe Kubert's tale of a 15-year-old aspiring artist caught up in the brutality of the Warsaw Ghetto. What happens to the young Yossel is what could have happened to Kubert himself if he and his family not left eastern Poland in 1926. Luckily for us, he made it to America and has given us this inspirational book.
Publishers Weekly
Kubert explores what might have been in this gripping account of WWII's Warsaw ghetto uprising. In the text introduction, Kubert recalls how his Polish family attempted to emigrate to the U.S. in 1926, but they were denied because his mother was pregnant with him. Luckily, they succeeded a few months later, and Kubert went on to become one of the most honored artists in comics history. But what if his family hadn't gotten away? In an immediate, sketchy pencil style, Kubert imagines an alternate version of his family history. Yossel is a teenaged boy with a gift for art. Uprooted and stripped of their possessions, the family is sent to the Warsaw ghetto with other Jews and undesirables, where conditions deteriorate as the Final Solution is put into action. Yossel's gift for artwork amuses the German guards and they give him special favors. Thus, when his family is sent off to a concentration camp, he is spared. He joins other young men in the underground resistance, however, including Mordechai, based on real-life ringleader Mordechai Anielewicz. An escapee from one of the camps makes his way to the ghetto and tells of the unimaginable horrors taking place, leading the resistance to stand up against the Nazis in an ultimately futile but memorable uprising. Kubert's loose pencil art excels at catching character and setting in a few lines, although the layouts are sometimes plain. A straightforward take on the events of the Holocaust, Yossel tells its tragic story with both emotion and dignity. (Oct. 2003) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Renowned artist Kubert, known for his work on DC's Tarzan and Sgt. Rock, plus the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning Fax from Sarajevo, was brought to the United States from Poland in 1926 by his Jewish parents when he was an infant. His speculations on what might have happened to him if he had stayed in Poland led to this masterly, shattering piece of historical fiction depicting the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943. Kubert's alter ego in the book is the talented young artist Yossel, fascinated with American comics and determined to become a cartoonist. When the rest of his family is taken from the Warsaw ghetto to Auschwitz, Yossel is spared only because his drawings amuse the Nazi officers. When a prison camp escapee arrives and tells Yossel and his friends of the horrors he has witnessed, the seeds of rebellion are sown. Kubert's art normally has a roughness that lends it vitality. Here the roughness is magnified tenfold because the art is left un-inked and uncolored, and in this book's gray pencil sketches the vitality is replaced by a stark, chilling power. Admirers of Art Spiegelman's Maus or of Will Eisner's work for adults in DC's "Will Eisner Library" should seek out this book at once. Highly recommended for all collections, for older teens and adults. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Kubert combined war and comics to great effect in the "Sgt. Rock" series (DC Comics); in this work, the combination is taken in a very different direction. The author/illustrator's family immigrated to the U.S. from Poland before the Nazi invasion, but he has always been troubled by questions of "what if?" His answer is this book, a speculation on what might have happened had he found himself trapped as a teenager in the Warsaw ghetto. Kubert's alter ego is Yossel, a boy torn from his family but sustained by a compulsion to draw. The comic-book heroes of his sketches appeal to the Nazis, and the soldiers keep him on as a kind of pet. This position is of exceptional use in gathering and passing on information to the Resistance movement to which he belongs. As the uprising escalates, his art continues to provide him solace, even until his final tragic moments. Created to appear as illustrations from Yossel's sketchbook, the pages feature rough yet evocative pencil sketches rendered in Kubert's trademark dramatic style. The black-on-gray drawings make the plight of the people and the devastated, decaying hell of Warsaw in 1943 profoundly tangible. While the straightforward prose does not always have the same impact as the images, the work as a whole is a fascinating and provocative reminder of the lingering psychological effects of war.-Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Libraries, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780857685025
Publisher:
Titan Publishing Company
Publication date:
07/28/2011

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