The life of Jewish artist David Labkovski was filled with tragedy. Born in Lithuania in 1906, he survived three years of imprisonment in a brutal Siberian gulag during World War II. He then returned to a devastated Lithuania, where over 95% of the Jewish population perished in the Holocaust. Throughout Labkovski’s life (He died in Israel at the age of 85.), he painted the story of his struggles and those of his community—the vanished, as well as the people and places that survived. “If it was a choice between a cup of coffee and paints, it was always paints and paintbrushes,” his great-niece Leora Raikin says of David and his wife, Rivka. “Their entire life’s focus was securing paint supplies in whatever form, to be able to document what had happened.”
Today, thousands of miles away in California, the artist's work is the foundation of the non-profit David Labkovski Project. The organization is using the artist’s powerful paintings to teach school kids about the Holocaust—and more. Founded by Leora, an artist and educator, and longtime educator Stephanie Wolfson, the DLP has piloted an innovative educational program in four schools, including two in the Valley: the Abraham Heschel Day School in Northridge and Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa.
To read the full article, visit Ventura Blvd Magazine.