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"This is the face of a boy whose youth was taken from him, who doesn’t know anymore how to cry or laugh, that life has crushed under the inhuman weight of cruel reality. In this photograph you see the mask of a face; if that mask were lifted you would see a mind troubled by life that too cruelly torments your son," Leopold Berman wrote his father in a postcard sent shortly after leaving a refugee camp. THE STORY OF A JEWISH BOY recounts the horrors and fleeting hopes of a boy and his family trying to survive the final days of World War II in Italy.
Literary Nonfiction. Jewish Studies.
Leopold Berman was born in Merano, Italy in 1931. He arrived in America in 1947 and shortly thereafter entered the Civil Engineering program at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In 1951 he went to Israel where he worked as a surveyor in the Negev. He returned to the U.S. when he was drafted into the army in 1952. In 1956 he married and went back to Israel with his wife, Simi, to live on a kibbutz. In 1957 they returned to the States where he entered the 6 -year program at the Columbia School of Architecture from which he graduated in 1963. After graduation the couple moved to Roosevelt, New Jersey where Leo lived and worked for six years. In 1969 they moved back to New York City where Leo started his own architectural firm, Berman, Roberts, Scofidio and Stromsten. Their projects included Educational Park in East New York, which involved working closely with the community to establish a hub school aimed at improving the educational facilities in that neighborhood, as well as the design and rehabilitation of Fort Greene Park in conjunction with A.E. Bye Jr., among others. In 1981 the family moved to a farm in New Hampshire. There Leo opened his architectural office in Brattleboro, Vermont across the river, where he became engaged in many projects involving the preservation of old buildings. His work won the Vermont Award for Historic Preservation in 1992. In addition, his practice consisted of community oriented projects involving better housing for the indigent, mental health facilities, as well as houses and buildings for private individuals. Leo died in 2003.
Giuliana Carugati studied languages and literatures at the Università Cattolica, Milan, where she graduated Summa cum Laude, with a dissertation on American poetry. Her translations include a book (on economics!) from English to Italian, and from Renaissance-era Italian to English for an exhibition at the Jewish Museum on documents relating to Italian Jewry. Carugati has a PhD in Italian Literature, and has written two books about Dante Alighieri: Dalla menzogna al silenzio and Il ragionare della carne. She has taught at Emory University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Presently, she is writing a text mostly on Meister Eckhart.