At my first sight of a painting by Samuel Bak, I had the keen sense that he was telling me stories with his brush. Now that at long last he has written this book, I find it no wonder that he has painted with his pen.... Among the tens and hundreds of books I have read about the pre-Shoah and post-Shoah period... Bak’s book is unique. Despite being suffused with a sense of loss, horror, degradation, and death, it is ultimately a sanguine, funny book, full of the love of life, rocking with an almost cathartic joy. At times I found myself bursting out laughing... a marvelous ode, a colorful hymn to the forces of life, love, creation, and the joys of the senses. —From the Foreword by Amos Oz
In Painted in Words internationally renowned artist Samuel Bak sets aside his brushes to narrate the stories of his life—as a child in Nazi-occupied Vilna, as a youth in European refugee camps, and as a maturing artist in Israel, France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. With gentle humor, the child prodigy of the faraway past and the accomplished artist of today engage in a spirited dialogue from which emerges a self-portrait of "The Artist as a Young—and middle-aged and aging—Survivor." The brilliance, vision, and virtuosity that Bak brings to his painting are equally in evidence in his writing. This deeply touching work is an important contribution to Holocaust literature and art history.