for a better

Galina Zernina (Israel)
Photography exhibition
Based on the Letters to Eretz Yisrael
by Janucz Korczak

Next exhibition:
October 30 - December 11, 2016
Janusz Korczak Haus Berlin
Rathausstrasse, 17


The concept of the exhibition: Galina Zelenina, Michael Epshtein

The exhibition is devoted to reflections about a person’s feelings who is forced to leave his motherland and his beloved work, knowing exactly that he will miss it in the other land.

And at the same time, he’s dreaming about a possibility to get a new sense of life and continue his work in another place, which probably will give him new opportunities, where new unpredictable but desired life turns are waiting for him.

This exhibition is about yearning for a better life which was coming through in Korczak’s letters to Eretz Yisrael, which is common for many of those who move from one world to another, from one culture to absolutely another, unknown; about yearning and dream, which cannot live without each other, and sometimes are so tightly fused, that a person doesn’t notice it.

At the heart of the exhibition there are imageries of Israel and Poland, places where Korczak’s had been or could have been, seen by Galina Zernina through the prism of texts by a great doctor, writer, educator.


Galina Zernina — concept, photo
a teacher of the Russian language and literature, a photographer from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. In 2013, she went to live in Israel
Michael Epshtein — concept, project manager
a head of Institute of Alternative Education named J. Korczak, Saint-Petersburg, Russia


Janusz Korczak, a famous Polish doctor, educator, writer of Jewish origin, between the 1940s and 1930s found himself separated between two worlds, two cultures, two countries…

Korczak understood clearly the terror that was coming to Europe. He understood what it meant to Jews in Poland. Changing social and political consciousness in Europe and Poland meant the collapse of hopes and everything he did in his life.

Korczak was faced with a difficult choice to stay in Poland and watch his life’s work dying gradually or go away leaving his job, friends, his beloved Warsaw…

Leaving to Eretz Yisrael meant hope to be able to try to attempt to work for the benefit of children… Eretz Yisrael is a newly emerged country where new people are starting to grow… A country where the dream about coming back, which was living only in people’s hearts before, is now in sight and starting to become a reality by concrete people’s actions.

But the consciousness of forced separation with his beloved Poland was crashing down…

The unknown depths of the earth, where every stone breathes history, was inspiring…

The strangeness of the new, not knowing the language, which everyone spoke in the new country were frightening…

The painful desire not to be a burden, to be helpful to people was burning…

All of these is the content of Korczak\'s reflection and throwing who decided to move to Palestine.

He understood that he needed to go but he could not decide and he found many reasons delaying him in Poland…

In his letters to friends and pupils in Eretz Yisrael Korczak often wrote about his yearning…

…yearning for Poland, which he will not see anymore…

…yearning for a place where a child finally acquires his rights…

…yearning for Jerusalem as a place of privacy and understanding the results of your life…

…that “yearning for a better life which doesn’t exist but which is going to appear someday”, which Korczak wrote to the children about…

…yearning as a hope that “this desire will lead to God, Motherland and love”…

Korczak “came to explore” Palestine twice – in 1934 and 1936.

And it seemed that he was going to move in October 1939.

But in September German fascist troops entered Poland…


A photo exhibition by Galina Zernina is an attempt to reflect by the art of photography emotional throwing of a person, who misses the motherland he is leaving and cherishes cautious hopes for a chance of a new life on a new land.

It is believed that a lot of adults, successful people, who thought about moving to another country are familiar with these feelings, these thoughts… Everything is left here - a life’s work, a mother tongue, friends… And a feeling of inability to live on…Another nature, another culture, another life is waiting for him there… But at the same time nevertheless it’s a hope for a new strength, new possibilities, new sense…

And Janusz Korczak, party devastated by the things happening in Poland, hoped that while moving to Palestine he could not only find himself in Eretz Yisrael but also find Eretz Yisrael in him. And at the same time he couldn’t imagine himself without Poland, his work that he gave the most part of his life.

We can see how Janusz Korczak in his letter is continuing to think about unsolved problems in Poland and sorrow about leaving his motherland and at the same time eagerly watching, soaking up life in Palestine, and trying to find some hooks, basics for his future life and work. Thus he finds himself between two countries, two cultures, two lives…

This exhibition is about yearning for a better life, which was coming through in Korczak’s letters to Eretz Yisrael, which is common for many of those who move from one world to another.

At the heart of the exhibition there are imageries of Israel and Poland seen by Galina Zernina through the prizm of Korczak’s texts.

The places in Poland and Israel where Korczak had been or could have been became places of inspiration for the photographer:



The exhibition consists of three parts:



But an integral part of the exhibition is also quotations, excerpts from Korczak’s letters, documentary footage of Korczak’s life in Palestine in 1928-1942, music of that time in Poland and Palestine.

Thus we hope that the exhibition will present polyphony of:



Such a difficult conversation – about Korczak and about you and us…

Contact Us


Tel.: +7 (812) 579-72-39


• Michael Epshtein
Tel.: +7 921 964 85 03
• Galina Zernina