This picture makes my heart happy.
Look at those little fingers and knees and the expression of pure joy on the angelic face of a small child. And yet, there’s something both mature and haunting about the image given that he’s just a six year old child and the gift he’s so excited about is a pair of shoes.
This image was taken after World War II. An Austrian orphan, he was captured celebrating after receiving the shoes from the Junior Red Cross in America. The picture was first published in Life Magazine in December 1946 and has been used again and again to represent the aftermath of war.
Here’s an excerpt from the publication:
“For many of Europe’s children there was a Santa Claus this Christmas. When a big box from the American Red Cross arrived at Vienna’s Am Himmel orphanage, shoes and coats and dresses tumbled out. Like the youngster (above), the children who had seen no new clothes throughout the war smiled to high heaven. But for thousands of other European children there was no Santa Claus. When a boatload of illegal Jewish immigrants arrived at Haifa, Palestine recently, two Polish children (opposite) got separated from their parents. Tears filled the eyes of the boy, and his wan sister clutched him protectively. They were later reunited with their parents, but the whole family was shipped to Cyprus. (+)”
It’s a nice story and a fabulous picture that makes me smile whenever I see it.
I have just one question for you. When was the last time you were so happy? If you have to think about it, it’s been too long. Best get out there and do something that makes you happy.