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Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin

Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin

by Susan Goldman Rubin
Bauhaus trained, she taught art to children in a concentration camp.


Bauhaus trained, she taught art to children in a concentration camp.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rubin briefly profiles Dicker-Brandeis, a Bauhaus-trained art therapist who brought art supplies with her when she was deported from Prague to the Terezin concentration camp and then gave art lessons to the children there. "The children's paintings, crisply reproduced in color and briefly analyzed, and their poems are poignant testimony of a tragic history," noted PW. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In this nonfiction account of Terezin, Rubin introduces the reader to a "little known" heroine and the children she tried so valiantly to protect from the horrors of the concentration camp. At first, one assumes that the book is a biography of Dicker-Brandeis' life, but it is much more. It offers the reader facts about Adolf Hitler and his attempt to exterminate the Jews in all of Europe and proceeds with a picture of "life" inside Terezin. When families arrived at Terezin, children were separated from their parents, husbands from their wives. Dicker-Brandeis, herself a Jew and a prisoner, was separated from her husband and assigned to live with and supervise the Jewish children. Knowing how important it would be to create some optimism in a dismal situation, Dicker-Brandeis used art to assist the children in expressing their feelings as they coped with unbearable hunger, cold, isolation, and the fear of death. The book, although written in a picture book format, is not aimed at young audiences. The subject matter, the age of the children, and the text are designed for middle grade readers. The book is illustrated with paintings and drawings that the children of Terezin created. "Of the 15,000 children who passed through Terezin, only 100 survived. But their artwork and writings live on as testimony to their lives and spirits." Many uses can be made of this book. It would offer teachers of older middle grade children a way to introduce a study of the Holocaust and its innocent victims. The book includes a table of contents, an extensive reference list divided by categories of materials, and an index. 2000, Holiday House, Ages 10 up, $18.95. Reviewer: Jenny B. (J. B.) Petty
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A profoundly moving testimonial to the resilience of the human spirit under intolerable conditions. Sent to the Terezin concentration camp (perhaps more widely known under its German name, Theresienstadt), art teacher Dicker-Brandeis packed art supplies in her luggage rather than personal items. Here, in a poignant narrative, is a record of her wonderful influence over hundreds of doomed youngsters, terrified by the separation from their families. Her teaching ability and artistic talents were instrumental in providing an island of sanity in a horrific situation, and in giving an outlet to the children's emotions. Lavishly illustrated with artworks by the Terezin children (preserved in two suitcases in a barracks attic), the book is a chronicle of light in the blackest of hours, and of a despicable period in human history. A list of references-books, videocassettes, recordings, and Web sites (many readily usable by young people)-is included. Elegant in appearance, devastating in content, almost overwhelming in its quiet intensity, this bookis a shining augmentation to the literature of the Holocaust.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Goldman Rubin has written several highly praised biographies for children. These include "Frank Lloyd Wright" and "Margaret Bourke-White": "Her Pictures Were Her Life", which "Booklist" called in a starred review, "one of the best biographies of the year."
Her other works include "Toilets, Toasters & Telephones": "The How and Why of Everyday Objects" and two young adults novels, "Emily Good as Gold" and "Emily in Love".

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