Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust

Overview

Through inmates? own voices and artwork, Terez?n explores the lives of Jewish people in one of the most infamous of the Nazi transit camps.

Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany turned the small town of Terez?n, Czechoslovakia, into a ghetto, and then into a transit camp for thousands of Jewish people. It was a "show" camp, where inmates were forced to use their artistic talents to fool the world about the truth of gas chambers and horrific living conditions for imprisoned Jews. ...

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Overview

Through inmates’ own voices and artwork, Terezín explores the lives of Jewish people in one of the most infamous of the Nazi transit camps.

Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany turned the small town of Terezín, Czechoslovakia, into a ghetto, and then into a transit camp for thousands of Jewish people. It was a "show" camp, where inmates were forced to use their artistic talents to fool the world about the truth of gas chambers and horrific living conditions for imprisoned Jews. Here is their story, told through the firsthand accounts of those who were there. In this accessible, meticulously researched book, Ruth Thomson allows the inmates to speak for themselves through secret diary entries, artwork, and excerpts from memoirs and recordings narrated after the war. Terezín: Voices from the Holocaust is a moving portrait that shows the strength of the human will to endure, to create, and to survive.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
In the history of the Holocaust, Theresienstadt has a particularly schizophrenic history. Once a bucolic Czechoslovakian town, it became, with Nazi efficiency and Hollywood-like sleight of hand, a "show camp" to impress Red Cross observers with the apparently humane treatment of the incarcerated. A large number of artists, performers, and intelligentsia were transported to the camp, so daily life was particularly well-documented through hidden diaries and works of visual art. In this volume, Ruth Thomson has assembled many artistic renderings of the "behind the curtain" realities of Theresienstadt and also added the "voices" of prisoners' testimonies taken from journals, notebooks and post-Holocaust testimonies. Most of the art is sketched in pencil or charcoal, the tools available to prisoners. The color renderings are documents produced to impress visitors with the normalcy of camp life. The realistic portraits of shrunken humans are most reminiscent of the paintings of Edvard Munsh. It is possible to see in these pictures what hell really looks like. Accounts of the artistic performances could be paired with Tony Kushner and Maurice Sendak's Brundibar, a children's opera presented in the camp; or Hana Volokova's I Never Saw Another Butterfly. The testimonies of the prisoners address the hunger, disease, and efficient disposal methods of the Nazis. Of the 97,297 prisoners who passed through the camp, 15,000 were children, and only 132 of those survived. In light of the deaths of the last true witnesses to the Holocaust, books that present documentation of the horrors are increasingly important. Add this book to Holocaust curricula. The book is meticulously documented and indexed and a glossary of terms is amended. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The grim and desperate reality of Terezín is brought to life by the images and words of those who experienced it. As the war progressed, the Nazis held German, Dutch, and Danish Jews in the ghetto, as well as using it as a transport stop for some on their way to concentration camps such as Auschwitz. A large number of Jewish artists, writers, and performers were imprisoned at Terezín, many forced to use their talents for Nazi propaganda or official Nazi documents. Secretly, these artists also created images of what they observed, from the overcrowding to the deplorable, unsanitary living conditions to the plight of the elderly and infirm. In this book, excerpts from hidden diaries and letters, as well as drawings and paintings, make for a poignant overview of life inside the ghetto. The voices of adults and children are a moving reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust and a powerful way to make history real to students. The modern photographs of Terezín are juxtaposed against images and photographs created in the 1940s, making for an interesting contrast. This is a strong addition to the many books about the Holocaust, and to any history collection.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763664664
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 290,829
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 10.96 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Thomson is an author and editor of many children’s books. She has an MA in museum and gallery education and lives in London.

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