"[A] varied and fascinating account—for readers over age 8—of what was, in truth, a brutal transit camp." from a review by Meghan Cox Gurdon in WSJ.com 2/19/11
The history of Hitler’s rise and the building and set-up of Theresienstadt are laid out simply. The written, oral and visual records provide the emotional impact inherent in eye-witness accounts. Some of these accounts were created during the lives of the prisoners simultaneous with their being in incarcerated. Some were written as recollections by survivors.
We learn about overcrowding, illness, deportations - mainly to Auschwitz, and the role of the Jewish Council of Elders. Since so many artists and intellectuals were incarcerated in Theresienstadt, the role of culture and education are stressed: lectures, classes, and the creation and/or performance of literary, visual, musical and theater arts, both those activities sanctioned and those that took place in secret.
Thomson spends important time on the visit to Theresienstadt by a committee of the Red Cross at the request of the King of Denmark. In anticipation of being found out, Nazi leadership retrofitted the camp in an effort to deceive the Red Cross committee. We hear how deportations for Theresienstadt before the visit helped to reduce crowding, and how keeping the elderly and ill far away from the planned route lowered the risk of exposure. And we learn about the cultural activities that were set up to entertain the visiting committee.
Ruth Thompson’s judicious choice of material as well as the layout in 60 plus pages makes this book of interest to a reader of any age. The Thereseinstadt concentration camp is movingly evoked in this volume.
This book includes several maps, a timeline from 1934-1945, a glossary of terms, sources, an index, and photo acknowledgements.
To read an article about the importance of music in Theresienstadt, click here.
To read an obituary of Joza Karas who recovered and helped publicize music performed in Theresienstadt, click here.
Henriette S. Beck
Jana Renee Friesova
Tommy Fritta – son of Bedrich
Frantisek M. Nagl
Paul Aron Sandfort
Joseph E. A. Spier