Newsletter 1/2014

About the cooperation between the Terezin Memorial Education Department and the Terezin Initiative

The Terezin Initiative is anassociation of former prisoners of Terezin and Lodz ghettos from the Czech lands and their direct descendants. Its objective is to keep, in a worthy way, the memory of those who perished during the Holocaust. Members of the Initiative often take part in discussions with younger generations, who learn about this grim part of history through their memories and stories. Another important mission of the association is to help those who survived and are now at the age when they need help themselves. 

Meeting survivors in the Ghetto Museum study:  Eva Merova and Katerina Olivova, 1997

Meeting survivors in the Ghetto Museum study: Eva Merova and Katerina Olivova, 1997

One of the prime tasks of the Terezin Memorial Education Department after its formation in the early 1990s was to establish cooperation with the Terezin Initiative. When creating our programme offer for schools, we were fully aware of how the young generation can benefit from meeting people who have experienced a historic event, the commemorating of which is the aim of our seminars. Therefore, discussions with survivors were very soon incorporated in the programmes of residential groups from the Czech Republic as well as from abroad. All of the survivors, who have arrived in Terezin for this purpose so far and still keep coming, literally excel in discussions with the youth. Their stories are often complemented with unique items of personal nature, which have been preserved in their families. What is more, they can answer the participants questions of guilt, hatred and forgiveness from personal experience.

Reader “The Road – Destination Unknown“

Reader “The Road – Destination Unknown““


The mutual cooperation gradually developed into other directions as well. In 1996, we implemented a joint project in schools aimed at the use of a new reader about the Holocaust “The Road – Destination Unknown”. Following favourable responses of teachers, the Terezin Initiative sponsored the delivery of the publication to the Memorial; for many years we then provided schools with the reader on the occasion of educational seminars. The supplied literature does not involve only this reader though; it is abundant especially in memoirs issued by the Initiative members. School groups and teachers receive them for their active approach in the Terezin programmes.

In 1997, when the Memorial opened the Meeting Centre in the former Magdeburg Barracks and expected an increased number of educational visits, the Assembly of the Terezin Initiative came up with an offer to reimburse the fare to Terezin seminars for Czech school groups. The conditions for the transport allowance (and the accommodation allowance in the early years) have been modified many times over the years, but what is important, they persist until today. In the annual report of TM from 2000 we can read: “An important aid in arranging programmes for Czech youth has been provided by the Terezin Initiative, both through the participation of its members in discussions with students and pupils, and through financial contributions covering the travel costs, which unfortunately still pose a considerable problem to our schools.”

Discussion of survivors with teachers during the seminar How to teach about the Holocaust, spring 2010, Michaela Vidlakova on the left and Liza Mikova on the right

Discussion of survivors with teachers during the seminar How to teach about the Holocaust, spring 2010, Michaela Vidlakova on the left and Liza Mikova on the right.

As statistics confirm, the educational programmes in Terezin have become a desired matter of course in schools: in 2013, 107 groups took part in one-day programmes and 36 groups in the overnight programmes, which altogether involves more than 5,000 Czech schoolchildren, not to forget around 50 – 60 foreign groups which attend programmes of the Education Department every year. Even in their programmes, our survivors play an important part – whether they meet them within the walls of the Terezin Memorial or in Prague’s Jewish Museum.

Since 2000 the Terezin Memorial has been organizing (in cooperation with other organizations and under the guarantee of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports) seminars for Czech teachers entitled “How to teach about the Holocaust.” Regular and one of the highest-rated parts of the programme is a discussion between teachers and survivors.

How students and teachers perceive a meeting with a survivor during their educational stay is well expressed in the following quotes selected out of their impressions: 

Grammar School Na Prazacce, Prague: “Recollections of the survivor and his current view on it all was very interesting…“; “I have never heard such a testimony before. Incredibly interesting.“

Performance of Brundibar in Terezin after 60 years – 23rd September 2003, recollections of Mr. Tommy Karas

Performance of Brundibar in Terezin after 60 years – 23rd September 2003, recollections of Mr. Tommy Karas


Business Academy, Cesky Tesin:Goose bumps accompanied the life story of the eye-witness, but we will not be able to rely on the survivors for ever, will we? “

Secondary Vocational School, Pilsen: “Most certainly I liked the bravery of our eye-witness. It was interesting to hear it all from her. I admire her very much. “

Grammar School Arabska, Prague:“Very interesting discussion with the survivors. I’m glad that someone still goes on with this work.”

Church Grammar School, Pilsen: “The discussion was interesting; one rarely gets a chance to talk to a witness of historic events.”

Seminary of teachers, 2007: “Unforgettable, thank you very much.” – “I would highly recommend the discussions with survivors to schools.” – “Survivors´ stories – emotionally most powerful experience.” 

Another point of our cooperation with the Terezin Initiative involves participation in the financing of rewards in literary and art competitions (for more about the history of the competitions in the TM see Newsletter 1/2013), which have been organized by the Memorial for twenty years already. Since 1997, special “Prizes of Erik Polak” have been also awarded within these contests. They are granted to works which particularly aptly capture the situation surrounding the fate of people in the ghetto and concentration camps. (E. Polak was a survivor of the Terezin ghetto and a founding member of the TI; he was in its leadership until his death in 1996.)

Friends congratulate to Helga Weiss-Hoskova on her birthday, 2004, in the photo: Helga Weiss-Hoskova, Ludmila Chladkova (former Head of TM Education Department, Doris Grozdanovicova).

Friends congratulate to Helga Weiss-Hoskova on her birthday, 2004, in the photo: Helga Weiss-Hoskova, Ludmila Chladkova (former Head of TM Education Department, Doris Grozdanovicova)

Our further experience of cooperation and friendship with the TI members also leave us with good memories. Let us recall, for example, a very successful performance of the Brundibar opera in 2003 to mark the 60th anniversary of presenting the opera in the Terezin ghetto. That time perhaps all of the still living former Terezin opera singers arrived here from around the world. Necessary to add that whenever Brundibar is put on in Terezin, some of the survivors always attend the performance. As a rule, they do not only attend, but they tell their stories, recall, thank…

What to add in conclusion to this balancing? Due to the continuing vitality, responsibility and awareness of the mission of the Holocaust era survivors, our cooperation with the Terezin Initiative has lasted for already two decades. We thank and wish it would continue for a long time yet.

Chl

Life story of Dagmar Lieblova

Dagmar as a five-year-old girl with her younger sister and parents, 1934. Private archive of Dagmar Lieblova.

Dagmar as a five-year-old girl with her younger sister and parents, 1934. Private archive of Dagmar Lieblova

The life story of Mrs. Dagmar begins in 1929, when the Fantls cheered over the new born baby girl Dagmar in Kutna Hora. About three years later a younger baby girl Rita made the family complete. Father was a doctor with a surgery right on the ground floor of the Fantls’ house. Mother’s parents also lived in the house, together with a maid Fanny, who later played an important part in the life of Dagmar and all her family. They all lived happy and content lives spending their free time e.g. at Macha’s Lake. Dagmar was surrounded by a branched loving family, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents.

In March 1939, after the Nazi occupation of our country, anti-Jewish regulations also impinged on the Fantls family. The deportation to the Terezin ghetto came in early June 1942; the Fantls were assigned to transport labelled AAb. Mrs. Dagmar remembers that actually since the autumn of 1941, when the transports began, almost the only topic of conversation in Jewish families was what to pack along to the ghetto. Before leaving, the parents managed to hide a lot of important things at their maid Fanny.

In Terezin, father worked as a doctor and mother as a cleaning lady. Dagmar stayed in the girl’s home. During the day she went to work in agriculture, in the evenings she took part in singing, narrating and other activities. Dagmar also sang in the choir of the children’s opera Brundibar. From time to time Fanny sent them packages to the ghetto and so a little improved their weak food rations. In December 1943 Dagmar was together with her parents and sister put on a transport to the East. The destination was Auschwitz-Birkenau, so-called Terezin family camp. Here they were gradually learning about the terrifying reality of the place. Dagmar was fifteen years old at that time and she remembers how she thought that she would never see the forest, never see home … In July 1944 the selection came.

Young lady Dagmar in early 1942, a few months before the transport to Terezin. Private archive of Dagmar Lieblova.

Women able to work and within the age range of 16-40 should be chosen for work. None of the Fantls family met the defined criteria for transport; both sisters, Dagmar and Rita, were younger, and mother was already more than 40 years old. Incidentally, there was a mistake made at that time fifteen Dagmar. Someone had changed her date of birth from 1929 to 1925, and thus she was considered to be nineteen years old and called out by the “block leader” to selection. Dagmar tried to correct the mistake, but the “block leader” dismissed it saying that what was written was relevant. This someone’s “mistake” saved Dagmar’s life.

She was deported with other women from Auschwitz to Hamburg. She spent the next nine months with hard labour helping to clear away debris after the bombing. In March 1945, she got into the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. In the local hell, among dead bodies, almost without food and water, she was liberated by the British Army.

Dagmar came back home to Kutna Hora, where she met Fanny again. Her parents and sister Rita had died in Auschwitz. The whole three years after the war Dagmar cured of the consequences of war detention, and then she returned to school. She studied Czech-German at the Charles University Faculty of Arts. She has taught at various schools, last few decades she has worked at the Department of Translation and Interpreting of the Faculty of Arts at CharlesUniversity.

After 1989 she set up, along with other survivors, the Terezin Initiative, whose chairwoman she has been for many years. Within the scope of Initiative activities, like many other witnesses, Mrs. Dagmar spends a lot of time with pupils and students around the Czech Republic and abroad, she tells them about her life, about the historical context of the Holocaust, about her relationship to Germany and German. She considers it to be one of the most important things – taking care that these events and individual victims of persecution would never be forgotten.

Se

Note.: A short film about lifestory of Mrs. Dagmar Lieblova was created for Centropa project, you can watch it HERE.

Seminar for Czech teachers in Israel

Already the 9th advanced seminar for Czech teachers was held in the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, organized by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Yad Vashem Memorial and Terezin Memorial.

The seminar, which was held between 27th October and 4th November 2013, offered a rich programme full of lectures, workshops and presentations of lecturers not only from the Yad Vashem Memorial, but also from other institutions. Within the framework of each block not only the Holocaust was discussed, but also the genocide in the 21st century, the essence of Judaism, anti-Semitism in Bohemia and Moravia in the post-war period, the Righteous Among the Nations, etc. Most of the programme was devoted to the actual teaching practice and the involvement of interdisciplinary approach in teaching this topic (use of film, literature, art). The documentary Forgotten Transports to Estonia, which was presented to participants by its author Lukas Pribyl received a positive response.

Although the seminar was conducted primarily in the area of ​​Yad Vashem Memorial, part of the rich programme was devoted to tours of the Old City, Israel Museum, or a trip to the Masada fortress and the Dead Sea.

Ha

International seminar “Holocaust in Education“ in Terezin for the 13th time

Between 21st and 24th November 2013, the Terezin Memorial held already the 13th seminar on “Holocaust in Education”, which was attended by 46 Czech teachers. While the first level seminar “How to Teach about the Holocaust” is led only by Czech lecturers, the November event welcomes mainly lecturers from abroad. Their aim is to acquaint Czech teachers with the methodologies and views on the issue of the Holocaust in their home institutions. However, Czech lectures were traditionally not missing; there were representatives of the Jewish Museum in Prague, the People in Need foundation, and the Malach Centre for Visual History.

Even some of the seminar participants shared their own experience in teaching with their colleagues (Jindriska Wankova from a primary school in Trmice, Radomila Obloukova from a grammar school in Svitavy, Lenka Tomankova from the secondary industrial school in Uherske Hradiste, Hana Kadava from an elementary school in Sokolov, and Lenka Zahradkova from a primary school in Trebenice).
Teachers also drew inspiration from the evening cultural performances. In addition to the film screening of the Alfred Radok’s Long Journey (1949), they saw on Friday the children’s opera Brundibar by Hans Krasa and Adolf Hoffmeister performed by the Disman Radio Children’s Ensemble and accompanied by the pianist Michael Macourek. On Saturday, Jaroslav Achab Haidler from the Drama Studio in Usti nad Labem presented his single-actor performance The Poor in Lodz.

St

Hana Greenfield has passed away (3rd November 1926 – 27th January 2014)

Hana Greenfield

Hana Greenfield

On 27th January 2014, when the world commemorated the Holocaust Memorial Day, sad news arrived in Terezin in the early evening – Hana Greenfield had died. Born in Kolin in the former Czechoslovakia, prisoner of the Terezin Ghetto, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, since 1952 living in Israel.

After the war, which deprived her of mom, dad and home at all, she needed to talk about her experiences. Her relatives living in London, however, advised her not to talk about that and try to forget. Initially she tried to deal with this “wish”, even though it was very difficult.

It was not until she had moved to Israel many years later that she found the freedom for her ideas. The turning point was for her, as well as for other survivors, the trial with Adolf Eichmann, to which former prisoners were called as witnesses. Then Hana found out that she was not alone with her sadness and memories, that there were many others like her, and that she did not have to be ashamed for what she had gone through.

Survivors of the Holocaust began to be invited to schools and educational institutions were interested in them. The imaginary starting field for Hana were schools attended by her children. She was afraid that she would not manage to speak to a wider audience about her experiences. Therefore, she carefully prepared each of her presentations. The questions posed by listeners made her do more thorough preparations and study the Holocaust. In the course of time, she even developed and in cooperation with the Israeli Yad Vashem Memorial led an educational programme, whose aim was to teach former inmates of concentration camps how to talk about their experiences.

After the “Velvet Revolution” in 1989, Hana began to regularly visit her home country, set up a partnership with the Education Department of the Terezin Memorial and initiated the organization of the literary and art contests for youth that have been held until today. However, these contests and artistic creations of the young generation are not the only legacy that Hana Greenfield has left behind.

Se

Activities of the Terezin Memorial

Activities:

28th April 2014: Jom Ha´Soa, commemorative event in memory of the Shoah victims, the courtyard in front of the prayer room, Dlouha St., Terezin, beginning at 2 pm.

18th May 2014: Anniversary of the last execution in the Small Fortress, former execution ground in the Small Fortress, beginning at 9:00 pm.

18th May 2014: Terezin commemoration ceremony 2014, the NationalCemetery in front of the Small Fortress, beginning at 10:00 am.

27th June 2014: Piety act to mark the execution of Milada Horakova, Krankenrevir, Small Fortress, beginning at 10:00 am.

Exhibitions: 

Humanity, art exhibition of students of the SSOS Teplice (Secondary school of Business and Services), 3rd April – 31st May 2014, cinema foyer in the Small Fortress

Mark Podwall – For These Things I Weep, art exhibition, 10th April – 10th July 2014, cinema foyer of the GhettoMuseum

Michal Vystavel – paintings, art exhibition, 17th April – 30th June 2014, exhibition space of the courtyard IV in the Small Fortress

Vladimir Svoboda – paintings & Michal Sarse – sculptures, art exhibition, 17th April – 30th June 2014, exhibition space of the courtyard IV in the Small Fortress

“Having a Good Time in Terezin…? “, exhibition of works from the art contest of the Terezin Memorial, 14th – 30th June 2014, cinema foyer in the Small Fortress

Calendar of Events

   April  2014 »
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Akce ke dni: April 4, 2014
  • Pedagogický seminář 1. stupně
    Začátek: 00:00
    Konec: April 7, 2014 - 00:00
    Místo: Terezín, Česká republika
    Popis: Pedagogický seminář 1. stupně - Jak vyučovat o holokaustu.
    Seminář pro učitele základních a středních škol.
5
Akce ke dni: April 5, 2014
  • Pedagogický seminář 1. stupně
    Začátek: 00:00
    Konec: April 7, 2014 - 00:00
    Místo: Terezín, Česká republika
    Popis: Pedagogický seminář 1. stupně - Jak vyučovat o holokaustu.
    Seminář pro učitele základních a středních škol.
6
Akce ke dni: April 6, 2014
  • Pedagogický seminář 1. stupně
    Začátek: 00:00
    Konec: April 7, 2014 - 00:00
    Místo: Terezín, Česká republika
    Popis: Pedagogický seminář 1. stupně - Jak vyučovat o holokaustu.
    Seminář pro učitele základních a středních škol.
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21222324252627
28
Akce ke dni: April 28, 2014
  • JOM HA´ŠOA
    Začátek: 14:30
    Konec: April 28, 2014 - 15:30
    Místo: Dlouhá 17, Terezín, Česká republika
    Popis: 28.4.2014 ve 14:00 hod, dvůr před modlitebnou – Dlouhá 17, Terezín
2930 

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Random Quote

Úterý 19. ledna 1943
Cesta byla mizerná. Vstávala jsem velice brzy, ale tak tak jsem byla hotová. Byla jsem tak navlečena, že jsem se nemohla pohnout. Tatínek, teta, Trude a Lea se vezli na saních v Kyjově na dráhu. Strýc Karel a Maří táhli saně a já tlačila. Byli jsme rádi, že jsme se dostali na dráhu, tolik napadlo sněhu. Sháněli jsme zavazadla, ale bylo poměrně málo šumu, myslela jsem, že budou všichni jako bez hlavy. Ve vlaku nebylo místa na sezení. Tatínek při nastupování spadl a zdvihla ho paní doktorová Schöntalová, která velice plakala (je árijka).
Když se vlak rozjížděl, začala všechna kyjovská mládež zpívat české národní písně, za brblání Němců. Jeden četník, který stál u vlaku, byl velice pohnutý a přešel kolem vlaku, každému známému přál šťastný návrat. Za jednu a tři čtvrtě hodiny byli jsme v Uh. Brodě. Nemohla jsem unést svůj baťoh. Dali jsme ho tedy na nákladní auto, tatínek, Trude a Lea jeli také.
… Vzala jsem si 2 chlebníky a a 2 tašky a šla jsem. Když jsem došla do reálky, kde jsme byli kasernovaný, myslela jsem, že upadnu. Paní Vepřekovská mě zavedla k tetě. Ležíme na jedné matraci…
— (Z deníku Helgy Pollakové, popisuje odjezd Židů z Kyjova ke shromaždišti v Uherském Brodě), Brenner-Wonschicková, Hannelore: Děvčata z pokoje 28, Přátelství, naděje a přežití v Terezíně, Barrister & Principal, Praha, 2006, ISBN: 80-87029-03-8.