Interesting

Review: Michael Gruenbaum/Todd Hasak-Lowy: Somewhere There is Still a Sun

Cover of the book Somewhere There is Still a Sun (Někde ještě svítí slunce), the Czech version, publishing house P3K 2017.

Cover of the book Somewhere There is Still a Sun (Někde ještě svítí slunce), the Czech version, publishing house P3K 2017.


Less than two years ago the Terezín Memorial´s Newsletter reported on the publication of a book written by Michael Gruenbaum and Todd Hasak-Lowy and called Somewhere There is Still a Sun. At its end, the report expressed the wish for the book to be translated into Czech within a short time so that the Czech readers too could find an easy access to the story. The wish evidently came true and a book under the Czech title Někde ještě svítí slunce recently appeared on the shelves of Czech bookstores.

The plot of the book is based primarily on Michael Gruenbaum´s childhood memories, namely those from the period between 1939 and 1945, particularly the time of his stay in the Terezín Ghetto. He was deported to the Ghetto together with his mother and sister in 1942. His memories, narrated in the first-person style, come across in the book as a readable adventure story for boys. Fortunately, this is not the kind of novel trying to provide the most attractive description of such adventures, while insensitively manipulating with the reality of the life in Terezín. More probably, the authors used a greater amount of artistic license in presenting the main character who is supposed to look slightly more naïve than the actual model of the figure. Thanks to the frequent questions he asks, the main character gives space to a subtle presentation of many specific aspects of Terezín life, for instance the difference between theft and the so-called swiping (šlojznutí). However, the book is not a mere description of various routine as well as extraordinary events that happened in the Ghetto, it also seeks to capture how such events were perceived by different Terezín Ghetto inmates.

The book can definitely be recommended not only to all readers who want to understand what had happened behind the walls of the Terezín Ghetto but also to readers keen on quality literature for children and youth.

Published in the Czech language by the publishing house P3K, 2017.

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Terezín Memorial´s Web Presentation in a New Garb

Homepage of the Terezín Memorial´s new website.

Homepage of the Terezín Memorial´s new website.

Since September 2017 people interested in what is happening in the Terezín Memorial or planning the visit of the place may do so thanks to its new website presentation.
The new web pages feature a modern look with a distinctive homepage. The highlight of the opening page are the pictures of the various former repressive facilities administered by the Terezín Memorial. Each photograph also carries a short quote – either an entry from a period diary or a postwar recollection of a former inmate. Visitors to the website can also click on the name of the author of the recollection and eventually read his or her story (if we happen to be familiar with it). These quotes constitute a kind of tribute to the former inmates as well as a reminder saying that “large history“ hides millions of human stories that often address us in a more comprehensible way than history textbooks.
The homepage also set itself the task to point out to the visitors the most interesting events the Memorial has to offer (visiting its individual objects, online search engines for looking up names of former inmates, catalogs of art collections, educational projects, online publications, calendars of events, information on the Terezín Memorial´s exhibitions etc.) and to provide a fast and simple route to their required content. The structure of the website remains unchanged but your navigation should be much simpler and faster, with a well-arranged menu as an efficient aid.
We sincerely believe that online visitors will like our new website and we will be happy to receive your comments and further ideas. Please, send them to our Facebook page or to our e-mail address: press@pamatnik-terezin.cz.

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Commemorative Stamps Featuring the Terezín Memorial

A postage stamp booklet designed by Jan Ungrád was also issued to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Terezín Memorial. Each of the eight stamps in the booklet features both works of art by leading Czech artists, artifacts kept in the collections of the Terezín Memorial, as well as pictures made by children who took part in the past art competitions annually held by the Terezín Memorial. These are namely works of the following authors: Fascism (Jan Bauch), Eight Soldiers (Jiří Anderle), What the Children in Terezín Dreamt of (Ondřej Kohout), Sussurans Quiete (The Whisper of Silence) (Nikola Sedlářová), Fight (Zdeněk Hošek), War (Emil Filla), Grief (Nikola Kutílková) and Have You Ever Seen It? (Marie Hervertová). Photograph of Jiří Sozanský´s sculpture entitled A Quiet Lament has been selected for the cover of the postage stamp booklet.

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Postage stamp booklet designed by Jan Ungrád

Postage stamp booklet designed by Jan Ungrád


Postage stamp booklet designed by Jan Ungrád

Postage stamp booklet designed by Jan Ungrád

Traveling Exhibition Being at School in the War Years

Preview of the touring exhibition Being at School in the War Years at the Charles University’s Faculty of Education, May 2017, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Preview of the touring exhibition Being at School in the War Years at the Charles University’s Faculty of Education, May 2017, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Back in 2015, the Terezín Memorial, the J.A. Komenský National Pedagogical Museum and Library, the Terezín Initiative Institute and the National Institute for Further Education launched their joint educational project called Being at School in the War Years. Almost twenty teams and individuals from Czech elementary schools entered the project’s first wave. Their task was to carry out research into the topics associated with the school environment in the Czech lands in the years 1938 to 1945. The outcome of their research is presented at a traveling exhibition, premiered in the premises of the Charles University’s Faculty of Education (PedF UK) from March 15 to May 8, 2017. The preview of the exhibition, including a guided tour of the display, screening of the feature film Vyšší princip (Higher Principle) on Czech secondary students during the Nazi reprisals after the assassination of the Acting Protector in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Reinhard Heydrich, and also the follow-up debate with Holocaust survivors, was attended by a number of distinguished guests and pupils and students involved in the project.

Lectures on education and upbringing of youth in the conditions of the Nazi totalitarian regime, plus workshops on the topic of minority schooling were also held during the two months of the exhibition, while one of the school teams involved in the project came in for discussions with the students and lecturers of the Faculty of Education of the Charles University. Starting on May 8, 2017 the exhibition began its tour of the schools taking part in the project; it will go on until the end of the next school year. Then the display will be made available to other interested institutions, and finally it will be dismantled and the individual exhibition panels will be leased to the participating schools. The installation of the display was financed from the grant awarded by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience; the preview of the exhibition at the Faculty of Education of the Charles University was supported by the Endowment Fund for the Holocaust Victims.

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Making Further Databases of the Former Czech Inmates Accessible on the Web Pages of the Terezín Memorial

View of the electronic version of The Database of the Czech Inmates of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp 1937-1945, May 2017

View of the electronic version of The Database of the Czech Inmates of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp 1937-1945, May 2017

In 2011 and 2012 the Terezín Memorial’s Newsletters (issues Nos. 2/2011 and 4/2012) briefed on the newly prepared search engines for finding persecuted people. These search engines are now available on the Terezín Memorial website. At the same time, we informed our readers of the possibility of searching for such data also in the English language.

Since then three new databases have been added to the website. We would like to single them out for our readers, both experts and laymen. They are as follows:

Database of the Inmates of the Prague-Pankrác German Interrogation and Detention Prison in Terezín 1945

Database of the Inmates of the Branches of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp in the Czech Territory

and

Database of the Czech Inmates of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp 1937-1945

 

The employees of the Terezín Memorial’s Department of History in particular were involved in researching and excerpting these data. Their key intention was to make the available data from the prisoner cards accessible to the public and gradually to use other sources, thus eventually expanding the database. In the future, the individual search engines can be interconnected, including publication of the sources used directly online on the web pages. The process of compiling new and supplementing existing databases has not yet been finished. Information on the inmates is being constantly updated, while new databases are being created.

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New publication Jews in Dobříš

Cover page of the book Jews in Dobříš.

Cover page of the book Jews in Dobříš.

Last November, author Jindřiška Rosenbaumová (born in 1983, née Telenská) published a book called Židé v Dobříši (Jews in Dobříš). On seventy pages, the writer seeks to trace the history of the local Jewish community. She succeeds in portraying the life of the Jews in the town of Dobříš during the past four centuries, complete with their rich cultural and social life, or their unforgettable business projects that made the name of the town famous in the garment industry.

What is all the more gratifying is the fact that the author, during her previous studies at the Secondary Teacher Training School in Beroun, attended, back in 2002, a longer educational program prepared by the Terezín Memorial’s Department of Education. It was partly thanks to this particular experience that the writer later decided to study Judaism and Hussite theology at the Hussite Theological Faculty of the Charles University. At present, she leads specialized workshops in the Dobříš Museum; moreover, she is the author of the local permanent Jewish exhibition.

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Opening the Reconstructed Premises of the Columbarium of the Former Terezín Ghetto

Newly open to public areas of the columbarium of the Ghetto Terezín, October 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Newly open to public areas of the columbarium of the Ghetto Terezín, October 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.


On the occasion of the remembrance events marking the 75th anniversary of the start of deportations of the Jewish inhabitants from the Protectorate, additional premises of the former Columbarium in Terezín, where cinerary urns containing the mortal remains of dead inmates had been kept during the time of the Ghetto, were ceremonially opened on October 17. At this event, speeches were delivered by Dr. Jan Munk, Director of the Terezín Memorial, Mrs. Hana Rožcová, Deputy Mayor of Terezín, and Mrs. Dagmar Lieblová, Chairwoman of the Terezín Initiative. The latter, a former Ghetto inmate, recollected the years spent in the Ghetto and stressed the role of Holocaust survivors, namely in passing on the testimony of this chapter in history to the young generations. The rally was also attended by former Terezín Ghetto prisoners with their family members, officials of the US Embassy in Prague and Mr. Gary Koren, Ambassador of the State of Israel, who, after the opening ceremony, visited the newly reconstructed premises in a guided tour accompanied by comments by Dr. Vojtěch Blodig, Deputy Director of the Terezín Memorial for Research and Education.

Dagmar Lieblová during the opening ceremony of the renovated areas of the columbarium, October 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Dagmar Lieblová during the opening ceremony of the renovated areas of the columbarium, October 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.


Following on from there, the participants moved to the Ghetto Museum cinema to hear a chamber music concert. Its opening part featured the performance of a Dutch children’s ensemble called Revesz trio, whose repertoire includes folk melodies Shalom Aleichem and Hevenu Shalom, work of the Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch From Jewish Life, and the composition Wiegala, written by former Terezín inmate Ilse Weber. The second part of the concert included performance by Czech violinist Jaroslav Svěcený, accompanied by pianist Václav Mácha, of a transcription by Jascha Heifetz of George Gerschwin´s melodies from the opera Porgy and Bess, followed by Svěcený´s own composition inspired by Terezín T-Dream for Violin, two melodies by John Williams from the feature film The Schindler List, and two parts of the Sonata for Violin, composed by the Shoa victim Erwin Schulhoff. The whole commemorative event ended with a meeting in the attic premises of the Magdeburg Barracks.

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