Interesting

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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An interview with Terezín Memorial’s historian Tomáš Fedorovič

Historian of the Terezin Memorial Tomáš Fedorovič during the opening of the exhibition, July 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Historian of the Terezin Memorial Tomáš Fedorovič during the opening of the exhibition, July 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

The exhibition Testimony of the Town’s Changes – Terezín in the Building Plans and Documents of the Jewish Self-Administration 1941-1945.

On July 14, 2016 guests gathered in the lobby of the cinema of the Ghetto Museum in Terezín to attend a preview of a documentary exhibition staged by the Terezín Memorial and called Testimony of the Town’s Changes – Terezín in the Building Plans and Documents of the Jewish Self-Administration 1941-1945.

This exhibition seeks to offer a comprehensive insight into the planned changes of the Terezín Ghetto, some of which had been partly realized, while others remained only on paper.

The art design of the display is the work of Miroslav Veselý, graphic designer of the Terezín Memorial, who has succeeded – in a truly original fashion – to incorporate period archive documents, processed by the Terezín Memorial’s historian, Mgr. Tomáš Fedorovič, into an unusual mosaic that is highly likely to be very impressive for the visitors.

The author of the script for the exhibition, Tomáš Fedorovič, summarized his work and preparations for the exhibition in the following comments.

The exhibition in the Ghetto Museum, July 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

The exhibition in the Ghetto Museum, July 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.


1. Why have you chosen the theme of Terezín and its changes in the building plans and documents of the Jewish Self-administration in the first place?  

Perhaps, to put it into a nutshell, I do not like doing things somebody else has already done before me. To tell the truth, I have known of the file of documents of the Technical Office, stored in the State District Archives Litoměřice in Lovosice, for more than fifteen years, i.e. roughly since the time I joined the Terezín Memorial. But my determination to use these materials for exhibition purposes “matured” this long. Nevertheless, of great importance for me was the unique value of these rare documents, maps and drawings. It is really fascinating to learn how much dedication and efforts, what a great amount of talent and skills the employees of the Technical Office had to expend in an effort to improve – or at least to prevent from deteriorating – the prison conditions for the Terezín inmate. In fact, “not a brick was moved” in the Ghetto without their blueprints and technical drawings. It is a completely different thing that their work was, on the one hand, actually helping the SS office agency in Terezín and, on the other hand, was brutally abused by the SS. Last but not least, I am keen on tracing the development of the Ghetto, as outlined in his Terezín report by Otto Zucker, by going through the background materials prepared on the drawing boards.

 

2. Could you describe the content of your archive research and specify how much time you had to spend in preparations for this exhibition?

In actual fact, the entire package of building blueprints and documents made in the Technical Office was to serve as kindling paper but thanks to many coincidences the file escaped unscathed. Its documents are sorted out according to individual house blocks. Strangely enough, all the documentation concerning the Terezín barracks is missing. These are, on the contrary, to be found in the Jewish Museum in Prague. A significant section of this collection consists of plans of objects lying on the periphery of the Ghetto, i.e. the central mortuary, columbarium, or even beyond its borders, which applies to the central washhouse or the crematorium.

The exhibition in the Ghetto Museum, July 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

The exhibition in the Ghetto Museum, July 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.


Preparations for the exhibition took about six months, I went through the entire file twice; during my first inspection I took notes on the individual documents we wanted to present, on the second occasion, working with my colleague Radim Nytl from the Department of Documentation, we took exhibition-quality photographs of those selected documents.

 

3. Was there something, during your research, that surprised you? What would you like to single out yourself?

I tried to select the most interesting documents for an exhibition divided into 23 thematic areas, and all the documents are actually unique. I would like to mention three areas, which are, in my opinion, worth seeing in particular. The first one is the phenomenon of Terezín attics that had a much greater role to play in the life of Terezín inmates than we have thought so far. We have tried to cram the subjects of their inhabitants, their equipment, persons who gave permission for the construction of such privileged housing since the fall of 1943, into two exhibition panels. The other surprising aspect for me, as a historian studying the former Terezín Ghetto, was the finding that the Jewish Elder (Judenältester) ”did not work in office“ only in the Magdeburg Barracks, as we read in the literature portraying the Ghetto’s history, but also on the first floor of the building of today’s Terezín Post-office (Q 617). And last but not least, definitely worth seeing are the unrealized plans drawn up by the Terezín Administration, projects that bore a purely Germanizing hallmark. These are drawings of the adjustment of the hereditary farm of Erich Oswald Ludwig in Remstädt near Gotha. Paradoxically, there is no mention of these events either in the domestic archives or in foreign sources, and we are, therefore, left to wonder how and why did the Terezín Self-administration or rather the SS office agency in the Ghetto happen to have anything in common with such projects. No less important document is the plan of a grandiosely conceived sporting and cultural center prepared in June 1942. We know from Mahler´s diary that its mock-up was even made according to that plan in November 1942. The time sequence of events could suggest that the plans and the model should have been presented to Himmler during his planned, but unrealized visit to the Terezín Ghetto in December 1942.

 

4. Can you tell us on which subject you are currently working? What will be the topic of your next exhibition?

At present we are just about finishing the script for an eventual permanent exhibition called Terezín Transports. Deportation of Jews to Terezín and from the Terezín Ghetto to Places of Extermination and Slave Labor. In 2018 we plan to open an exhibition on health care in wartime Terezín.

The exhibition Testimony of the Town’s Changes – Terezín in the Building Plans and Documents of the Jewish Self-Administration 1941-1945 is held to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Terezín Ghetto and the start of deportations of Jews from the Czech lands, commemorated by the Terezín Memorial this year. The exhibition may be viewed until October 31, 2016.

 

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Meeting of the participants in the project “Schoolchild in the war years“

Participants of the project Schoolchild in the war years, pupils of the primary school T.G. Masaryk, Milovice, Juni 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Participants of the project Schoolchild in the war years, pupils of the primary school T.G. Masaryk, Milovice, Juni 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Young researchers engaged in the educational project “Schoolchild in the War Years”, co-sponsored by the Terezín Memorial, the National Pedagogical Museum and Library of J. A. Comenius, the Terezín Initiative Institute and the National Institute for Further Education, met in Terezín between June 8 and 9, 2016. The aim of this gathering was to acquaint the young generation with typical manifestations and measures of the Nazi totalitarian regime, taking as an example the school environment in the Protectorate and in the regions of prewar Czechoslovakia seized by Germany after the Munich Agreements. Almost twenty teams and individuals from elementary and secondary schools in the Czech Republic joined the project. During the school year 2015-2016, they worked on the topics connected with the school environment in the Czech lands in the years 1938 to 1945,

The exhibition panels of the project Schoolchild in the war years, Juni 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, památník Terezín.

under the methodological tutelage of their teachers and experts in the above mentioned participating institutions. The key purpose of the meeting in Terezín, attended by almost 70 young students and their teachers, was to share experience and present the researched topics. Its program also included mutual presentations of the work performed by the individual research teams, workshops on the subject of life of young people in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia,

Participants of the project Schoolchild in the war years, Juni 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

in the Terezín Ghetto or in the Gestapo Prison in Terezín´s Small Fortress, activities relating to the history of minority schooling, visits to objects and exhibitions of the Terezín Memorial as well as the screening of a documentary on Czechoslovak schools in Britain in World War II. The first chief outputs of the project to be released this year will be exhibition panels featuring the new findings discovered by the young researchers. The project is supported by a grant received by the Terezín Memorial from the international organization called The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience based in the United States.

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