Results of the contests of Education Department of the Terezín Memorial

The topic of the 16th annual edition of the literary contest and the 14th edition of the art contest of the Terezín Memorial was the question “How are we to live on?”, which intended to inspire young writers and artists to contemplate and work with the feelings and thoughts of people who came back from the concentration camps. We used first person plural in the question so as to stress the element of solidarity of the young authors and the Czech society as such with those who survived the Nazi terror.

The two contests received 740 contributions. The jury of the literary contest chose from  188 works, the art prize was contested by 552 authors. Eight best works in each category were awarded prizes, and there were also special awards, as well as Erik Polák Prize (awarded to six authors in each category). The jury was surprised  to find three inventively conceived comic books among the submitted works. Tereza Frindová and Marta Staňková of the Secondary school of fashion design in Prague illustrated the biblical commandments (You shall not murder, You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord),  Alžběta Moravcová of Grammar school and Secondary pedagogy school in Čáslav  produced 27 A3 size pages with a story of a survivor returning to Kutná Hora under the name Return.

The award ceremony took place on 4 June 2004 in the cinema of Terezín’s Ghetto Museum, starting at 1 PM. Most of the awarded contestants were there, as were the official guests: Ústí Region councillor for culture Jana Ryšánková, head of the Terezín Initiative, Dagmar Lieblová, director of the Terezín Memorial, Jan Munk (all of them addressing the audience with a speech), son of Terezín ghetto historian E. Polák, Jiří Polák, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Lidice Memorial and the Terezín Town Council. All of the awarded works were put on display in the cinema hall. The programme also included a performance by the guitar player and singer Slávek Klecandr (of the evangelical folk rock band Oboroh) who presented four biblical Psalms put to blues music. The verses sung dealt with problems similar to those that the works in the contest addresses, such as My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?.

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S příchodem nacistů se mé dětské mysli otevřely podivné obzory. Uvědomil jsem si, že nelze spontánně ctít starosty, radní, duchovní, soudce, učitele, různé přednosty, ale že si naši úctu musí zasloužit. Vždyť někteří z těch, které jsem míval v oblibě, zvedali pravici k poctě vůdce a později pilně vstupovali do komunistické strany. Začal jsem brzy lidi třídit. — Tom Luke, Kolektiv autorů: Pokoj 127, Domov mládeže Q708, Terezín, Gymnázium Plzeň a o.s. HUMR, 2007, s. 89.