The prize-awarding ceremony of the Terezín Memorial´s 27th literary and 25th art competition – the Hana Greenfield Memorial took place in the cinema of the Ghetto Museum in Terezín on September 7, 2021.
For this year we selected for both competitions a common topic: When Help Is Needed…. This subject was inspired by the events from the end of WW II when transports were bringing to Terezín prisoners from the Nazi-evacuated concentration camps. Many of the arriving inmates had been infected by lethal spotted fever, a disease which eventually grew into an epidemic in Terezín. Joining the fight against the contagion were not only inmates from the Ghetto and the Gestapo Prison in the Small Fortress but also the medical personnel of the Czech Help Action, the Soviet Army and volunteers from far and wide. While treating the seriously ill patients, many assisting medical personnel contracted the disease and some of them died. Whether such an assistance given by volunteers was something quite natural or whether it could have had other causes, and whether today we ourselves would be capable – despite all the risks – of extending a helping hand, those were the questions to which the competitors responded in their entries.
As many as 252 competition entries from 97 schools throughout the Czech Republic came in the school year 2020/2021. Eighty-three works arrived in the literary competition, 169 entries competed in the fine-art contest. You will find the list of the winners and winning entries on the Terezín Memorial´s website in its section Education.
The ceremony was attended by many distinguished guests, among whom Mrs. Michaela Vidláková, a Holocaust survivor and former Terezín Ghetto inmate, deserves special mention. Together with Mr. Jiří Polák (son of Erik Polák, also a former Ghetto inmate and Terezín Memorial historian), she presented to the winning competitors the Erik Polák Awards, traditionally given by the Terezín Initiative* to young artistic talents. The cultural program featured singer and pianist Aida Mujačič who performed, for instance, compositions by former Terezín inmate Karel Rainer.