To Paint for Survival was a common theme of the Terezín Memorial´s 28th literary and 26th art competition, known as the Hana Greenfield Memorial. This subject was inspired primarily by the works of art created by Terezín Ghetto inmates, many of them children or adolescents. One of those was, for instance, Jan Burka, a native of prewar Czechoslovakia who lived in France after the war. The title of his book suggested the topic of this year´s competition. Another Terezín artist was Helga Hošková-Weissová, whose pictures portrayed the harsh living conditions in the Ghetto. Authors of the competition entries had the task of reflecting on various meanings and significance of art created in places where people face constant fear and life-threatening dearth.
This year´s art competition was specific in that it had been announced jointly with the Czech Center and the Memorial de la Shoah in Paris on the occasion of the handover of the EU Council Presidency from France to the Czech Republic. However, the French section of the competition was held separately.
More than 600 entries from 131 Czech schools were sent in to the art competitions this year: 74 to the literary contest, and 540 entries to the art categories.
The ceremony of announcing the competition results and awarding its winners took place in the Ghetto Museum cinema in Terezín on June 9, 2022. In addition to competition winners and runners-up, the gathering was attended by many distinguished guests, including former Terezín Ghetto inmate Michaela Vidláková, Chairman of the Terezín Initiative Michal Stránský, and Martina Jankovská of the Eternal Hope Endowment Fund. Other major guests were Tereza Habartová and Darina Vnoučková, officials representing the Czech Republic´s Ministry of Culture, Jindra Zalabáková, Councilor of the Ústí Regional Council, Roman Kovář, head of the Education Department of the Ústí Regional Council, René Tomášek, Mayor of Terezín Municipality, and other guests.
List of the winners and awarded entries can be found on the website of the Terezín Memorial in its section Vzdělávání (Education) – literary competition here, art category here.
The musical part of the festive program featured a performance by the singer and pianist Aida Mujačič, a native of Bosnia. She presented her adaptations of the songs by Karel Reiner from the cycle Květovaný kůň (Flowery Horse) and the play Esther, as well as a medley of Bosnian songs (in the Ladino language of Sephardic Jews and Slavonic tunes). Aida Mujačič views the fate of Karel Reiner and of the wartime inmates of the Terezín Ghetto as a parallel to her own life. As a small girl during the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, she spent her piano lessons hidden in a basement. That was why she spoke during her performance in the Terezín Memorial about her childhood experiences of the war in the city of Tuzla in what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Jan Kaňa, Pavel Straka