Terezin: Voic­es from the Holocaust

Ruth Thom­son
  • Review
By – March 28, 2012
They thought that after the com­plete evac­u­a­tion of the Jews, Terezin will, accord­ing to a per­fect plan, be set­tled by Ger­mans and become a cen­ter of Ger­man life…” Thus were the ulti­mate plans of the Nazis, who between 1941 and 1945, turned the small town of Terezin, Czecho­slo­va­kia into a ghet­to, actu­al­ly a tran­sit camp — a halfway ste p to the hell of Auschwitz or anoth­er exter­mi­na­tion camp. Yet, even the most des­per­ate sur­round­ings could not snuff out the genius and spir­it of these Czech and lat­er, Ger­man Jews. Terezin became a show camp” where inmates were allowed, and at one point, encour­aged, to use their enor­mous tal­ents and intel­li­gence. They held lec­tures, a library, the­ater, con­certs, and art exhibits. The author met­ic ulous­ly select­ed quotes from the diary accounts of inmates and excerpts from mem­oirs and record­ings nar­rat­ed after the war, and from the numer­ous books that have been writ­ten about the camp. Thomson’s tal­ent, how­ev­er, is in select­ing just the right quotes; the most fit­ting pho­tographs and repro­duc­tions, and in weav­ing these parts into a for­mat and sto­ry that is both hand­some— with full page/​full col or illus­tra­tions and coher­ent expla­na­tions. This over­sized book at 8 1÷2” x 11 3÷16” and a slim 64 pages, has to be shelved face out, but is a per­fect book to intro­duce the Holo­caust to a group of stu­dents from grades 5 – 9 (ages 10 – 14), or for any age. Illus­trat­ed with pho­tographs and repro­duc­tions of art.
Mar­cia W. Pos­ner, Ph.D., of the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty, is the library and pro­gram direc­tor. An author and play­wright her­self, she loves review­ing for JBW and read­ing all the oth­er reviews and arti­cles in this mar­velous periodical.

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