How many good poems does it take to make a poet?

evapicola_1-03 SYLVIA PLATH in an interview was asked how she first began writing poetry, what sort of thing did she write about when she first began?  Sylvia Plath’s reply:

“Nature, I think: birds, bees, spring, fall, all those subjects which are absolute gifts to the person who doesn’t have any interior experience to write about. I think the coming of spring, the stars overhead, the first snowfall and so on are gifts for a child, a young poet.

Twelve year old Eva Picová had the “interior experience” Sllvia Plath speaks of — it’s called the Terrezin concentration camp, renamed Theresienstadt by the Germans. It’s called premature adulthood at gun point.

Theresienstadt concentration camp, a transit camp for children and the elderly who were eventually packed into cattle cars pointed towards Auschwitz and their death. Also a camp for men and women selected for forced labor. Beatings, torture, starvation and disease were commonplace. Eva Picová lived through a typhus epidemic, seeing her friends and others succumb to the disease.  She saw adults saw her parents suffer, saw them agonize, languish, struggle under the brutal and terrorizing treatment wielded by the Nazis.

The adults at Theresienstadt manage to provide art and writing classes for the children. Despite severe congestion, food shortages and compulsory labor, the extensive educational and cultural activities in the ghetto reflected the prisoners’ will to survive the unsurvivable; provided a distraction from their eventual selection to the gas chamber, a distraction from the harsh bare-bone living conditions; gave them, especially the children, a voice to resurrect hope from despair.

A Dr. R. Feder gave Eva Picová’s poem to the State Jewish Museum in Prague. She most likely wrote more. She was allotted one more year to do so.

You can find a collection of children’s art and poetry from Terezin in the book titled “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.” Included is Picová’s poem.

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IF EVA PICOVÁ DID SURVIVE THERESIENSTADT CONCENTRATION CAMP I IMAGINE THAT SHE WOULD CONTINUE TO WRITE POETRY, JOINING THE FEW SURVIVOR POETS AND WRITERS WHO GAVE US A PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE UNIMAGINABLE, THE ABSURD, THE MERCILESS. WHO GAVE US THE TELLING OF —  FINDING THEIR OWN VOCABULARY/VOICE TO EXPRESS WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE THE CHOSEN PEOPLE — THE PRIMARY PARTICIPANT IN THE FINAL SOLUTION — WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO WITNESS AND ENDURE THE NAZI’S SYSTEMATIC DEDICATED SLAUGHTER OF 6 MILLION JEWS. THEN & NOW —

Poet and writers born from the Holocaust.

  klugerboth-10Ruth Klüger  (born 30 October 1931)  is Professor Emerita of German Studies at the University of California and a Holocaust survivor. In Auschwitz, Kluger composed poetry in her head and, somehow, knew there would be a future for her after the war. Ruth and her mother along with a girl they adopted in Auschwitz were lucky and resourceful: they survived, and when her mother died in 2000, Kluger “felt a sense of triumph, because this had been a human death, because she had survived and outlived the evil times and had died in her own good time, almost 100 years after she was born.”

Her book “Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered” was named one of the year’s 10 best books by the Washington Post, 2001. Winner of the Thomas Mann Prize and the Prix Memoire De La Shoah

Ruth Kluger, an amazing women; her chutzpah, insight, honesty, creativity, survival instincts comes through In her book and everything else she takes on. Ruth Kluger didn’t call it quits after escaping Auschwitz. Risking her own life she help save the lives of Jews during the Holocaust by smuggling them on ships into Palestine.

The following:
SPIEGEL, a German publication interviews Ruth Kluger. Nov 7, 2006

SPIEGEL: Ms. Klüger, at the moment you have a research post at the University of California in Irvine, and before that you were a guest lecturer at the University of Göttingen. Do you sometimes go back to your home town Vienna?

 Klüger: Yes.

 SPIEGEL: But the emotions you experience in Vienna must be very different to how you feel in Göttinge

Klüger: Yes, what is strange is … how should I put it? Our personalities are such that we instinctively rely on our own experiences rather than using our brains. For me Göttingen is not a Nazi town, even though I know that Braunschweig is very nearby…

 SPIEGEL: Braunschweig is of course where Hitler was made a German citizen in 1932.

Klüger: Exactly. But Vienna reeks of anti-Semitism. For me every cobblestone in Vienna is anti-Semitic. If I hadn’t fled with my mother and her friend in time, by the end of the war I could have ended up in Bergen-Belsen. But I have never been there, and I don’t go to these concentration camp memorial sites.

SPIEGEL: These memorial grounds are certainly not built with you in mind.

Klüger: It is just not my camp.

SPIEGEL: But you do you travel occasionally to Vienna?

Klüger: I did a guest professorship there. It was very unpleasant. The people I had to work with were awful.

SPIEGEL: So you believe that anti-Semitism is still deeply ingrained in the city? That it will always be there?

Klüger: Vienna will never be rid of anti-Semitism. I have the feeling the city doesn’t even want to be. When I got the invitation to go there, I couldn’t help thinking: “This is the university where your father studied.” And the first few weeks I was there, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that my father was standing behind me. I kept asking myself what he would have said if he had been there. And after a few weeks I knew what he would have said: “You are pretty stupid to have come here.”

select for the complete interview

Nelly Sachs  (10 December 1891 – 12 May 1970)

nellysachs-06 a Jewish German poet and playwright whose experiences resulting from the rise of the Nazis in World War II Europe transformed her into a poignant spokeswoman for the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jews. She fled to Sweden in 1940 with her mother just before being deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp, and lived in Sweden for the rest of her life, emotionally unable to face the idea of returning to Germany.

In 1966 she was awarded the Nobel prize for literature (for her “German Jewish” poetry).

Her following poem questions the unfathomable  — all of the German, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Romanian people who had a ‘hand’ in the Holocaust.

HANDS  by Nelly Sachs

Hands death’s gardener,
you who from the cradle-camomile of death
growing on the hard paddocks or hillside,
have bred the hothouse monster of your trade.
Hands, what did you do,
when you were the hands of little children?
Did you hold a mouth organ, the mane of a rocking horse,
did you cling to your mother’s skirt in the dark ….
You strangling hands, was your mother dead, your wife, your child?
So that only death was left for you to hold in your hands,
in your strangling hands?

Abraham Sutzkever sutzkever1_2-07was one of the great Yiddish poets of his generation who evoked the nightmare of the Holocaust with images of a wagonload of worn shoes and the haunting silence of a sky of white stars.

He was forced to dig his own grave at gunpoint; his newborn son was poisoned by the Germans in the ghetto hospital. Less than a year later, Sutzkever wrote a poem from a child’s viewpoint begging its mother to:

Strangle me with your Mama fingers

That played On my willow cradle.
It will mean:
Your love is stronger than death.
It will mean:
You trusted me with your love.

In 1941, he and his wife were sent to the Vilna Ghetto. Ordered by the Nazis to hand over important Jewish manuscripts and artworks Sutzkever and his friends hid a diary by Theodor Herzl, drawings by Marc Chagall and other treasured works behind plaster and brick walls in the ghetto. On September 12, 1943, he and his wife escaped to the forests, and together with fellow Yiddish poet Shmerke Kaczerginsky he fought the Germans as a partisan.

Paul Celan “There is nothing in the world for which a poet will give up writing, not even when he is a Jew and the language of his poems is German”

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Paul Celan was born in Czernovitz, Romania, to a German-speaking Jewish family. The death of his parents and the experience of the the Holocaust are defining forces in Celan’s poetry and his use of language.

Celan was imprisoned in a work-camp for 2 years, until February 1944, when the Red Army’s advance forced the Romanians to abandon the camps, whereupon he returned to Czernovitz shortly before the Soviets returned. At that time friends recall Celan expressing immense guilt over his separation from his parents, whom he had tried to convince to go into hiding prior to the deportations, shortly before their death.

After escaping the labor camp, Celan lived in Bucharest and Vienna before settling in Paris. In Paris, he translated poetry and taught German language and literature at L’École Normale Supérieure. Though he lived in France and was influenced by the French surrealists, he wrote his own poetry in German.

Celan’s poems often contain brief, fractured lines and stanzas, with compressed and unpredictable imagery, with the forms of the poems echoing the difficulty of finding language for the experiences he witnessed. Celan received the Bremen Prize for German Literature in 1958 and the Georg Buchner Prize in 1960

Celan committed suicide by drowning in the Seine river in Paris, April 1970.

His most famous poem, the “Todesfuge” (Death Fugue)

Death Fugue

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at evening
we drink it at midday and morning we drink it at night
we drink and we drink
we shovel a grave in the air there you won’t lie too cramped
A man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writes
he writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair Marguerite
he writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are all sparkling
he whistles his hounds to come close
he whistles his Jews into rows has them shovel a grave in the ground
he orders us strike up and play for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at morning and midday we drink you at evening
we drink and we drink
A man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writes
he writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair Margeurite
your ashen hair Shulamith we shovel a grave in the air there you won’t lie too cramped
He shouts jab this earth deeper you lot there you others sing up and play
he grabs for the rod in his belt he swings it his eyes are blue
jab your spades deeper you lot there you others play on for the dancing

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at midday and morning we drink you at evening
we drink and we drink
a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margeurite
your aschenes Haar Shulamith he plays with his vipers
He shouts play death more sweetly Death is a master from Deutschland
he shouts scrape your strings darker you’ll rise then in smoke to the sky
you’ll have a grave then in the clouds there you won’t lie too cramped

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at midday Death is a master aus Deutschland
we drink you at evening and morning we drink and we drink
this Death is ein Meister aus Deutschland his eye it is blue
he shoots you with shot made of lead shoots you level and true
a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margarete
he looses his hounds on us grants us a grave in the air
he plays with his vipers and daydreams
der Tod is ein Meister aus Deutschland
dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Shulamith

Primo Michele Levi always wore a short-sleeved shirt with a suit, even in winter, so that his prison tattoo was exposed whenever he removed his jacket.

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Primo Michele Levi, an Italian Jewish chemist and writer, the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. His best-known works include “Survival in Auschwitz”, his account of the year he spent as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. For the last forty years of his life Levi devoted himself to attempting to deal with the fact that he was not killed in Auschwitz. “The worst survived, that is, the fittest; the best all died,” he said.

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Campo di Fossoli was a deportation camp in Italy during the Holocaust taken over by the Germans. On 21 February 1944, Levi and other inmates were transported in twelve cramped cattle trucks to Monowitz, one of the three main camps in the Auschwitz concentration camp complex. Levi spent eleven months there before the camp was liberated by the Red Army on 18 January 1945.

Of the 650 Italian Jews in his transport, Levi was one of twenty who left the camps alive. The average life expectancy of a new entrant at the camp was three months.

Levi died on 11 April 1987, when he fell from the interior landing of his third-story apartment in Turin to the ground floor below.

The coroner ruled that Levi’s death was a suicide. Oxford sociologist Diego Gambetta, “If Levi wanted to kill himself he, a chemical engineer by profession, would have known better ways than jumping into a narrow stairwell with the risk of remaining paralyzed.

CENTRO PRIMO LEVI NEW YORK (CPL) is a New York based organization inspired by the humanistic legacy of writer and chemist Primo Levi, who survived Auschwitz and contributed significantly to the post-World War II debate on the role of memory in modern societies. CPL fosters and supports those interested in Primo Levi’s work, the Italian Jewish past as well as those interested in current perspectives and conversations about the Italian Jewish community today. It offers programs, publishing and networking activities and provides links to libraries and museums, academic and scholarly updates and a monthly newsletter. CPL is a dynamic and informative English language portal offering information and resources on Italian Jewish culture and history to audiences around the world.

A poem at the beginning of his book “Survival In Auschwitz”

 If This Is a Man

You who live safe In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:

Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud,
Who does not know peace,
Who fights for a scrap of bread,
Who dies because of a yes or a no.

Consider if this is a woman
Without hair and without name,
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts At home,
in the street, Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Голокост шпалерний клей. Халакост абіўны клей. Holocaust je tapeta pasta. השואה היא דבק טפטים. Holokausts ir fona pastas. L’Holocauste est colle à papier peint. די חורבן איז טאַפּעטן פּאַפּ. Holokaustas yra ekrano užsklanda pasta. Der Holocaust ist Tapetenkleister. Holokaust jest pasta tapeta. A holokauszt tapéta paszta. Holocaustul este pasta de tapet.

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That’s the answer given when twin sisters twenty years old, Yevgenia and Ksenia Karatygina, were asked on a Russian television game show “ What is the Holocaust? They conferred, searching memory for a clue. Running out of time the sisters made an innocent stab at the question “We think the Holocaust is wallpaper paste.”

They had no idea that this answer would bring them instant notoriety, embarrassment and infamy. “Video of the shocking scene was viewed hundreds of thousands of times online…” That’s how it was described in several publications: “shocking scene” — an appropriate description if the girls had said a curse word or torn off their blouse but shocking?

I find it disturbing, tragic, telling; the fault lies not with the girls.

The video saw 319,000 plus hits. Great PR for the game show, not so for the twins, Yevgenia and Ksenia. The girls got personal insults from replies on You-tube.  A “shocking” amount of anti-Semitism found expression on You-tube. On second thought, not so shocking.

Moisha Grozenberg 1 month ago
Tell me where to buy?
Mr Solomon 1 month ago
how low cost?
jeo jay 1 month ago
Yeah. Glue. Of the Jews.
vovka pistoletov 1 year ago
And why should they know what the Holocaust?!
TreuerRatibor28 1 year ago
I hear it’s a Jewish holiday!
Vad Vad 1 year ago
Read a very interesting book, and all will understand:
Jürgen Graf, “The myth of the Holocaust”
eukart 1 year ago
For example: Lampshades made of leather Jews
Glasses of beer out of their skulls!
MrTrifon73 1 year ago
A celebration
alexver31 1 month ago
The Holocaust – the glue. I agree.

According to an article in Radio Free Europe the incident “provoked a discussion about how the Holocaust is taught in the schools of the country whose troops (along with those of other former Soviet republics) liberated the Nazis’ largest concentration and death camp at Auschwitz in Poland.”

Mumin Shakirov, journalist, along with Holocaust Fund Chairwoman Alla Gerber interviewed Yevgenia and Ksenia on the Moscow studio “Radio Liberty”. For one thing they wanted to know if the twin’s answer was planned so to boost the ratings of the game show. It wasn’t. Asked about their studies, they replied that at the time we weren’t interested in school. I was writing poetry.  Now we are into music. Asked if they had heard of Auschwitz, Yevgenia said no, while Ksenia said: “It is something about some sort of civil war, I think.” This incident was significant enough for Shakirov to eventually film a short documentary on Yevgenia and Ksenia; his film is featured in this post.

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Yevgenia and Ksenia were born in a small village near Vladimir (Red Gorbatka). They finished primary school there studying sewing, painting, Universe Sciences, etc. They graduated from the Lyceum with an emphasis’s on humanities. They submitted documents to 3 universities and were accepted by all. Yevgenia graduated from the School of Music in voice and piano. Ksenia graduated from Moscow State Textile University. There might be some facts about their education that was lost in the translation but no doubt the twins are no dummies.

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When it comes to teaching the Holocaust to students in Vladimir Oblast, Russia there is for whatever reason no incentive or will to offer it. An oversight or intentional, it’s not in the lesson plan. The girls never heard the word Holocaust throughout all their years of schooling.

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If they read one poem written by a girl or boy their age who was imprisoned at the Theresienstadt ghetto/concentration camp and then to know the child’s murder by lethal gas at Auschwitz they would have known the answer.

If they saw one child’s watercolor painting who was imprisoned at the Theresienstadt ghetto/concentration camp and then to know the child’s murder by lethal gas at Auschwitz they would have known the answer.

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In October 2012, with financial support from the Polish Cultural Center in Moscow, documentary filmmaker and former RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Mumin Shakirov took the sisters on an visit to the museum and memorial complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau in the Polish town of Oswiecim. It was the girl’s first trip out of Russia.

A short film, statement by Mumin Shakirov, titled  “Holocaust — Wallpaper Paste?”  It covers Yevgenia and Ksenia Karatygina experience at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Both were deeply moved by the experience. Yevgenia broke down into loud weeping as she stood in front of an enormous pile of children’s shoes. Ksenia wept through a showing of the Soviet documentary film “The Liberation Of Auschwitz.”

Soviet doctors carry young survivor out of building at Auschwitz main camp

Soviet doctors carry young survivor out of building at Auschwitz main camp

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Yevgenia wept as she stood in front of an enormous pile of children’s shoes.

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Ilya Altman, founder and chairman of the Russian Research and Educational center, once called Moscow “the world center for Holocaust denial.”*

In a speech at the American Jewish World Service, which has helped fund the center, the 52-year-old Altman recalled his own days as a student. He and others heard “12 lessons about the history of World War II and the major battles,” he said, “but we did not speak about the Holocaust and who killed Soviet Jews.”

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Many “ethnic Russians” resent any discussion of the Holocaust uniqueness to Jews when so many of their families also suffered tremendously during the war. They ask why Jews should be singled out or discussed separately, above and beyond all others. Some estimates put the number of Soviet residents killed during the war at about 20 million, a figure that may include the victims of not only the Nazis, but of Stalin’s labor camps. More than half the estimated six million Jews killed by the Nazis were from the Soviet Union.

Also there is a national guilt to be reckoned with. Like all massacres of Jewish communities in foreign lands, the Germans relied heavily on local collaborators; both to identify and round up Jewish citizens and to murder women and children.

The resistance to teaching the Holocaust appears to be melting, according to Alla Gerber, the center’s president and a former member of the Duma, the Russian parliament. She said that roughly 650 Russian schools have covered the Holocaust in some fashion.
“650 schools, whoopee!” Out of all the schools in Russia? For Gerber to cite this as an accomplishment indicates the degree of difficulty in getting the Holocaust taught in Russia.

Olga Glebova, an English teacher in Moscow tries to discuss the Holocaust as much as possible at the high school in which she works. Glebova said she has a ready response to colleagues who ask why she teaches such a horrifying subject: “I say because it’s real and that without understanding the past, you have no future.” Olga Glebova identifies herself as part of a distinguished and highly regarded class in Russia, hailing, she says, from “a very old, noble Russian family.” Like much of the country, she’s also Russian Orthodox, a faith whose leaders have often been at odds with Russian Jewry. 

Russia has no government program for teaching the Holocaust but there are several organizations that facilitate and provide programs and training for teacher and student.

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Learn: The Holocaust and United Nations outreach program
Holocaust Education in Russia Today: Its Challenges and Achievements

Learn:  The International School for Holocaust Studies
Free. These lesson plans cover some of the central themes of the Holocaust, detailing how they can be approached in the classroom.
For elementary school students (ages 9-12)
For middle school students (ages 13-15)
For high school students (ages 15-18)
Also available for individuals.

Learn: Coming of Age in the Holocaust
A free, interactive curriculum for middle and high-school students and their educators created by the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York in collaboration with Yad LaYeled – The Ghetto Fighters’ Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum in IsraelThe site features individual testimonies of thirteen people who were adolescents during the Holocaust and had some of the same concerns that young people today have. Students follow their stories through the survivors’ words, short video interviews, maps, pictures, a glossary, a timeline, and other instructional content. Students who read all thirteen stories will encounter the Holocaust through the eyes of youth their own age that survived it. Through these survivors they will explore the diversity of experience that took place. Also available for individuals.

Learn: Holocaust in Film and Literature, German 59 (1 thru 18)
Online
By Todd Presner – UCLA
Free; highly recommended for all.
Course Description:
German 59: Holocaust in Film and Literature is a course that provides insight into the History of Holocaust and its present memory through examination of challenges and problems encountered in trying to imagine its horror through media of literature and film.
About the Professor:
Todd Presner is Associate Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies. His research focuses on German-Jewish intellectual and cultural history, the history of media, visual culture, digital humanities, and cultural geography. He is the author of two books: The first, Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains (Columbia University Press, 2007), maps German-Jewish intellectual history onto the development of the railway system; the second, Muscular Judaism: The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration (Routledge, 2007), analyzes the aesthetic dimensions of the strong Jewish body.

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Last Portrait: Art from the maw of hell and the soul of a Jew.

Works of art from the exhibition “Last Portrait” from the Yad Vashem Art Collection in Israel. The exhibit consist of nearly 200 portraits, all of them created by 21 artists

2artistssignaturesA compelling collection of portraiture from the Holocaust — but much more. They are a meditation by each artist, on the physiognomy of a human face and soul, a meditation of love for line, texture, shade, color, a meditation of a profound interpretation and esthetic, a meditation of artist and subject bound together for the moment to still the clamor of madmen, to postpone crazed citizens wielding hate and death bullets, to put on hold the creeping gallows of lethal gas.
That is their moment, each pleased with the other, subject and artist live, and will live-on, a union held there for us by what is expressed on paper in spite of and because of a random call to death in wait. There are survivors among both the artists and their subjects; there are those from each who did not. Included in this post are two of the 21 artists, both their art and their history. Meet and get to know Max Plaček and Arnold Daghani. If you appreciate art, if you’re moved by life’s commonplace heroes, their courage, their epic lives, except the invitation.

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Born in Kyjov, Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1902.
Murdered in Sachsenhausen in 1944.

While he was still a boy, Plaček loved to draw and paint, as well as playing the violin. He studied law for a number of semesters, but left his studies to start working as an insurance agent, first in Banská Bystrica and later in Prague, where he married Trude Pollak. Following the German occupation in 1939, he was drafted for clerical work at the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Bohemia and Moravia. In 1942, after a short period working as a forced laborer on the farm of the widow of Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Gestapo, he was, in September 1942, deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. On December 18, 1943, he was transported to the “family camp” in Auschwitz. In July 1944, he was transported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was murdered.

During his internment in Theresienstadt, Plaček drew almost uninterrupted. He drew hundreds of caricatures portraits in profile in a humorous style – figures of literary and cultural background from Czechoslovakia and other central European countries. Plaček added attributes to the portraits, such as books they had written and music they had composed. He made sure to note the date on each portrait, and had the sitter sign it. Some of the individuals portrayed also added a comment or a dedication to the artist. The large body of portraits reflects the human and cultural wealth of the inmate population in Theresienstadt; scientists, artists, musicians, actors, and intellectuals from a variety of fields.

The Yad Vashem collection holds more than 500 portraits by Plaček, drawn during the eight month period between May to December, 1943. The last portrait he drew was finished about a week before he was transported to Auschwitz.

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Born in Suceava, Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1909.
Died in Hove, England, in 1985.

 In the late 1920s, he went to Munich and Paris, apparently to continue his art studies. He moved to Bucharest at the beginning of the 1930s and, due to his mastery of several languages, he worked as a clerk in an export firm. It was there that he changed his name from Korn to Daghani. In June 1940, he married Anişoara Rabinovici. A few months later, their home was damaged in an earthquake and they moved to Czernowitz. Following the German occupation in July 1941, Daghani was forced to work as a street cleaner. In October the couple were deported to the Czernowitz Ghetto, and in June 1942, they were conscripted for forced labor in Ladizhin. In August the couple were sent to the Mikhailowka Labor Camp in Transnistria, where the prisoners were compelled to repair the main road from Gaisin to Uman.

 In June 1943, Daghani was ordered to create a mosaic in the shape of the German eagle, for the headquarters of the August Dohrmann Company in the nearby town of Gaisin. About a month later Daghani and his wife escaped, and managed to reach the Bershad Ghetto. With the intervention of the Red Cross, they were released on December 31, 1943 and went to Tiraspol. In March 1944, they made their way to Bucharest, where they remained until the end of the war. In 1958, they immigrated to Israel. The Daghanis returned to Europe in 1961, eventually settling in England.

 When Daghani was deported to the Czernowitz Ghetto, a policeman ordered him to take his sketchbook and paints with him, suggesting that they might help him to survive. At Mikhailowka, Daghani used these art supplies to portray life in the camp and to paint portraits of the camp’s prisoners, officers and guards. He continued in the Bershad Ghetto, painting portraits of the internees, as well as scenes from the ghetto. After his liberation, Daghani dedicated his life to art and to writing his memoirs. Daghani’s portraits, their seemingly esthetic quality notwithstanding, constitute rare color testimony to the cruel and harsh reality of the prisoners’ lives.

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For the entire online Yad Vashem exhibit with
examples of the 21 artists click here.

For an exhibition catalogue, with nearly 200 portraits from the Yad Vashem Art collection, created by 21 artists click here.  

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Echo their names here — an invocation if you will, know them so they can be known, so you can grasp their brutal end. Only 15, a drop in the bloody bucket.

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Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, established in 1953 through the Yad Vashem Law passed by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. The name “Yad Vashem” is taken from a verse in the Book of Isaiah.

Naming the Holocaust memorial “yad vashem” conveys the idea of establishing a national depository for the names of Jewish victims who have no one to carry their name after death.

The names and photographs submitted to Yad Veshem are from family and friends; each submission, from 3 to 5 sentences, is referred to as a  “Page of Testimony.”

Feel for 15, you’ll feel for 6 million

The following 15 Pages of Testimony will give you a proper feel of where the remaining other millions of souls who suffered this unfathomable agony would have taken you. That’s all you need to feel. Feel for 15, you’ll feel for 6 million. If you don’t feel you’re either a nazi and/or some sick f___k.

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1 5  P A G E S  OF  T E S T I M O N Y
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1. MARA COBLIC, daughter of Yitzhak and Bracha Coblic, was born in 1936 in Chisinau, Romania (today Moldova). Mara and her family were incarcerated in the Chisinua ghetto, where she and her mother perished. The Page of Testimony in her memory and the photograph were submitted to Yad Vashem by Malka Gipsman, Mara’s cousin.
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2. THE GRITZ FAMILY Chaya Gritz (ne Zuckerman) was born in Berezno, Poland in 1906.She married Jacob Nianje Gritz, also from Berezno, who was three years her senior. In 1933, their daughter Ettele Menucha was born. The family was incarcerated in the Berezno ghetto, where they were murdered by the Germans and their Ukrainian collaborators in August 1942. The photograph and Pages of Testimony in their memory were submitted to Yad Vashem by Yishayahu Perry, Chaya Gritz’s nephew.
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3. ARTU and TRUDA RUBIN on their Wedding Day. Artur Rubin was born in 1901 in Dobris, Czechoslovakia. He was married to Truda Kaplusz, born in Dobris in 1907. Artur was a trader and Truda was a housewife. In 1944, they were deported to Auschwitz, where they were murdered. Artur was 43 and his wife was 37. The Pages of Testimony in their memory and the photograph were submitted to Yad Vashem by Vera Karger, the Rubin’s niece, living in the United States.

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4. SARA LIVSHITZ daughter of Moshe and Riva (nee Shoikhet), was born in 1938 in Vinnitsa, Ukraine. In 1941, she was murdered in Vinnitsa, together with her parents, and her brother Daniel, age 6. She was just 3 years old. The photograph and Page of Testimony in her memory were submitted to Yad Vashem by her cousin, Dora Vernikov, who live in the Ukraine.
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jacoby5. HEINRICH and MARGARETE JACOBY  BERLIN, 1940  Heinrich Jacoby was born in Belgard, Germany on October 15, 1864. His wife Margarete was born in Eidtkonen, Germany on November 11, 1875. They were deported from Germany and perished in Theresienstadt on January 18, 1943, age 79, and Margarete on August 22, 1943, age 68. The Pages of Testimony in their memory and the photograph were submitted by their daughter, Julia Faerber Jacoby, who lives in France.
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6. FLORIKA LIEBMANN  was born in 1934 in Szeged, Hungary to Bela and Szerena (née Hortobagyi) Liebmann. She went to school in Szeged, and in 1944, at the age of 10, was deported to her death. Her mother also perished. The photograph and Page of Testimony in her memory were submitted to Yad Vashem by Moshe Hortobagy.
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7. YEHIEL MINTZBERG Son of Abek (Abba) and Miriam Mintzberg, was born in Radom, Poland. He lived in Radom during the war, until October 1942, when he was deported to Treblinka, and murdered. He was ten years old. The Page of Testimony in his memory and the photograph were submitted to Yad Vashem by his aunt, Lola Politanski from Israel.
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8. KURT PECKEL FAMILY. Kurt, son of Adolf and Pauline Peckel, was born on 9 March, 1897 in Inse, Germany. He married Frania Kalter, and they had a son, Adolf. The family lived in Leipzig, Germany, and during the war they were in Southern France. On 31 August 1942, Kurt, Frania and Adolf were deported on the 26th transport from the Drancy transit camp to Auschwitz, where they all perished. The family photograph and Page of Testimony in memory of Kurt Peckel were submitted to Yad Vashem by Horace Peck (formerly Peckel), Kurt’s brother from the US.
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9. GREGORY SHEHTMAN Gregory, son of Haim and Feiga Shehtman, was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1934. In September 1941, Gregory was taken to Babi Yar, a ravine just outside Kiev, and murdered. The photograph and Page of Testimony in his memory were submitted to Yad Vashem by Rachel Gorinstein, Gregory’s half-sister, who lives in the US.
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10 OLGA KRAUSZ & HER SON IMRE Olga Krausz, daugher of Lajos and Janka Blumenfeld, was born in Satoraljaujhely, Hungary in 1905. She was married to Jozsef Krausz, a doctor by profession. Olga was a teacher. In 1938 they had a son, Imre. During the war, the Krausz family lived in Pecs, Hungary. They were all murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. The photograph and Pages of Testimony in their memory were submitted to Yad Vashem by Gustav Grtner, Olga’s nephew, who lives in the Czech Republic.
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11. LAURA & VILIAM SCHWARTZ Laura Schwartz, daughter of Margit and Ede Hadinger, was married to Viliam Schwartz, and was a pharmacist by profession. The couple lived in Cluj, Romania. Laura perished at the age of 28, probably in a concentration camp. Viliam’s fate is unknown. The photograph and Page of Testimony in her memory were submitted by her cousin Carol Rosenfeld, who lives in Sweden.
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12. RENEE ALBERSHEIM Renée, daughter of Fritz and Helene Albersheim, was born in Berlin, Germany in 1930. During the war the family lived in Lithuania, Helene’s country of origin. Rene and her parents were incarcerated in the Kovno ghetto, where they perished. The Page of Testimony in her memory and the photograph were submitted to Yad Vashem by Tamara Jawschitz-Spatz, Renes’s cousin.
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13. MARINA SMARGONSKI  Marina, daughter of Nahum and Anna-Nyuta Smargonski, was born in Riga, Latvia on 30 August 1938. During the war the family lived in Riga, and Marina perished in the Riga ghetto in December of 1941. She was 3 years old. Her father perished in a concentration camp in Germany. The photograph and Page of Testimony in her memory were submitted to Yad Vashem by Anna Yarshov (formerly Smargonski), Marina’s mother.
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14. AMARA HALPERN with one of her two daughters – Lita or Ruth. Tamara Kessel was born in 1903 in Riga, Latvia, and married Abraham Halpern, also born in Riga. They had two daughters – Lita, born in 1929 and Ruth, born in 1931. The family lived in Riga during the war. None of them survived. The Pages of Testimony in their memory and the photograph were submitted by Shirley Morgenstern, Tamara’s cousin.
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15. ELISABETH GERSCH AND DAUGHTER, EVA  Eva Elisabeth Gersch (née Grunfeld) was born in 1914 in TG-Mures, Transylvania (Romania). She was married to Rudolph and they lived in Deda Bisztra, Romania where Elisabeth was a housewife. In 1936 they had a daughter whom they named Eva (in photograph). During the war, the family lived in the Regin ghetto. Elisabeth and Eva were deported to Auschwitz, where they were gassed in 1944. Elisabeth was 40 and Eva was 8 years old. The photograph and Pages of Testimony in their memory were submitted to Yad Vashem by Elisabeth’s niece Adela Ganea, herself a Holocaust survivor, living in Haifa.
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The Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project 

The Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project aims to memorialize each individual Jew murdered in the Holocaust by recording their names, biographical details and photographs on special forms created by Yad Vashem, called Pages of Testimony.

Yad VashemEternal flame in the Hall of Remembrance

Yad VashemEternal flame in the Hall of Remembrance

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Pages of Testimony

Pages of Testimony are special forms designed by Yad Vashem to restore the personal identity and brief life stories of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.

Since its inception Yad Vashem has worked tirelessly to collect these one-page forms, containing the names, biographical details and, when available, photographs, of each individual victim. Pages of Testimony are submitted by survivors, remaining family members or friends and acquaintances in commemoration of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

The first 800,000 names on Pages of Testimony were collected during the 1950’s, with ongoing global outreach efforts to identify the unnamed victims of the Shoah so they will always be remembered.

To date there are some 2.5 million Pages of Testimony, written in more than twenty languages, stored for perpetuity in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall of Names, with space for six million in total. Empty shelves bear witness to the millions of individuals who have yet to be memorialized.

The Hall of Names

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View of the Hall of Names

The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem is the Jewish People’s memorial to each and every Jew who perished in the Holocaust – a place where they may be commemorated for generations to come.

The main circular hall houses the extensive collection of “Pages of Testimony” – short biographies of each Holocaust victim. Over two million Pages are stored in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall, with room for six million in all.

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The ceiling of the Hall is composed of a ten-meter high cone reaching skywards, displaying 600 photographs and fragments of Pages of Testimony.

This exhibit represents a fraction of the murdered six million men, women and children from the diverse Jewish world destroyed by the Nazis and their accomplices. The victims’ portraits are reflected in water at the base of an opposing cone carved out of the mountain’s bedrock.

Aerial view of Yad Vashem

Aerial view of Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, 804 meters (2,638 ft) above sea level and adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest. Yad Vashem is a 180-dunam (180,000 m2; 1,900,000 sq ft) complex containing the Holocaust History Museum, memorial sites such as the Children’s Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, The Museum of Holocaust Art, sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, archives, a research institute, library, publishing house and an educational center, The International School for Holocaust Studies. Yad Vashem honors non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust, at personal risk, as the Righteous Among the Nations.

Yad Vashem is the second most-visited tourist site in Israel, after the Western Wall. It receives some one million visitors annually. Admission is free.

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Feel for 15, you’ll feel for 6 million.


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Resurrect a 9 year old girl from the ashes.

A watercolor on tinted paper (archive number 129406). Painting of bunks 14, 15, 16. Next to the bunks are 2 chairs, a table with a vase of flowers.  A light fixture hangs from the ceiling. The wall painted with color stripes.  Hana Grünfeld has nine more drawings in the collection, most dating between April & June 1944.

15,000 — the number of children who passed thru the Terezin concentration camp. From age 4 to 13, they lived day to day with a death sentence waiting to claim them anytime, without notice and brutally swift. The German SS and the local police would collect the children along with their care givers, pack them all in rail cars on route to Auschwitz.

103 — the number of children from Terezin who survived.

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Hana Grünfeld was possibly delivered to Auschwitz on this transport: October 5, 1943, the SS authorities deported 1,196 children and their 53 caregivers from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz. None survive.

Or Hana Grünfeld was on one of these transports from September 28, 1944 to October 28, 1944
. The SS deported approximately 18,402 Theresienstadt prisoners to Auschwitz.  By the end of October, approximately 11,077 Jews remain in the camp-ghetto.

Hana Grünfeld last few days.

I close my eyes to witness Hana Grünfeld torn from her mother’s arms; if her mother became hysterical Hana could have seen her mother shot. I witness Hana Grunfeld sitting in the dark on the floor of a rail car for two days and nights without food, water and parents. (Residing at the Terezin ghetto for 3 years, from age 6 to 9, Hana most likely has an inkling of what’s to come.)  I witness Hana in line walking with the other children, ages 4 to 12 years, too young to fear the finality of death, walking with old men, old women who have pondered their death for some time, all of them, both the very young and the very old, herded-off toward the final solution, a gas chamber. This singular constellation of Jews nameless, except for one, Hana Grünfeld.

This post is dedicated to nine-year-old Hana Grünfeld.

Hana Grünfeld. Think about her. Imagine this 9 tear old kid dipping her paintbrush into the watercolors, boldly, spontaneously making a painting of her room, totally absorbed in spite of the daily menace. 

Resurrect a 9 year old from the ashes.
Go viral with Hana Grünfeld

Leave a reply to Hana Grünfeld in this post — her post. Say hello to Hana, introduce yourself, tell her how you feel, reply to a nine year old that was murdered at Auschwitz. Acknowledge her existence. 

She’ll live again thru you. 

Leave a reply to Hana Grünfeld. Keep her memory alive. Honor her. Reply to her. Go viral with Hana Grünfeld.

I will never forget you Hana.  Brave Hana , frightened Hana, thank you for your life and your art. I am privileged to have met you, we have your teacher Friedl Dicker to thank and not to forget “google.” I’d like to give you a hug about now.

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The Czech garrison town of Terezin

In October 1941 the Germans moved in, turned Terezin into a ghetto run by the SS. Terrezin became The Theresienstadt ghetto.

Not like any other Nazi-run ghetto; it was a transit camp, a holding pen, for children and the elderly send to death camps and for able-body men and women sent to forced labor camps; it was a model camp used for propaganda, ultimately a concentration camp.

Living with a Death Sentence · Children’s Art and Poetry

The extensive educational and cultural activities in the Theresienstadt ghetto provided a distraction from the looming selections to Auschwitch, the harsh inhumane bare-bone living conditions, the food shortages and periodic brutal treatment by the German SS.

 Artist-in-residence  –  Friedl Dicker-Brandeis

Friedl Dicker, 1916

Imprisoned Bauhaus-educated artist Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a successful artist and designer, brought with her to Terezin as many art supplies as she could. For the duration of her stay in the camp she devoted her self to teaching art to the children, using methods that have become the foundation of art therapy. Before her deportation to Auschwitz in October 1944, Friedl packed some 5,000 of her students’ drawings in two suitcases and hid them. These remained undiscovered for the next 10 years.

( Possibly Hana Grünfeld and Friedl Dicke, teacher and student, were on the same same transport to Auschwitz. If so we can be be sure they gave solace to one another. )

The child’s art and the 9 year-old Hana Grünfeld featured here in this post is part of a permanent exhibition, the “Children’s Exhibit” at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

You can find a collection of the children’s art and poetry from Terezin in the book titled I never saw another butterfly.”

Hana Grünfeld Born May 20, 1935
Deported toTerezin Dec 14, 1941

Perished at Auschwitz 1944, age 9

Leave a reply to Hana Grünfeld.