In your watercolor, Nely Sílvinová your heart on fire on the grey cover of a sketchbook is a dying sun or a flower youngest of the summer

nelysilvinova

nelysilvinova-02

Sixteen more of her paintings are in the collection, most dating between April and June 1944. At Terezin she lived in the house number 14 and belonged to Group V. She was a student of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis. You’ll find this painting in the book “I never saw another butterfly”, a collection of children’s drawings and poems from the Terezin concentration camp, 1942 – 1944.

Robert Mezey (born 1935) an American poet, upon seeing Nely Sílvinová painting wrote the poem “Terezin.”

mezyspoem3-02

and much else that is not
visible it says also
a burning wound at the horizon
it says Poland and winter
SILVIN VI 25 VI 1944
and somehow
above the body on its bed of coals
it says spring
from the crest of the street it says
you can see fields
brown and green
and beyond them the dark blue line of woods
and beyond that smoke
is that the smoke of Prague
and it says blood
every kind of blood

blood of Jews
German blood
blood of Bohemia and Moravia
running in the gutters
blood of children
it says free at last
the mouth of the womb it says
SILVIN VI 25 VI 1944
the penis of the commandant
the enraged color
the whip stock the gun butt
it says it says it says

Petrified god
god that gave up the ghost at Terezín
what does it say but itself
thirteen years of life
and your heart on fire
Nely Sílvinová

For more on children’s art of Terezin see:
• I will always come back to life.
• 100 out of 15,000 children saved. 14,900 obliterated. The earth’s  sun runs out of gas in 7 billion years, kaput.
• Resurrect a 9 year old girl from the ashes.

footersilvinova

100 out of 15,000 children saved. 14,900 obliterated. The earth’s sun runs out of gas in 7 billion years, kaput.



vasewithflowers

flowersvase_b-02

Collage of cut paper and office ledger paper painted over with tempera (archive number 133573) signed “Kitty Passerovaé 27.3. nod

Kitty Markéta Passerovaé most likely survived the Terezin Concentration Camp and her ultimate rail road car run to the gas chamber at Auschwitz because she was 14 years, old enough to be put to work at a labor camp; if younger she stood a chance of being gassed.

Being part of a work force wasn’t a guarantee that you’d make it thru alive. Other life saving factors could have contributed to Kitty’s survival: like having a strong healthy constitution from the get-go, youth, relentless tenacity, luck and if you believe in providence, the hand of God.

If God did choose Kitty Passerovaé, God left a lot of the Terezin children out of the picture. Out of 15,000 children, 100 to 103, survived, Kitty Markéta Passerovaé being one.

Given Kitty Markéta Passerovaé elegant collage of flower and vase made me wonder if she took those artistic sensibilities with her to a life after Terrezin.  I ran her name thru google and found her granddaughter, Simča Labudová.

Google led me to the web site “Slide Share” where slide shows of all kinds are uploaded. One was put together with images and words created by the children of Terezin, taken from the book “I never saw another Butterfly.” Kitty Markéta Passerovaé collage was included. Her granddaughter, Simča Labudová, happen upon it and replied in the Post A Comment area. Her English was spotty; took some liberties, filled in some of the blanks:

profile-photo-SimaLabudov-48x48“Hello, I am the granddaughter of Passerova. Margaret, born 4 September 1929, deported from Prague to Terezin December 8 1943. Her collage of flowers in the vase was used in your book on page 7. I’d love to buy this book. I would like to correct some of my grandmother’s information. She doesn’t live in Australia, nor has a daughter in Hungary. My grandmother lived after the liberation in 1945 in the Czech Republic, where she bore two children, Daniel and Joseph. And she passed away in the Czech Republic.”

Terezin concentration Camp, not your typical death camp.

Terezin specialty: gathering up, housing and killing old Jews, artist, musicians, children, pregnant women all the while being sold to the world as a safe haven for Jews providing for them comfortable living conditions,  adequate food supply, access to the arts, music and a place to express their faith. What bullshit. The Red Cross fell for it.

Terezin called by the Germans “Theresienstadt”

Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans. The publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their “resettlement to the east,” where they would be compelled to perform forced labor. Since it seemed implausible that elderly Jews could be used for forced labor, the Nazis used the Theresienstadt ghetto to hide the nature of the deportations. In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a “spa town” where elderly German Jews could “retire” in safety. The deportations to Theresienstadt were, however, part of the Nazi strategy of deception. The ghetto was in reality a collection center for deportations to ghettos and killing centers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe.

Click here to read more.

bialystock children deported to terezin

Children of the Bialystock Ghetto (Poland) being deported to Terezin.

An after thought.

when I look at the backs of these children

led to Terezin

then to know their end

their parents confiscated

parentless, no loving touch

bereft of any kindness

only barking adults

their confusion

not understanding

to imagine them naked jammed in a

concrete room

along with naked adults

suddenly gasping for air, choking

not understanding

any of it, terrified, alone, screaming

tears, screaming, tears

then silent, then silence

lifeless, no past, no future, dead

buried under a pile of dead adults

when I look at the backs of these children

led into the transport

I want to kill

cut off the balls of those

nazi bastards, tear out their guts with a

butcher knife, rip them apart with my hands,

jam their balls,

guts down their throats

smash their skulls to smithereens

I want to kill them all, not leave a trace

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.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

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.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

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.