“This beautiful evocation of heartwarming friendship in the darkest of times is unforgettable.” —Elie Wiesel
Think Diary of Anne Frank. Think Night. If Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel had been deported to Theresienstadt instead of directly to Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz, they would have been within the group of children in Theresienstadt. The diary entries reproduced here have the immediacy and the literary quality of their books.
Of the 15,000 children deported from the Theresienstadt internment camp to Auschwitz, 100 survived. Twelve of these survivors — twelve-year-old girls when they arrived in Theresienstadt — managed to find one another after the war, and they resolved to stay in touch. Now living in the United States, Russia, England, Sweden, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, these women get together every year at a resort on the banks of the Elbe to reinforce a bond that is almost impossible for us to understand. It was there that journalist Hannelore Brenner met them, heard their extraordinary stories of survival, and decided to share these stories with the world through interviews, diary excerpts, and samplings of the art, music, and poetry they created while living through disease, hunger, persecution, and the deaths of most of their family members.
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“The insights of the survivors and stories of the camp’s victims are unforgettable and full of poignant humanity, conveyed through letters, photos, diaries, and remembrances. . . . Well detailed and inspiring, Brenner’s book, especially her heartfelt epilogue, pays glowing tribute to these heroic survivors.” -Publishers Weekly
“Brenner chronicles the remarkable artistic experiments undertaken by the girls, especially their enthusiastic production of the children’s opera Brundibár. An inspiring story of courage rendered through impressive personal and historical detail.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The story of this children’s home in Theresienstadt takes us to the limit of the bearable, to the place where compassion, fear, and the temptation to simply turn away lie in wait. To resist that temptation–isn’t that what the historical record must achieve?” –Die Zeit