By Joshua Colton Treadwell
For the month of April, Dupont library will be displaying drawings from the Jewish Museum in Prague. The drawings are originally from the Terezin (pronounced in German as “Theresienstadt”) concentration camp, which existed from November 24, 1941, to May 9, 1945. The Holocaust Encyclopedia describes the Terezin camp as an important propaganda tool. The Nazis described Terezin as a “spa town”. They stated that the camp was a place where elderly Jews could retire and be safe. In reality the camp served as a center for the deportation of Jews to ghettos, killing centers, and forced labor camps. Around 140,000 Jews were sent to Terezin. Of those in Terezin, 90,000 were deported (to almost certain death) and 33,000 died in the camp itself. 15,000 of the people in the camp were children. Of these children, 90 percent of them were killed in death camps.
The powerful art that was made by the children of this camp is astounding. The drawings remind the viewer of the age of the artist, they look like drawings that you might see a young child create now. The figures are not proportional, colors are chosen based on preference rather than realism, and a fantastical artistic freedom is present. Thematically, the drawings show the duality of life at the camp. The drawings sometimes seem happy and carefree, but there is always a serious element of something under the surface in each drawing. The children in the camps enjoyed some privileges not present in other camps, but they were not strangers to the torment of the Nazis. Take time to go experience these works in Dupont. They will be available for viewing until April 30.