More on Helga…

I found some examples and information to go with examples of Helga’s amazing work.

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From the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (ushmm.org): 

Bread on the Hearses” by Helga Weissova, a child imprisoned in Theresienstadt. Drawing with brush and watercolors. Caption with the artwork reads: “Everything was transported on old hearses—luggage, bread and elderly persons. ‘Jugendfürsorge‘ (Welfare for the Young) is written on this hearse. But coffins were transported flatbed carts.” December 1941.

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Listening to a concert in the Terezin ghetto.

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One of two places- Being deported from  to Terezin/ Theresienstadt or On the platform at Auschwitz: Need I say more. Most people from this ghetto died in Auschwitz, especially after the infamous/famous Red Cross visit. The old, the young, the women with children… They were sent to the gas chambers. So sad. 

Terezin was the site of the Nazi propaganda film, Terezin: A Documentary Film from the Jewish Settlement Area, that showed how “well” the Jews of Europe were doing under Hitler. The Nazis cleared out a section of the population for a Red Cross visit, gave the “prisoners” more food and clothes, put on plays, concerts, and musicals (see Brundiabar and the children of Terezin), and put on other events. After the Red Cross left and the film was made, most of the population was deported where many died at Auschwitz. 

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Catching Up Part 1: Art of the Holocaust

Hello to all you readers out there. I am sorry that I have not posted in the last couple of days, but after the last week, I needed to let my brain rest and churn all that new information that I recieved. I knew some basics about the Holocaust, but wow. That is all I can say about it. I did say that I would post some of the information that I learned so let’s get started. I hope that it will enlighten some of you to the stories of the Holocaust.

Art of the Holocaust:

When I heard the lecture over the art of the Holocaust, a couple of artists stuck out to me. One was Helga Hoskova-Weissova. The other was Felix Nussbaum (I will discuss him tomorrow). Both created amazing pieces of art that captured the hope, despair, horrors, and dreams associated with living during the Holocaust.

Helga Hoskova-Weissova was born in 1929. As a young girl, she and her family were forced into the Czech ghetto of Terezin. While there, she began creating artwork capturing what she saw in the ghettos. In 1944, she and her mother were sent to Auschwitz were she continued to do her work while suffering the horrible conditions of forced labor. She survived this and a forced labor march to become one of the most celebrated artists of the Czech Republic. She was one of the 10 percent of children to survive Terezin. She did this by lying to Josef Mengele about about old she and her mother was when arriving at Auschwitz. She was recently in Atlanta, talking about her art and her story. In January of 2013, a published version of her diary will come out.  Below is some examples of her artwork. 

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This was a birthday present to a friend of Helga. In it, Helga talks of their lives and their dreams of the future. It starts with the year she and her friend were both born, 1929. In 1943, they are both stuck in Terezin as prisoners of the Nazis, but they both dream of the future. They dream of walking the streets of their home, Prauge, as adults with their children in a post-war world. Sadly, Helga’s friend did not survive the war. This drawing, done by a young teenage girl is powerful in its hopes for the future, but yet heartbreaking because most of Helga’s friends and contemporaries did not make it from Terezin. Helga was an amazing artist at such a young age, and it is a great thing that she and her artwork survived to be witness to the Holocaust.

Tonight, I will post more examples of her artwork so that we can all see what she captured. I do suggest that you look up stories about the art of the victims and surviviors of the Holocaust because they are moving.

Die Moorsoldaten or The Peat Bog Soldiers

These are the English translation of a German language protest song dating from the yearly years of Nazi rule in Germany. This is song was written and performed in 1933 by political prisoners (Socialist and Communist) in Emslandlager, a concentration camp for political opponents of the Nazis, who were not allowed to sing songs associated with their political beliefs. This song became their anthem in a way and was used by Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War. It is considered to be one of the best known protest songs from Europe. It is a very powerful song. Enjoy.

Lyrics to Die Moorsoldaten (English):

Any directions you might see,
Bog and heath is everywhere.

Here are no birds to sing for me
The oaks, they stand twisted and bare.
Refrain:
We are the bog battalion,
On spade instead of stallion,
In bog.

In such a deserted landscape
Just for us, this compound dire.
Far from friends and with no escape
We are cached behind barb-ed wire.
Refrain:

Columns long, we head for the bog
To dig the early morning.
We sweat in sun, work like a dog,
And think of loved ones mourning.
Refrain:

Thought to home and hearth do return,
To parents, wife and children.
Many a breast may sigh and yearn
To leave this prison, when, oh when?
Refrain:

The patrols guard us day and night,
Escape is a losing sport.
Your life’s not worth attempted flight,
Four rings of wire fence the fort.
Refrain:

Complaining will not set us free;
Winter can’t last forever.
The time will come when we will see,
Our homeland ours, together.

Then no more bog battalion
No spade instead of stallion
In Bog.

So funny in the morning…

Saw this on the New Yorker site this morning from the caption contest. Cracked me up! Just a little funny in the morning…

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“I don’t care what planet they are from, they can pass on the left like everyone else.”
Submitted by Justin Sather
Oswego, Ill.

Read more http://contest.newyorker.com/index.html#ixzz1xly2m1Je

Good morning!

Hello, happy readers. It is a lovely late Spring/ Early Summer morning here in Atlanta. I have some down time right now before today’s session starts at the institute I am attending so I thought I would type up something. 

Yesterday, I briefly spoke about a lecture I was listening to that discussed the art of the Holocaust. It was an amazing lecture, and I am planning on putting up some examples and the stories that go with them. These pieces are both beautiful and sad. 

This whole experience has left a huge impression on me. I was explaining my frustration on the amount of children who died during the Holocaust to my husband, Will, and found myself getting worked up and almost in tears. I started ranting about how horrible and unbelievable it is that this horrific event happened in our history and YET there are still maniacs, horrible, horrible human beings who are still doing things like Hitler and the other Nazi leaders did. I felt all the old anger I felt as a 11/12 year old when I was hearing about Rwanda on the news. I felt all the old anger I felt at the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. I feel the anger rising when I think about Syria and South Sudan!!! Did these people not listen to history? I know that certain things are not taught or are ignored, but COME ON!!!! I already felt this way growing up, but this institute is making them come back and wanting to do something about it. I am thankful for this institute. I hope I can take this back into my classroom and also talk about the events that are happening now. It is going to be difficult to talk about the Middle East and Africa to middle schoolers without wanting to talk in detail about the violence that is going on now in Syria and South Sudan. We shall see though.

Okay, readers. TIme to leave. I will check in with you later as my day or week progresses.

Art of the Holocaust

I am here in my training/ institute, and we are talking about the art of the Holocaust. These pieces are an example of how these targets of hatred used art to add to their resilience and their resisitance to the crimes being committed to them. One person hid his artwork in a copy of Mien Kampf that was in the Dachau library. He tore the pages out and hid his work in it. When Dachau was liberated, an American doctor found the book and art. In 1970, the doctor and art reunited with the artist. How amazing.

I will add more about this lecture later in the evening. I will try to include examples.

Teaching the Holocaust

Hello. As many of you are aware of, teachers are not off during the summer. We are either working on lessons, units, curriculum for the next year and/or are taking workshops, going to institutes, or taking classes. This week, I am participating in an institute about teaching the Holocaust at the Breman Center in Atlanta. I am starting on Day 3 of 6 of the institute, and it is changing my life. If you are a teacher in Georgia, please consider this institute. It is moving, sad, depressing, uplifting, and more words than I can say. I will post more as the week goes on.