Prague’s Jewish Museum, part II: The Power and Purpose of Art

It’s easy to walk out of the Pinkas Synagogue without going up the narrow stairway by the exit. Don’t do that. Up the stairs is an art exhibition that should not be missed — a collection of drawings by Jewish children who were in the Terezin Concentration Camp, which is about 40 miles outside of Prague.

A teacher named Friedl Dicker-Brandeis organized art classes at Terezin to give the children ways of expressing themselves and their feelings. The exhibit is organized into several different themes including memories of home, dreams of returning home, holidays, life in the ghetto, and beyond the looking glass.

Before being sent from Terezin to Auschwitz where she was killed, Dicker-Brandeis hid about 4500 of the children’s drawings in the hopes that they would not be destroyed by the Nazis. Luckily, the Nazis never found them, and the drawings were discovered shortly after the war ended.

In what ways do you think that making art helped the children of Terezin handle the terrible situation that they were in? Explain your answer in the comments below.

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