The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt

By Hannelore Brenner

From 1942 to 1944, twelve thousand young ones gone through the Theresienstadt internment camp, close to Prague, on their approach to Auschwitz. just a couple of hundred of them survived the warfare. In The women of Room 28, ten of those childrenmothers and grandmothers this day of their seventiestell us how they did it.

The Jews deported to Theresienstadt from international locations everywhere Europe have been conscious of the destiny that awaited them, they usually determined that it was once the youngsters who had the simplest likelihood to outlive. protecting those teens alive, protecting them entire in physique, brain, and spirit, turned the concern. They have been housed individually, in dormitory-like barracks, the place that they had a better probability of staying fit and higher entry to nutrients, and the place counselors (young women and men who have been academics and early life staff) created a disciplined setting regardless of the encompassing horrors. the advisors additionally made to be had to the youth the skills of an awesome array of world-class artists, musicians, and playwrights–European Jews who have been additionally on their method to Auschwitz. less than their guideline, the youngsters produced paintings, poetry, and track, they usually played in theatrical productions, so much significantly Brundibar, the mythical “children’s opera” that celebrates the triumph of excellent over evil.

In the mid-1990s, German journalist Hannelore Brenner met ten of those baby survivors—women of their late-seventies this day, who reunite each year at a hotel within the Czech Republic. Weaving her interviews with the ladies including excerpts from diaries that have been saved secretly throughout the conflict and samples of the paintings, tune, and poetry created at Theresienstadt, Brenner offers us an remarkable photograph of everyday life there, and of the intense energy, sacrifice, and indomitable will that combined—in the ladies and of their caretakers—to make survival attainable.

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Milka acknowledged her farewell to Flaška in a letter: Theresienstadt, December 14, 1943 My expensive Flaštičko, i must say so long to you at the present time. yet we has to be brave—there isn't any different selection. i'm hoping we will meet back someplace. And that we will once more be the great associates we have been right here. Flaška, you understand how good we received alongside, yet our time used to be brief. i am hoping that even if i'm faraway from you, we are going to stay a similar solid acquaintances we have been right here. i'll examine you each day. And if it’s attainable, I’ll write you instantaneously. And don’t disregard, Flaška: if I signal my letter “Milka” that implies “things are undesirable for us. ” but when I signal it “Your Miluška,” that implies “we’re doing alright. ” Flaška, if Freda is going out with one other lady, write me approximately it. Flaška, I want you a lot happiness in existence, that you've got a carefree lifestyles, and plenty of little Buddhas. [Buddha was once the nickname of Flaška’s boyfriend. ] Flaška, give some thought to me and don’t overlook me. My head is so choked with options that I don’t recognize what I may still write. So farewell, and consider Your Milka Helga’s diary keeps: Friday, December 17, 1943 the 1st delivery has left. Irena Grünfeld and Eva Landa have been on it. Fiška used to be taken off the record, and Milka continues to be right here, too. She was once at the standby checklist to head yet has been left in the back of; she's going to be at the moment delivery. Holubička’s father has discovered that they're at the standby record, too. Eva Weiss additionally. Fiška is writing poems in mattress subsequent to Handa, who's ill. they maintain arising with new subject matters. Wednesday, December 22, 1943 Eva Weiss is long past. all people in our domestic who was once at the delivery is long past. nobody used to be published from the second one shipping. Eva Weiss is touring on their own, with out her mom, brother, or fiancé. Helena wasn’t in a position to get taken off the record this time both. Her mom and dad gave her an injection that left Helena with a excessive fever and diarrhea, simply to retain her from being incorporated within the shipping. yet now Helena is on her strategy to Birkenau with a excessive fever and diarrhea—in a farm animals motor vehicle with out a rest room or perhaps a bench to take a seat on. 5 thousand seven humans left the ghetto on transports Dr and Ds. between them have been a hundred and fifteen teenagers below the age of 5 and 500 childrens among the a while of six and fifteen. In Room 28, the bunks of Hana Epstein, Helena Mendl, Irena Grünfeld, Milka Poláček, and Eva Landa have been now empty. merely Eva Landa and the counselor Eva Weiss might live to tell the tale Auschwitz-Birkenau. Ela Stein Ela Stein was once born in Lom, a small city within the Ore Mountains, on June 30, 1930, 4 years after her sister, Ilona. Her mom and dad, Max and Markéta Stein, owned retailers on Školni Strasse, in the home the place in addition they lived. Max Stein used to be a guy filled with company. On weekends he may usually shuttle along with his relations to within sight Lány, the summer season place of dwelling of President Tomáš G. Masaryk. they might occasionally go paths with him there, and if the chance arose and Max Stein may possibly alternate a couple of phrases with the president, he used to be extremely joyful. “You easily can’t think what Masaryk intended to the Czechs.

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