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Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin [Paperback]

Susan Goldman Rubin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2001
Bauhaus trained, she taught art to children in a concentration camp.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Rubin briefly profiles Dicker-Brandeis, a Bauhaus-trained art therapist who brought art supplies with her when she was deported from Prague to the Terezin concentration camp and then gave art lessons to the children there. "The children's paintings, crisply reproduced in color and briefly analyzed, and their poems are poignant testimony of a tragic history," noted PW. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-A profoundly moving testimonial to the resilience of the human spirit under intolerable conditions. Sent to the Terezin concentration camp (perhaps more widely known under its German name, Theresienstadt), art teacher Dicker-Brandeis packed art supplies in her luggage rather than personal items. Here, in a poignant narrative, is a record of her wonderful influence over hundreds of doomed youngsters, terrified by the separation from their families. Her teaching ability and artistic talents were instrumental in providing an island of sanity in a horrific situation, and in giving an outlet to the children's emotions. Lavishly illustrated with artworks by the Terezin children (preserved in two suitcases in a barracks attic), the book is a chronicle of light in the blackest of hours, and of a despicable period in human history. A list of references-books, videocassettes, recordings, and Web sites (many readily usable by young people)-is included. Elegant in appearance, devastating in content, almost overwhelming in its quiet intensity, this bookis a shining augmentation to the literature of the Holocaust.
Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book is wonderful, It is a must read, Freidl Bicker-Brandeis is a heroine, and her story is amazing. One look at this book and you will be glad you bought it. Rubin did a great job choosing pictures for this book, and bringing a hard issue of WWII concentration camps to a child level. Very good at illustrating the importance of Art Therapy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful-visually & spiritually June 2 2001
By J. Mack
Format:Hardcover
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was an artist of the Bauhaus who was also a Jew, sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and eventually executed at Auschwitz. The story, set against this bleak and oppressive history, is one of love and hope: she teaches children art and helps with "art therapy" in the camp. The importance of her choice in relentlessly pursuing a beautiful and healing expression of the spirit is revealed by the testament of a few who survived. There are numerous examples of the children's art, some of Dicker-Brandeis' art, and photographs that bring the story to life. Interesting, informative, and moving. This is a book to read to children (ages six to nine) or to allow older children to read on their own, and of course it raises questions that will explore the very meaning of humanity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful-visually & spiritually June 2 2001
By J. Mack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was an artist of the Bauhaus who was also a Jew, sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and eventually executed at Auschwitz. The story, set against this bleak and oppressive history, is one of love and hope: she teaches children art and helps with "art therapy" in the camp. The importance of her choice in relentlessly pursuing a beautiful and healing expression of the spirit is revealed by the testament of a few who survived. There are numerous examples of the children's art, some of Dicker-Brandeis' art, and photographs that bring the story to life. Interesting, informative, and moving. This is a book to read to children (ages six to nine) or to allow older children to read on their own, and of course it raises questions that will explore the very meaning of humanity.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to an amazing woman, Friedl Dicker Brandeis Nov. 3 2008
By Z Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Fireflies in the Dark" is an amazing children's book - it covers a dark period in mankind's history, i.e. the Holocaust. This is a difficult enough subject for adults to discuss but how does one convey the story of the Holocaust to children without terrifying them? Well, "Fireflies in the Dark" manages to make this unpalatable and tragic subject accessible to young children.

In this book, the story centers on the true life account of art teacher Friedl Dicker Brandeis who was shipped off to the Terezin [ known as Theresienstadt in German] Concentration Camp, a sort of 'model' camp built by the Nazis for Jews and other people they deemed undesirables during WW II. Although it was not a death camp like Dachau, Treblinka, Mauthausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau, conditions in Terezin were still deplorable with disease and starvation being rampant. When she is transported to Terezin, Ms Brandeis [accompanied by her husband] brings along mostly art supplies, as she believes there will be many children in need of an outlet for their loneliness and despair and quickly assumes a teaching position at the camp, freely giving of her services to children - mentoring them and caring for them in the darkest of times.

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis is indeed a heroine of the Holocaust. Although she doesn't survive the death camp, her legacy lives on amongst the works of art by her students [both survivors of the war and those who perished] at the camp. Though only a few of her students actually survived the Nazis' horrific extermination policies, what shines through these works of art [reproduced for readers throughout the book] is theability of art to foster hope no matter how small. It is a testament to the courage and determination of one amazing woman, and also attests to the faith and hope of children during the bleakest of times. Highly recommended for young readers.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars art as survival Dec 20 2007
By sulis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I first heard about Friedl Dicker-Brandeis at a 2007 exhibition in Vienna titled "Austrian Art Between the Wars" - where she was honored for her remarkable ability to run art classes for children in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt (Terezin). "Fireflies" offers a glimpse of Friedl's ability to bring joy and light into the unbelievable horror of children's lives during the Holocaust.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST READ for artist, historians, and Great for children May 8 2002
By "biddlecome" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is wonderful, It is a must read, Freidl Bicker-Brandeis is a heroine, and her story is amazing. One look at this book and you will be glad you bought it. Rubin did a great job choosing pictures for this book, and bringing a hard issue of WWII concentration camps to a child level. Very good at illustrating the importance of Art Therapy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Jan. 1 2013
By Hope Salais - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonderful, beautiful book, came really well packaged, and arrived in record time. Love it, love it, love it...two more words!!!
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