Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin Paperback – May 1 2001
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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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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.
While picture books are often thought to be for children, this is a book that many adults will enjoy as well.
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