Escaping Their Boundaries: The Children of Theresienstadt

Located about 40 miles north of Prague in the Czech Republic, Terezin was built in 1780 as a military fortress and garrison town. When Nazi Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in 1941, the town was turned into a ghetto where Jews were gathered before they were sent further east to the extermination camps.

In less than four years, more than 150,000 men, women and children were taken to Theresienstadt. Of these, as many as 35,000 died in the ghetto itself, and more than 88,000 people were deported to the extermination camps in Poland.

More than 12,000 children under the age of 15 passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp (also known by its German name of Theresienstadt) between the years 1942 and 1944. Of these, more than 90 percent perished during the Holocaust.

A group of dedicated adults made it their goal to care for the children, not just by taking care of the children’s physical needs but by taking on the role of teacher. These adults tried to insulate the children as much as possible from the depressing reality of ghetto life and fears of an uncertain future.

Despite their best efforts, it is clear from the children’s drawings, diaries and clandestinely produced magazines that the children had an understanding of what was happening around them. Approximately 90 percent of the children of Theresienstadt perished in death camps. For many of the children of Theresienstadt, the objects they created while there are the only things that remain of their lives.

This exhibit will explore the ability for children to transcend their physical boundaries through art and writing. The exhibit will feature more than 40 objects on loan from Beit Theresienstadt in Israel, including collages, drawings, diaries, magazines, games and marionettes, many of which have never before been on display.

The exhibit will also feature an interactive section that invites visitors, young and old, to reflect on the exhibit and create a continuation of the story of the children of Theresienstadt.

This exhibition was made possible with generous support from the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation; Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc., and the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation, with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

February 22, 2008 - September 28, 2008

Mincberg Gallery

M: Closed
T-W: 10 am to 5 pm
Th: 10 am to 8 pm
F-Sa: 10 am to 5 pm
Su: Noon to 5 pm