Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust

Thomson, Ruth. Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust. 2011. 64pp. Lexile: 980.

In this powerful, heartbreaking book, Thomson brings together short quotes from children, teens, and adults who were prisoners at Terezin (also called Theresienstadt), a Nazi concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.  Of the 15,000 children held there over the years, fewer than 100 survived.  The author draws on memoirs and oral histories of survivors, and journals from the time that were hidden.  An extensive cache of artwork was smuggled out, some of which is reproduced here to great effect.  Many scholars, artists, musicians, and writers were at Terezin, where they managed to teach children and organize performances.  One of the horrors is that the Nazis used Terezin as an example of how humanely they treated prisoners, “beautifying” it for Red Cross visitors and making a propaganda film about it.  The excellent book design offers short chapters, many quotes, and remarkable art.  Back matter includes a timeline, glossary, sources, and recommended websites.

Speech/drama tie-in   This presents many short first-person excerpts of children, teens, and children, which would lend themselves to oral presentation with students taking on the different voices.