Explore the extraordinary history of Terezín, a temporary holding camp set up in 1941 by Eichmann. Though isolated and deprived, Terezin became a productive and vibrant community which generated remarkable works of art and music.
Many imprisoned there were notable composers, musicians and actors whose dire circumstances only strengthened their will to create. Through documentary film clips and stories from survivors of Terezín itself, delve into one of the most moving and inspiring stories of the Holocaust era—not only its artistic output but the work and play, romance, routines and family life that made up the lives of its citizens, lives overshadowed by the always-present threat of transport to Auschwitz.
See program notes for presenters' bios.
Learn more about Will to Create, Will to Live: The Culture of Terezín series.
Tickets: $29 / $18 for Patrons 35 and Under
Will to Create, Will to Live: The Culture of Terezín is generously supported by The Rita Allen Foundation; and The Harold W. and Ida L. Goldstein Lecture Fund through the Estate of Sanford Goldstein.
Additional support is provided by anonymous donors; Suzi and Martin J. Oppenheimer; UJA-Federation of New York; the Austrian Cultural Forum; the Czech Center New York; and the Consulate General of Israel in New York.
Actress Zdenka Fantlova On Cabaret In Terezín
In 1941, as the Nazis were rounding up Jews in occupied Bohemia* for deportation to the death camps, they established a “temporary holding camp” in Terezín, just north of Prague. Despite Nazi terror and the desperate conditions common to the ghetto, the Terezín internees produced for themselves a rich and creative cultural community, full of great music, art and educational activity.
Will to Create, Will to Live: The Culture of Terezín explores the range Terezín cultural life, drawing from 92Y’s myriad specialties. This includes a panel discussion with Terezín survivors Zdenka Fantlová (seen in the video above) and Zuzana Justman on January 18. Along with Simon Broughton and Ruth Franklin, the panel will delve into one of the most moving and inspiring stories of the Holocaust era.
* Bohemia is the region now generally identified as the western part of the Czech Republic.
Zdenka Fantlová was nineteen when her family was sent to Terezín. She was just starting out as an actress and alongside her day job in the kitchen, she became actively involved in the theatre and cabaret scene in the ghetto. Fantlová was sent on the same transport to Auschwitz as most of the composers, but, unlike them, escaped the gas chambers and went on to hard labor in Kurzbach. Forced to walk nearly 300 miles on a death march to the Gross Rosen camp, she was next sent to Mauthausen for a short time and then to Bergen-Belsen where, after a dramatic near-death experience, she was rescued by a British officer. Her experiences are dramatically recounted in her book The Tin Ring. The book is named after a ring given to her by her fiancé, Arno, who died in Auschwitz. Fantlová later worked as a successful actress in Australia for 20 years. She lectures frequently on the legacy of the Holocaust.
Zuzana Justman, a filmmaker, is a native of the former Czechoslovakia, which she left in 1948. Justman, her brother and her parents were imprisoned for two years in the Terezín concentration camp. In 1986 she began to make her first film, Terezín Diary, a documentary about the World War II concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia. She wrote, produced and directed Czech Women: Now We Are Free. Her documentary Voices of the Children, which tells the story of three concentration camp survivors, received multiple awards, including the 1999 Emmy Award for best historical program. In 2000, she also wrote, directed and produced the critically acclaimed documentary A Trial in Prague about a 1952 show trial in Communist Czechoslovakia. She adapted and produced The Unlucky Man in the Yellow Cap for the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival. The play with music by her brother, the late Czech writer J.R. Pick, takes place in Terezín.
Simon Broughton is a freelance film-maker, journalist and magazine editor who worked for BBC Radio 4 as an arts producer and then for BBC television. He first visited Terezín in 1986, before the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia to make a documentary for Radio 4 and then returned to the new Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s to make The Music of Terezín, a co-production between the BBC and Czech TV. The film won Best Documentary prize at MIDEM in Cannes in 1993 and was shown in many countries round the world. It remains an important record of what took place at Terezín now that many survivors in the film are no longer alive.
Ruth Franklin is a literary critic and a senior editor at The New Republic. Her writing also appears in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review and other publications. Her book A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, which investigates work by writers such as Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Imre Kertész and W.G. Sebald. Before joining The New Republic, she was an editor for the Let's Go travel guide series and a researcher in the Warsaw bureau of The New York Times.