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June 13, 1969 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-06-13

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Gerald Green's 'Artists of Terezin' an Expose of Terror

An indictment of the Nazi beasts;
An expose of the brutalities that
were practiced on human be-
The terrors under which children
lived in concentration camps;
The silent protests, expressed
with brush, paint, charcoal by
artistic souls who had no other
way of expressing their disgust
of the Hitler inhumanities;
An expose of the Red Cross that
fell victim to the Nazi propa-
ganda and failed to cry out
against the outrages.

He did it all in "The Artists of
Terezin — Illustrations by the Ir-
mates of Terezin," a text accom-
panied by the evidence: the paint-
ings of the inmates.
This deeply moving story, pub-
lished by Hawthorn Books, is the
outcry of an author who has sue-
ceded in compiling the data, in
getting first-hand information
about the artists, their art, the sub-
jects they excoriated with great
subtlety, the manner in which
many of these works of art that
spell anti-Nazism have been pre-

Terezin, where these art works
were created as an expression
of anguish and of protest, was
the Terezienstadt concentration
camp. It was, as Green explains,
"a collection point for Ausch-
witz . . . to further the Final
solution, to assemble a lot of
Jews in one place, so that they
might be efficiently dispatched
to the gas chambers."

Green introduces, so that the
louts should never be forgotten,

o. angrily to criticism, would
allow the Danes to continue send-
ing food and medicine to Tere-
the Germans were pleased,
the Jews, as indicated in Rabbi
Baeck's mournful comment, were
shattered. They knew that there
was no hope. The world had been
deceived; the Nazis could move
ahead with a systematic exter-
mination of every Jew in Tere-
zin. That fall, transports were
increased. It was the time of the
infamous 'family camp' of Bir-
kenau . . ."

the form of humor that enshrined building, later to have them re-

Gerald Green has composed—

Nazism — the obscene, outhouse
type of delight, as shown on photo-
graphs that have become historic,
portraying "old Jews scrubbing
the streets, Jews playing horsey
for SS hoodlums," and the Nazi
type of joy," Green writes, "be-
comes more apparent when one
studies the various names the
Nazis. gave to Terezin. At different
times it was known as Theresien-
bad (Spa Terezin), Reichsalter-
sheim (State Home for the Aged).
Judische Selbstverwaltung (Jewish
Self-Administration), and in some
of the early propaganda, Paradeis-
ghetto. Like all involved lies, it had
a germ of truth. The fact of the
matter was that if you were young,
strong, had a good job, or even a
privileged person, Terezin was a
vast improvement over Bergen-
Belsen or Buchenwald. That is to
say, it was better until you were
shipped to Auschwitz and death. - '
In this volume an opportunity is
created to review the Nazi crimes
and the author does it determined-
ly, effectively, accomplishing the
,purpose of exposing the crimes of
Hitler and his cohorts. He shows
those who were misled into be-
lieving that they would have 'a
town of their own." They were
soon to learn the truth—that it was
a means of eventually transporting
them to Auschwitz.
Heroic figures emerge from
this story — artists like Bedrich
Fritta, Otto Ungar. Karel Fleisch-
mann, Leo Haas and others who
produced works of art. who were
able to hide many of them in the
walls of the concentration camp

Some Will Explain

(Editor's Note: Miss Shriman, a journalism major at Wayne
State University, has served as editorial assistant for The Jewish
News this past year. Born after the Holocaust, she said this poem
represents a new awareness of that tragic period in Jewish history
that is passed over so quickly in school textbooks.)

They cut a long straight
incision and split dark flesh
mixed with yellow sprinkling
now blue corpuscling now red
menstruating—then slipped no
jammed no pounded in an artificial
impulse with 6,000,000 particles.

The operation almost completed they
stitched no zippered no slammed
the wall to my brain cell shut.
Rubber hands and chalk faces
fell to the ground.

I gagged on stuffed food
of bizarre thoughts. Six
Million Jews Killed In A
Holocaust Twenty-Five Years Ago.
6 comma o o o comma o o o oh
no no no Not such a round
compact approximation arrived
at for the convenience of future
generations, degenerations,
1171hilInallized dehumans.
In a century will the number
shrivel to 6.000 or only 6?

The bones of an unbarmitzvaed
14-year-old-boy lie in Auschwitz ashes.
If you are number six million five hundred
and fifty-four thousand—I remember you—
I am stuffed with all but recall.

I vomit very frequently in strange

places. The African nigger Negro
spade schvartze Black slave scapegoat
oppressee nonviolent militant over
there on that stage hands rising—
fingers reaching—summoning an
uprising—He calls the Six Million
"irrelevant"—waves his arms and
banishes their memories down down
to the earth to be resurrected in
occasional smoke puffs.

I will light six million—no

six million five hundred and fifty-four
thousand yahrzeit candles in every
Danzig Jerusalem Harlem Berkeley and
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania; by every
ant hill wind mill echo mountain
molten monument shallow stream line
factory six story erection.

Some the rain will smother, some
the snow will cover, one person
will ignore, another will cry, some
people will look, some people will
wonder and some will explain.

One will be kicked over and a fire
will start a forest fire a city
fire a country fire an ocean fire
an international fire—some people
will look, some people will wonder
and some will explain.

• • • • • 0_ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • ." .• . 0%. •

trieved so that we now have the
evidence of a source of artistic
skill that remained to indict the
Nazi 'terror.
Green relates that the artists
were accused of being propagan-
dists and of spreading horror and
there were punishments, and he

"The artists, as evidenced by
their horror propaganda were
also viewed as troublemakers. It
was all of a piece; all part of
the implementation of the final
solution. At any rate, Haas re-
flected, as they waited, he had
had the foresight to hide many
of his paintings. With the help
of a fellow prisoner named
Beck, a Czech engineer, he had
pried open a wall and hidden
many works within the paneling.
'I did not forget to leave some
unimportant drawings lying
about,' Haas later wrote, `so that
if there were another search by
the Gestapo, I could stop the
mouths of the wolves.' Fritta
and some of his friends located
a large tin case in which they
deposited any pictures that might
make trouble for him. They
buried it in a farmyard. All these
hidden works of Fritta and Haas
survived the war."

Horrifying to the nth degree is
the quoted account of the trage-
dies at Terezin from a statement
by Dr. Milos Bic, "a Hussite min-
ister who spent three years in the
'Kleine Festurg.' " An expert on
Nazi prisons, Dr. Bic's account
tells of actions so inhumane as to
make one's hair stand on edge."
A self-portrait in this volume by
17-year-old Petr Klein is among
the most pathetic of the portraits
that have been recovered from the
Holocaust. Other paintings no
doubt will remain as evidence of
the German crimes for generations
to come.
(It's a pity that so excellent and
deeply-moving a volume should
The artists, like the other con- have been marred by a regrettable
centration camp inmates, were ■ error. The caption for the paint-
hounded, and among the chief in- ing reproduced on page 131 reads:
spirers of the terror was Lt. Col. "The Tora reading on the Sabbath
Karl Adolf Eichmann whose role by Karel Fleischmann" and shows
is depicted in this volume in all his a man with Tefilin. Tefilin are not
worn on the Sabbath or festivals).
An added factor of great value
The most revealing of all the
in Green's book is the section
facts exposed in Green's book is
the unsavory role of the Red Cross.
Rabbi Leo Baeck was one of the
Theresienstadt inmates and his
views are quoted.
The camp was set in order for a
visit by the Red Cross represent-
' atives, and the Nazis skilfully mis-
led them. In the description of the
International Red Cross commis-
sion's visit, the fears of the artists
(Hy Utchenik)
are indicated. Green states in his
account of this aspect of the Tere-
zin story:


"Following the Red Cross in-
spection, the SS had begun to
crack down. Most prisoners were
filled with despair. Most of them ,
understood that transport meant
death, that Auschwitz was no
mere labor camp. As Rabbi Leo ' ,
Baeck noted: "Perhaps the com-
mission knew the real conditions.
but it looked as if they did not
want to know the truth. The ef-
fect on our morale was devastat-
ing. We felt forgotten and for-
"The rabbi was correct. The
International Commission had
had submitted a laudatory report
to the Red Cross in Stockholm.
Terezin was a comfortable com-
munity, not a filthy ghetto. (In "'
fairness to one Danish commis-
sion member, Dr. Frantz Hvass
of the Danish Foreign Ministry,
his role in this affair should be
recorded. Dr. Hvass claimed that
he deliberately exaggerated his
praise of the camp so that the
Germans, who were known to re-

•Jewish Historical Society.

Angry Man" and "To Brooklyn
With Love") has rendered a great
service with his splendid work that
gives an account of a resistance in
a form that is indelible. —P.S.

Friday, June 13, 1969-27


Of Weddings


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UN 4-8785



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H istory Magazine
Marks Tenth Year

"Fredrick E. Cohen, A Pioneer
Michigan Artist," by David Emil
Heineman, reprinted from Volume
23 of the publications of the Ameri-
can Jewish Historical Society, 1915,
is featured in Michigan Jewish
History magazine's June issue.
"Historical Accuracy" by Allen
Wursen, another article, deals with
"Detroit's First Jew" and "Who
Founded Beth El?"
"Dr. Hugo Freund and the City
of Detroit," by Dr. Irving I. Edgar,
represents the second part of an
article on "Dr. Hugo Abraham
Freund" and deals with Dr.
Freund's many contributions, es-
pecially with his directorship of
James Couzen's Children's Fund of
This issue commemorates the
tenth anniversary of the Michigan

producing the poems and draw-
ings of the Terezin children—a
collection that has already drawn
serious attention and has con-
tributed towards a total expose
of the Nazi terror.
Green (author of "The Last





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