“Hate was just a failure of imagination” – Graham Greene

EntranceofTerezinLast week M and I visited the Consulate General of the Czech Republic. Gregorij H. von Leitis recited a moving collection of literature (poetry and prose) that survived Theresienstadt.

The blurb read that these works are …”a testament to the power of imagination and to the profound love and humanity of the artists who were imprisoned in the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt. Originally established as a collection camp for the Jews who lived in the so-called “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia”, it soon was used as a propaganda instrument to distract the world from the Final Solution. For a certain period of time the inmates of Theresienstadt had the chance to be active artistically and could organize readings, concerts, plays, even cabaret performances. But behind this cynical disguise, the systematic death machinery of the Holocaust continued to function without constraints.”

The recitation featured texts by Alice Herz-Sommer, Georg Kafka (distant relative of Franz Kafka but an established artist in his own right), Paul Aron Sandfort, Leo Strauss, Viktor Ullmann, and Ilse Weber.

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