Cultural life within Theresienstadt

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4.6d YV Brundibar an opera performed by casts of children in Terezin, taken from Nazi prop film 1944.jpg

Image: © 2012 Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority

Children from the cast of Brundibar, an opera performed in Theresienstadt. The picture was taken from a Nazi propaganda film made in 1944.

Despite the harsh conditions and constant threat of deportation, the prisoners of Theresienstadt had a rich cultural life due to the large numbers of scholars, artists and writers amongst the prisoners.

Artists from Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany produced drawings and paintings of conditions within the ghetto. Writers and professors gave lectures. Musicians gave concerts and actors put theatre performances. The ghetto even maintained a lending library containing 60,000 books.


In total 15,000 children passed through Theresienstadt. Whilst there, despite being forbidden by the SS, children attended school taught by the many teachers and artists. Children painted pictures, wrote poetry, and grew plants in order that they may experience some small portion of normality. 

Approximately 90 percent of these children were sent on to their deaths in the extermination camps.