A New Exhibit Documents Children’s Experiences in the Holocaust

New York, NY. The ability of children of the Holocaust to confront harsh realities and transcend their physical boundaries through creative expression is the focus of a new exhibition opening Thursday, March 12, 2009 at the Anne Frank Center Gallery. “Escaping Their Boundaries: The Children of Theresienstadt” features more than 40 objects on loan from the Beit Theresienstadt Holocaust Museum, Archive and Educational Center in Israel. The original artifacts include collages, drawings, diaries, magazines, games and marionettes used or created by children of the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. Many of the artifacts have never before been on public display in New York City.

When Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, the town of Therezin was turned into a ghetto and renamed Theresienstadt. Jews were gathered in this ghetto before being sent farther east to the extermination camps. During its existence, more than 12,000 children passed through the Theresienstadt ghetto.

Approximately 90 percent of the children of Theresienstadt perished in death camps. For many of the children, the objects they created while in Theresienstadt are the only things that remain of their lives. The collection includes a rare children’s toy, a 1943 handcrafted game inspired by the popular board game in which property, houses and hotels are bought and sold. The ghetto currency, known as “kronen,” was used as money since it was otherwise worthless. The center of the board is a blueprint of the ghetto, showing rows of barracks where more than 50,000 Jews were squeezed into living quarters meant to hold only 7,000 people.

The Anne Frank Center, USA is committed to preserving freedom and maintaining human rights in a pluralistic and democratic society. A partner organization of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the Center uses the diary and spirit of Anne Frank as unique tools to advance her legacy, to educate young people and communities about the consequences of intolerance, racism and discrimination, and to inspire the next generation to build a world based on mutual respect.

“Escaping Their Boundaries: The Children of Theresienstadt” opens on Thursday, March 12, 2009 from 6 to 8 pm, and runs through Friday, June 12, 2009. Hours are Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. For families and other groups, the Center is also open the first Sunday of each month from 11am to 4pm. Admission to the Anne Frank Center Gallery is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. The Gallery is located at 38 Crosby Street, Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10013 (between Broome and Grand streets). For specific directions, please call 212.431.7993 or email education@annefrank.com