“The seed of a creative idea does not die in mud and scum. Even there it will germinate and spread its blossom like a star shining in darkness.” Petr Ginz, aged 16, murdered September 28, 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau
Returning to Terezîn is always bittersweet for me. Yesterday was no different, except the scale was much larger. It was a joyous day, filled with the wonderment of discovery and the profound sorrow of knowing in a deeper way, what was destroyed.
While leading our tour (with my dear friend Arthur Meyerson) to visit the ghetto, we had the opportunity to see what few have seen for 70 plus years. We went to the attic in a house in Dlouha street to see recently discovered paintings, poems, and other remarks put on the walls during 1943 and 1944. We were offered a special tour by Lukas Lev, the man responsible for this find.
There are a few verses by Petr Ginz on the wall, all touching and profound. But I was reminded of another poem of a boy and his thoughts about blooming roses. Frantisek Bass, aged 14 in Terezin wrote that “….next year, the roses will bloom, but this boy will be no more.” I had just walked past a garden filled with perfume and the deep saturated color of red roses in gentle rain. Frantisek was murdered in Auschwitz on October 28, 1944.
Petr knew he would not survive. And yet, he honored the creative urge…filled pages of his newspaper with his writings, along with others, and drew and painted and CREATED until he could no longer. Here again I am reminded of the power of the creative act to sustain and uplift.
Thank you Lukas, for the gift of your discovery and your heart. Thank you Petr, for your gifts of wisdom and humanity.
Learn more about Petr here: http://www.petrginz.com/?page_id=717 and here: http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/2012/UN_Petr_Study-Guide.pdf