“With simple means, without any ‘title,’ this book should in distant times always be in your memory.”
An imprisoned bookbinder wrote these words in a small blank book that he had secretly crafted from pilfered materials at the Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp in September 1944. He presented the album to a fellow prisoner, twenty-one-year-old Marianka Zadików. Over the next several months, as the Nazis pressed forward with mass deportations from Terezín to Auschwitz, Marianka began to collect inscriptions and sketches from her fellow inmates.
Marianka Zadików’salbum, presented here in a facsimile edition, is a poignant document from the last months of the Holocaust. The words and images inscribed here—by children and grandparents, factory workers and farmhands, professionals and intellectuals, musicians and artists—reflect both joy and trepidation. They include passages of remembered verse, lovingly executed drawings, and hurried farewells on the eve of transport to Auschwitz. The great German-Jewish scholar Rabbi Leo Baeck, one of the elders of the camp, offers Marianka an inscription about Jewish self-discovery, and participants in Terezín’s now-famous musical performances fill several pages with musical annotation.
Facing-page translations render the book’s multitude of languages into English, while historical and biographical notes give details, where known, of the fates of those whose words are recorded here. An introduction by acclaimed Holocaust scholar Debórah Dwork tells the story of the Terezín camp and how Marianka and her family fared while imprisoned there.
The array of voices and the glimpses into individual lives afforded us by The Terezín Album make it an arresting reminder of the sustaining power of care, community, and hope amid darkness.