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Visiting Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary

We just returned from our visit to Berlin, Dresden, Prague and Budapest.  I sketched throughout our trip, but we were almost always on the move and most of my sketchbook pages were done while walking.  Each day I also selected one image to paint in the 2 X 2" grid I made before we left.  Here is the completed grid.

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It was very important for me to visit these cities and to learn more of their history during WWII and the Soviet occupation that followed.  We spent one full day in Prague visiting Lidice and Terezin, and this was one of the most memorable days of our trip.  The Nazis totally destroyed the town of Lidice (shooting the men, gassing the children, and transporting the women to the camps) to revenge the assasination of Nazi Reinhard Heydrich.  Here is a photo I took of the current site of the non-Jewish farming and mining Czech town.

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We toured the museum, and saw the memorials in Lidice.  The statue, created by Maria Uchytilova (1969-89) memorialized the 82 children that were murdered.  It is extraordinary!

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I sketched several children and then added candles that were painted on the wall in a hidden Terezin synagogue room (created by imprisoned Danish Jewish craftsmen) and one of the very large Terazin memorials (that is in a cemetary field where prisoners who died of typhus etc were buried).  Terazin was the "model" Nazi camp - the one that the Red Cross visited to "falsely" assess the conditions in Nazi camps.  However, it was a transfer station on the way to Auschwitz - and the majority of prisoners from Terazin were transported and murdered there.

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There were many artists held prisoner in Terezin (also called Theresienstadt) and the art museum contains secret drawings and paintings that were done, before they were murdered in Auschwitz.  There is a large book containing all of these,that was published in 2002, entitled Art Against Death.  It was too big and heavy to carry home, but I loved it so much that I will search for it in the US.

Comments

These are quite wonderful, Shirley! And I hope you and your stay safe...

And by the way, that memorial statue is among the most powerful I've ever seen...I would have been in tears.

This must have been very moving to see in person, Shirley. I enjoyed seeing your sketches and photos.

It sounds (and looks) like a really great trip. I like your little "vignette" drawings. They are a great way to remember the trip.

I can imagine it was a trip full of emotions, I love the grid idea.....I will give that a go! I hope the hurricane passes by quickly without causing too much harm.

These sketches are amazing. Love the pictures you took. I want to say that I might have been to Dresden but I am not too sure. But glad that you're back ;)

It is so important to know history so such evil isn't repeated. I'm glad you highlighted it though I can barely cope with the knowledge.

Shirley I am at a loss for words. Thank you for sharing this experience and your art. I was deeply moved by the statue and just found a page about the artist and her work to share on pinterest. Here is a link should others want more information. http://www.lidice-memorial.cz/MChild_history_en.aspx#
This post reminds me that there is a bigger purpose to our art. It can be a powerful witness to the world that lingers on long after we are gone.

Such an emotional trip. Thanks for broadening our knowledge. Your drawings are right on--I especially like the one of the children, Leaving them faceless gave them more power.

Great sensitive sketches and lots of memories to be kept in mind. Be safe !

great travel journal - i love your idea of 2x2 grid, it looks so cool, very effective.

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