Not long after the end of World War II, two suitcases from Terezin, the socalled model ghetto designed by the Nazi propaganda machine to showcase creative endeavors, were delivered to members of what remained of the Jewish community of Prague. The contents of the suitcases included children's drawings, paintings, and collages made at Terezin. Rediscovered in the 1950s, the pictures, by then housed at the Jewish Museum in Prague, were exhibited, and over time some were published. Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was the remarkable woman who taught art to many of Terezin's children before she was killed at Auschwitz. While she has been valorized for her heroic efforts as a teacher, her approach to teaching art has remained unexamined.
This book and the accompanying exhibition offer a closer look at the methods and philosophy of Dicker-Brandeis's teaching, the history behind it, and its possible psychological effects on the children interned at Terezin. Besides discussing aesthetic empathy as the basis of her teaching philosophy and practice, the book includes biographical and art historical information on Dicker-Brandeis, who trained at the Weimar Bauhaus, and restores her to her rightful place as an artist, teacher, and heroine behind Nazi lines in the Second World War.