Film Screening: "The Boys of Terezín"

Film Screening: "The Boys of Terezín"

Oct 22, 2016 - 12:00 pm

Five Holocaust survivors, a boychoir, and a chamber music group unite to tell the story of the secret concentration camp journal created under the nose of their Nazi captors.

Film Screening: The Boys of Terezín
Saturday, October 22, 2016 
2 - 4 p.m.
Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium
1300 1st Ave, Seattle, WA

Free and open to the public

This program will also include a live performance of chamber music composed in Terezín, and a discussion relating the film's themes to SAM's exhibit "Go Tell It: Civil Rights Photography." Filmmaker John Sharify leads a Q/A following the screening.

About the film:

A True Story Most People Have Never Heard

You’re a Jewish teenager—in 1942. The Nazis occupy your country, and you’re deported to the concentration camp at Terezín. You don’t know your fate—but in fact most of the children there will be sent to a death camp at some time in the next two years.

It’s very easy for young people today to see a tragedy like the Holocaust as something from the distant past that could never happen to me. But for members of Seattle’s acclaimed Northwest Boychoir, their rehearsal of a new oratorio is about to open their eyes to what the Holocaust’s genocide meant to teens just like them. They’re going to meet the surviving “boys of Terezín,” and learn the poems that the boys wrote for their secret magazine VEDEM while imprisoned by Nazis.

Stunning music by American composer Lori Laitman illuminates the boys’ homesickness, fatigue from cold and hunger, and anger at their imprisonment—and also their humor, courage and unity even at the darkest of times.

In a poignant finale, four “boys of Terezín” reunite in Seattle—after sixty-five years—for the world premiere performance of the new Music of Remembrance oratorio, remembering their lost friends, honoring the courage and idealism they all shared, and proving that nothing is as deeply human as the music we share.

The History of VEDEM

A group of 100 teenage boys lived in the same room, Home One, at Terezín. Terezín is known by many for its use in Nazi propaganda depicting it as “the Fuehrer’s gift to Jews.” In reality, life there was brutal, cut short by cold, disease, starvation—and regular deportations to death camps. Of the 15,000 children sent to Terezín, less than 1,000 were alive by war’s end.

The boys in Home One, aged thirteen to sixteen, documented their lives in a secret weekly magazine that they called VEDEM (Czech for “In the Lead”). They drew pictures, and wrote essays, interviews and poetry. It was a huge risk—they would have been sent to death camps if caught—but the magazine was never discovered. Sidney Taussig, the only boy to remain at Terezín until the end of the war, buried about 800 pages of the magazine, then retrieved the manuscript after liberation.

Length: 51:20
Producer, director, writer, and narrator: John Sharify
Cinematographer: Tim Griffis
Festivals/broadcasters: For information on screenings or airings, email us.

Led by Artistic Director Mina Miller, Music of Remembrance fills a unique spiritual and cultural role in Seattle and throughout the world by remembering Holocaust musicians and their art through musical performances, educational programs, musical recordings, and commissions of new works.

With John Sharify, we have also produced a 15-minute educational version, The Boys of Home One, for classroom use. If you are a student, teacher, or parent, we would love to speak with you about how we can bring it to your school as part of MOR's outreach program. Contact us for more information:

Read more about the film