MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Children's Art of the Holocaust: Background information when reading The World That We Knew

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The World That We Knew

by Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman X
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
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    Sep 2019, 384 pages

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Karen Lewis
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Children's Art of the Holocaust

This article relates to The World That We Knew

In Alice Hoffman's novel The World That We Knew, Julien, 14, escapes occupied Paris and finds temporary refuge at a rural chateau-turned-orphanage. He tutors math and participates in art workshops there. The displaced children survive day-to-day, and are encouraged to express themselves with drawing and painting.

An important collection of children's art of the Holocaust survives today thanks to the efforts of Frederika "Friedl" Dicker-Brandeis, an Austrian-born, Bauhaus-trained artist who was interred at Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp near Prague from December 1942 to September 1944.

Terezín was implemented as a "model ghetto" for Jews, run by Jews under Nazi command, detaining many scholars, doctors, artists, musicians and families. That said, it was still a place where people lived in fear of execution or deportation to a worse fate. Statistics reveal that more than 25% of the 141,000 people detained there died or were executed during detention. More than ...

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