Art, Music and Education As Strategies for Survival: Theresienstadt 1941-1945
The Bauhaus and its influences are to be found throughout Twentieth-Century art and design; the architecture of Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, and the art of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky being among the most widely recognized instances. Perhaps the most poignant example of this influence, however, may be understood through the life of a little-known student of the Bauhaus who entered its first class in 1919-Friedl Dicker, whom Gropius described as "a distinguished, rare talent...The multidimensional nature of her talent and her indomitable energy received the highest esteem..."
Friedl Dicker was a prolific and multi-talented artist, producing work in theatre, architecture, textiles, graphic design, drawing, painting and sculpture; in 1926, in Vienna, she founded Atelier Singer-Dicker with a classmate Franz Singer. In 1934 she was arrested by the Gestapo for anti-Fascist activities and fled to Prague, where she taught art classes for Jewish refugees. In 1942, she was sent to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in 1942, where she secretly taught art to the children there, gifting them with the tools for the expression of their fears of the hunger, disease and death in their midst. Dicker-Brandeis (she had married in 1936) and thirty of her students perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1944. Art, Music and Education as Strategies for Survival collects for the first time in one volume the children's art of Theresienstadt, unpublished work of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, and historical photographs, as well as numerous essays of interest to historians, art educators/ therapists, and Holocaust scholars-providing an important new interdisciplinary approach to exploring the power of art to teach, express, commemorate, and-perhaps, most importantly-heal. Art, Music and Education as Strategies for Survival is published in cooperation with the Payne Gallery of Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.