“If in barbed wire things can bloom, why couldn’t I? I will not die, I will not die.”
~Friedl and the Children of Terezin
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was an extraordinary artist and teacher who lived and died in the Nazi concentration camps. She taught art to more than 10,000 children in the Terrezin camp to help bring some beauty and joy to their terror-filled lives. In 1944 she died in Auschwitz, but not before hiding away more than 5000 pieces of the children’s art work in two suitcases. They were discovered 10 years after her death. Friedl and the Children of Terezin was an art exhibit of their collective work.
When I saw this leaf in the woods, with the shadow of the barbed-wire knot behind it, I was deeply affected and I had no idea why. It was so profound for me and and I spent 15 or 20 minutes shooting it. Here was this thing of beauty-a gently blowing leaf highlighted by the breaking sunlight splashing through the trees, juxtaposed against the shadow of the knot, a symbol of imprisonment. I wanted to post it with a quote and while researching I discovered the story of The Children of Terezin. How magical that such a simple moment which could so easily have been over-looked could lead me to such a moving story of human compassion.