The Terezin Album of Marianka Zadikow

Marianne Zadikow May, Author, Deborah Dwork, Introduction by, Deborah Dwork, Annotations by University of Chicago Press $35 (0p) ISBN 978-0-226-51186-3
As much a work of art as a historical record, the Poesiealbum (autograph album) of Prauge-born Jew Marianka Zadikow documents the lives of those held from 1944-1945 at transit camp Theresienstadt, a 150-year-old fortress at Terezin, Czechoslovakia. With a generously-donated stack of paper bound by a friend, the industrious 21-year-old Marianka?vividly captured in Dwork's biographical introduction?collected thoughts, wisdom, artwork, notes and other contributions from fellow prisoners and survivors, providing a map to the population's tight-knit community and inextinguishable sense of culture (evidenced in clandestine stage performances that ""saved Zadikow's life""). Reproduced page by page in full-color plates, Dwork's treatment provides facing-page transcripts in original language and translation and, when possible, an explanatory footnote. Many footnotes are obituaries, like performing baritone Walter Windholz, ""deported to Auschwitz... just a few weeks after he had signed Marianka's album."" Some contributors she meets after the war (the Nazis fled Terezin in April 1945), back in Prague or elsewhere, though survivors' stories (including Marianka's own) are not necessarily happy; Eugen Deitelbaum's haunting entry (a ""Japanese Poem"") notes that he survived five concentration camps only to die in a drowning accident. Dwork knows not to overshadow the human evidence; Emo Groag's cartoon entry is tagged with a bittersweet story made more powerful for Dolk's brevity and matter-of-fact understatement. The end result is a stirring, illuminating example of Zadikow's cherished belief that art has the power to transcend, regenerate and reunite.
Reviewed on: 09/29/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
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