Helga was a mere eleven years old when she and her family were taken to Terezin in 1941 by the Nazi’s. She was a young prodigy, drawing being her gift, and in the Muzeum Ghetta her artwork is on display for all to see. Drawings that she completed while in Terezin and later Auschwitz.
While there, I must have slowly walked up and down the staircase at least ten times, focused on Helga’s drawings of her time in the concentration camps. As the time came near to leave, I went into the bookstore, and motioned to the elderly woman for a copy of “Draw What You See”, the story of Helga Weissova.
The book is a valuable treasure, and one I open often as I reminisce about my time at Terezin, the atrocities of World War Two, and the struggles of people such as Helga. Her words describing her drawings are just as powerful…..
The L 410 Dormitory
“L 410 was the girls’ dormitory where I lived. We slept on three-tier bunks, always about 35 girls in one room.”
–drawn with crayons 1943
The Last Farewell
“Many people died every day. After a short ceremony the coffins were loaded onto carts and taken to the crematorium beyond the Ghetto. the ashes of the deceased were placed in paper urns. Shortly before the end of the War all the ashes were emptied into the nearby river Ohre…”
-Pen and ink drawing and water colours 1944
Suicide in Barbed Wire
“The wires were live. There were times when the prisoners ended their suffering on these wires.”
-Pen and washed Indian ink drawing 1945/46
How Helga survived is a miracle, although she denies it. Her story and artwork motivate to never give up on your dream, your circumstance, your lot in life.