Thirty girls, 12-13 years old, in a room of about 30 square meters. There is not enough food, there are lice, bugs and epidemics. And, over and over again, transports to the unknown East. This is the situation of the girls in Room 28 in the Theresienstadt ghetto 1942-1944.
Their fate would be forgotten if Helga Pollak-Kinsky had not kept a diary and her friend Flaška – Anna Hanusová - a poetry-album; and if both original documents would not have been saved. After more than 40 years, those of the girls who survived the Holocaust met again. Helga and Flaška decided to do something to remember their murdered roommates. Most of those who survived joined in. A project of remembrance began.
The story of these girls is more than just another story about the Holocaust. It is also a tribute to those adults in the ghetto who made it possible for the children to experience the importance of art, culture and humanity in the struggle for self-assertion, for the assertion of one's own identity and dignity. The story is also a model case of remembering the fate of European Jewish children and, thanks to many original documents and testimonies and its multimedia design - book, exhibition, theatre :- a unique project.
"We wish that by remembering our friends and all the wonderful people who took care of us children in the Theresienstadt ghetto, the values which became so important for us will live on: tolerance, empathy, education. culture, friendship and love”. This is how Anna Hanusová (1930-2014) had put it. She and Helga Kinsky (1930-2020) inspired to the project years ago. And they and their friends accompanied the exhibition for many years. This is why it became a living project with international appeal.
Today, after almost all survivors of Room 28 have passed away, it is important to keep alive their legacy and tell their story especially to young people "as a warning for the next generation how easily a new Holocaust could happen if well-meaning people are too unconcerned and allow fanatics to come to power." These are the words of Handa Drori, a”Girl of Room 28” who lives aged 89 in Israel.
With our exhibition and the educational project we tell the story to young people and future generations - together with pedagogues and actors in the field of art and culture. We do it, because, as Karen Zolko, manager of the exhibition "As meninas do quarto 28" in Brazil put it, "Room 28 is a tool for a better world and future". Our long-term goal is to create an extracurricular place of learning about what is essential in life. www.room28education.net
│ United Nations, Geneva. Exibition and hymn of the Girls of Room 28