As part of Holocaust Memorial Day there will be a short display about children’s artwork in the Eastern Crypt.
‘Through the eyes of a child’ looks at some of the images drawn by children between 1942-1944 in Theresienstadt concentration camp and by children who survived the Darfur genocide 2003-2004. The exhibition has been put together by Kay Sharpe from Folkestone.
She explained: “I hope the exhibition can help raise awareness about the impact of war and genocide on young children in particular. But it’s important to me that people realise this isn’t just about what happened during the Holocaust. There have been several cases of genocide since World War Two and sadly it continues to happen.”
Kay is the granddaughter of Wolf and Berta Waltuch, two wealthy and prestigious Austrian Jews who died at Auschwitz in 1944. Prior to the war Kay’s grandparents had owned one of the largest cinemas in Vienna and regularly socialised with the movie stars of the day, but their social standing meant nothing when the
Nazis began deporting Austrian Jews to the concentration camps in 1941.
Kay’s grandparents had managed to send her mother and aunt to Britain in 1939 but they were powerless to save themselves or their one remaining son Adolf Waltuch and they were deported first to the Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia before being sent to Auschwitz.
It was during a visit to Theresienstadt in 2014 that Kay came across the story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a teacher who had been deported from Vienna at a similar time to her grandparents. Friedl defied the authorities by teaching art
and telling stories to children under 14 in the concentration camp. Using whatever paper she could get her hands on she encouraged the children to paint as a form of therapy until she took her final journey to Auschwitz Birkenau in October 1944. More than 5,000 of the children’s drawings remain, most of them in the Jewish Museum in Prague.
Holocaust Memorial Day will be marked at Canterbury Cathedral with a special service at 12.30 hrs on Thursday 26 January in the Eastern Crypt. The exhibition will remain on display until Friday 10 February.