Join us on Sunday, October 30, at 2:30 p.m. in SAM’s Plestcheeff Auditorium, for an introduction by Artistic Director Mina Miller, the world premiere, and a post-film discussion with producer/director John Sharify and cinematographer Tim Griffis, along with local teens interviewed for the film.
The Boys of Terezín: A Feature Documentary
Five Holocaust survivors, a boychoir, and a chamber music group unite to tell the story of the secret concentration camp journal created under the nose of their Nazi captors.
SPECIAL OFFER: The first 100 high school students to register with their name and email address will be admitted to the World Premiere at SAM October 30 for free. Register here.
A True Story Most People Have Never Heard
You’re a Jewish teenager—in 1942. The Nazis occupy your country, and you’re deported to the concentration camp at Terezín. You don’t know your fate—but in fact most of the children there will be sent to a death camp at some time in the next two years.
It’s very easy for young people today to see a tragedy like the Holocaust as something from the distant past that could never happen to me. But for members of Seattle’s acclaimed Northwest Boychoir, their rehearsal of a new oratorio is about to open their eyes to what the Holocaust’s genocide meant to teens just like them. They’re going to meet the surviving “boys of Terezín,” and learn the poems that the boys wrote for their secret magazine VEDEM while imprisoned by Nazis.
Stunning music by American composer Lori Laitman illuminates the boys’ homesickness, fatigue from cold and hunger, and anger at their imprisonment—and also their humor, courage and unity even at the darkest of times.
In a poignant finale, four “boys of Terezín” reunite in Seattle—after sixty-five years—for the world premiere performance of the new Music of Remembrance oratorio, remembering their lost friends, honoring the courage and idealism they all shared, and proving that nothing is as deeply human as the music we share.
The History of VEDEM
A group of 100 teenage boys lived in the same room, Home One, at Terezín. Terezín is known by many for its use in Nazi propaganda depicting it as “the Fuehrer’s gift to Jews.” In reality, life there was brutal, cut short by cold, disease, starvation—and regular deportations to death camps. Of the 15,000 children sent to Terezín, less than 1,000 were alive by war’s end.
The boys in Home One, aged thirteen to sixteen, documented their lives in a secret weekly magazine that they called VEDEM (Czech for “In the Lead”). They drew pictures, and wrote essays, interviews and poetry. It was a huge risk—they would have been sent to death camps if caught—but the magazine was never discovered. Sidney Taussig, the only boy to remain at Terezín until the end of the war, buried about 800 pages of the magazine, then retrieved the manuscript after liberation.